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Offline The Melon Lord Approves

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Ember Island Players Discussion
« on: March 02, 2013, 01:17:57 PM »
Let's be honest, this is an episode we Kataangers talk to death and to be honest, I love it. I figure we need a thread for that.  There's a whole lot going on here and it's always fun to share different perspectives on this episode- or more specifically, the Kataang stuff in this episode.

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I'll start it off by saying that I feel really bad for both Aang and Katara by the end of the episode. Neither of them handled the confrontation between them particularly well, and they both ended up hurt because of it. They're both so completely miserable even before the highly unpleasant ending to that play, and I just want to hug them both.

Offline ShineyDragons

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Re: Ember Island Players Discussion
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2013, 03:22:36 PM »
Indeed. I can understand you'd be frustrated with the ending Kataang if you are the kind of person who likes to have everything clear and firm; where a clear outline with room left to imagination is not enough. If you want unquestionable, certain answers, then you might be annoyed, because that's not what you are getting here.

I'm not at all on that team. I love having the writer setting up the walls, but allowing me to play around in the room as I like. That's what Bryke are doing here. We know Katara reciprocates Aang's feelings, (at some level). We know what her ending choice is. We know that the war is a factor in her frustration. Her train of thoughts? That's our own journey.

The fact that this scene alone are giving the fandom hours and pages of discussion is annoying, sign of bad writing, to some. I think it's brilliant.

Offline The Melon Lord Approves

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Re: Ember Island Players Discussion
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2013, 08:46:39 AM »
Precisely!  As a writer (and especially as a writer of fanfiction), I love to have some wiggle room to play around with concerning the characters thoughts and motivations.  From a fandom perspective, I would have loved to get some verbal clarification of Katara's thoughts during this time period beyond (or rather, after) what was said on the balcony that night, because maybe the ship war would be a whole lot less vicious if we'd gotten something like that... but from a personal perspective, from a lover of Kataang, I love that we have that openness for personal interpretation.

Offline pRiNcess AzuLa

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Re: Ember Island Players Discussion
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2013, 09:16:22 AM »
I think Bryke just wanted to mess with the kataangers for a bit. Maybe they just wanted to make some zutarians happy?  :/
I feLt sorry about how it it Looked Like Katara rejected Aang when he tried to kiss her, but I think she was just  a bit confused or overwhelmed at that time. Hmm, I didn't realLy Like the episode even though there was a LittLe spLash of comedy everywhere.

Offline The Melon Lord Approves

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Re: Ember Island Players Discussion
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2013, 09:29:47 AM »
Basically everybody but Suki was freaking out in EIP. Everybody's emotions were running high, and none moreso than Aang, who had been humiliated in front of his friends and thoroughly emasculated in front of the girl he loves, among other things.  Katara was freaking out (though to a lesser degree) as well, and the two of them mutually freaking out let to one big mess of emotional splat.

They were both idiots.  Katara completely failed to articulate what she was actually getting at, and Aang was basically a jerk.

With regards to what Katara was thinking/feeling in this episode, allow me to refer to one of my metas that takes a little time to examine a few of the possible factors that contributed to the utterance of that oft-debated line: "I'm confused."

Offline Blu

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Re: Ember Island Players Discussion
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2013, 10:16:29 AM »
I watched this episode (and the entire series for that matter) before delving into the fandom and I never really saw it as the major Kataang hiccup others see it as. Like you say, its just an awkward moment between them - not too dissimilar to the scene in Cave of Two Lovers.

Honestly I'd say it was simply the writers wanting to leave that particular card on the table for the finale. Not in the way that they were keeping Zutara alive, but just not wanting to resolve this particular drama at this stage.

Offline Schmitty

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Re: Ember Island Players Discussion
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2013, 11:39:41 AM »
Every time I hear this scene and "catering to Zutarian's" in the same sentence, my blood boils. Seriously, this was not done at all just so Zutarian's could keep their false hope alive. If this were the case, there would not have been moments like this and this. So that argument is completely ridiculous.

Anyway I only saw this as a temporary delay for the inevitable getting together. There's no doubt they both could have handled the situation a lot better, but they're both young and inexperienced. Doing something stupid was bound to happen somewhere down the track. I also never saw Katara's words as a total rejection. To me, she was just telling Aang to wait before the two did anything about their relationship. Especially considering she did say that now isn't the right time, and they are in the middle if a war. That indicates to me that there is a right time for them to be together, and that time is once Ozai is defeated and the war is over.

That belief is only strengthened with the tongue wrestling match Katara and Aang participated in at the end of the series.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2013, 12:39:44 PM by Schmitty »
Spread the Katara angle!

ATLA Keeps: The Taunting Fish (114), Katara's Blushes, Aang's Energybending, The Kataango, Sokka and Aang's Bromance
TLOK Keeps: Aang's Beard, Katara's importance of family, Kya's sass, Bumi's facial hair, Vacation Tenzin

Offline AvatarSeriesFan

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Re: Ember Island Players Discussion
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2013, 12:26:38 PM »
Katara's face in the first picture is like " What the hell is happening?"She seems really surprised.

Offline ShineyDragons

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Re: Ember Island Players Discussion
« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2013, 04:59:06 PM »
I watched this episode (and the entire series for that matter) before delving into the fandom and I never really saw it as the major Kataang hiccup others see it as. Like you say, its just an awkward moment between them - not too dissimilar to the scene in Cave of Two Lovers.

Honestly I'd say it was simply the writers wanting to leave that particular card on the table for the finale. Not in the way that they were keeping Zutara alive, but just not wanting to resolve this particular drama at this stage.

I agree with this entirely. I think they wanted to have a cliffy feel to Kataang in the last episode, like "OMFG ARE THEY GOING TO END UP TOGETHER?!" - or rather, start thinking that maybe they wouldn't after all.

In reality, from a character and a narrative perspective it was pretty obvious that it would happen. Maybe "the hero get's the girl" is a cliche, but nonetheless when they've spent so much time establishing love and connection to the main character's love interest - and having it staying strong for all three seasons, and also making sure that the feelings were if slower and less explicit in development) reciprocated. Honestly? What HUGE let down would it be to not have him get with this girl?

And about Zutara - exactly what Schmitty said. I think they put in these two reactions of "OMG WE ARE NOT A COUPLE EWW!!!" scenes exactly because they knew that the fans (shippers in particular) would automatically start implying things to the way they wanted to tell the story, to the "I'm confused" (no matter how little hold it had).

Offline The Melon Lord Approves

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Re: Ember Island Players Discussion
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2013, 06:41:44 PM »
Indeed. There was a deliberate point made here to explicitly say that Zuko and Katara not only aren't secretly in wuuuuuv, they aren't even attracted to each other because as Shiney rightly pointed out, Katara treats him like a brother

And also, I just realized something, which is slightly OT but it does refer back to EIP so I'm gonna point it out.  You know how Zutarians always use that little moment of Katara reassuring Zuko before he goes into Iroh's tent as "proof" that they're sooooo compatible?  Well, having watched the entire closing arc of the series from Western Air Temple on last night, I can most definitively say that Zuko and Toph's heart-to-heart in EIP was every bit as "tender" and "emotionally charged" and "affectionate/sensitive" as the Zuko/Katara chat... possibly even more so, because we know for a fact that Toph had developed a bit of a crush on Zuko by the end of the series, and therefore actual attraction (onesided though it may have been) factored into that conversation.  Zuko barely glances at Katara during their heart-to-heart, but he gazes at Toph with a surprised, affectionate, appreciative smile for her unexpected sympathy and support.  Therefore, if a conversation like that is all it takes to "prove" a ship, there's more evidence for Toko than there is for Zutara.

Okay, OT rant over.  Back to the Kataangy stuff now.

The first time I watched this episode, I (much like Shiney and Moby) saw it before venturing into the fandom proper.  By the time I got that far in the series, I had glanced over the lists of stories on ff.net in a very cursory, I'm-not-going-to-read-anything-until-I-finish-the-series-but-I'm-curious-about-what's-out-there kind of way.  I was aware at that point that Zutara was a thing (because I've been in lots of fandoms and seen lots of people shipping crack like there's no tomorrow), but I had no idea that it was a super-popular thing, and therefore I was watching that episode through the lens of "Aang will end up with Katara and Katara will end up with Aang and they will be happy because they love each other so much" and not "Will Zutara happen? Are the writers catering to that pairing's enormous fanbase?"

And you know what I saw? I saw a scared, vulnerable boy who was reaching out to the person he loved more than anything because he'd been thrown into doubt about whether she cared about him the same way. I saw a scared, vulnerable girl who was under a lot of pressure and succumbed to tunnel vision.  I saw him make a stupid mistake. I saw her having a hard time explaining herself.  I saw them both get hurt and sad, but I never imagined it as anything other than exactly what it was- a stumbling block on their way to being together (and from another perspective, a delaying tactic in order for the writers to save Kataang for the triumphant end to the series).

Offline ShineyDragons

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Re: Ember Island Players Discussion
« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2013, 07:12:20 PM »
No kidding, Melon. The Zuko/Toph interaction in this episode were probably the "deepest" and most heart-felt Zuko shared with anyone since joining the group. I really loved this part.

Also this look:


And we KNOW it's not even romantic, but it's still so sweet. Also, I'm pretty sure he's never ever looked at Katara that way.

And actually, the first time I watched the EIP scene I was sort of annoyed and frustrated; not because I was afraid they didn't happen, but because I wanted them to be together like, last episode. I knew it was a plot-point to push them to the last minute and I just wanted them to be together goddamnit! I forgave Bryke entirely after the finale, because it more than made up for the wait - or at least, it did for me.

Also, pic spam because look at her expressions:





It's funny, because SHE sought him out almost certainly aware what would be bothering him, yet she was soooo not prepared for the confrontation.

Offline The Melon Lord Approves

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Re: Ember Island Players Discussion
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2013, 07:26:17 PM »
No kidding, Melon. The Zuko/Toph interaction in this episode were probably the "deepest" and most heart-felt Zuko shared with anyone since joining the group. I really loved this part.

No kidding. I'm trying to think of another moment he shared that was that intense AND that intimate with any other character, and I can't think of any.  What he shared with Aang while being taught by the dragons was intense, but it wasn't really emotionally intimate. What he shared with Katara AND Sokka during TSR was emotionally intimate, because they both revisited the most painful day of their lives and told him about it, but it wasn't really intense, because Sokka was pretty chill about it (as chill as one can be, anyway), and Katara was in full-on ice queen mode and basically just talking to herself and Zuko happened to be there.  Zuko's bromance with Sokka in TBR was just full of hilarity and awesomeness.

But this little moment with Toph- Toph who was the one most willing to welcome him in with open arms- was just really heavy, and she opened up to him enough to talk seriously about emotions and "gushy stuff" in a way she only very rarely does (in fact, the only other times I can think of are during her very first episode, and during The Runaway).

It's funny, because SHE sought him out almost certainly aware what would be bothering him, yet she was soooo not prepared for the confrontation.

No kidding. Her instincts, as always, drive her to find him and try to make it all better for him, because that's who she is and that's what she does, and that drive is stronger with Aang than with anyone else, because she does love him.  But her head is a mess and her heart is scared and so her automatic reaction still kicks in, but she can't handle the consequences of seeking him out.

And on a related note, I know it's been said before, but:



LOOK AT THAT EXPRESSION.  She could not look more regretful and uncomfortable if she tried!

Offline ShineyDragons

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Re: Ember Island Players Discussion
« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2013, 07:43:39 PM »
Damn, now I have this headcanon that the Toph/Zuko relationship would evolve to be a little like Iroh and Toph's, just on a more equal grounding, or so to speak, because of less age difference. Out of the Gaang (leaving out characters like Mai) they might very well be the ones to understand each other the best, I think.

Totally getting OT here, but while many people speak of Zuko's biggest loss being him losing his mother, I actually think it might be his complicated relationship to his father. His mother was his strength, but his breaking was getting banished. That's something I'm sure Toph would understand; even Sokka, to some level, better than Katara and Aang. 

Back on topic.

Katara's face there. She's totally "oh shit, what have I done"-ing. And look at her face, it's not just "damn, I hurt Aang even if I didn't want to". She really, really looks regretful and frustrated.

Offline The Melon Lord Approves

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Re: Ember Island Players Discussion
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2013, 12:37:38 AM »
Katara's face there. She's totally "oh shit, what have I done"-ing. And look at her face, it's not just "damn, I hurt Aang even if I didn't want to". She really, really looks regretful and frustrated.

It's really sad. I feel so bad for her, because you can see that she's hurting just as bad as he is (although she doesn't have the mortification factor he's got going on) and she's as helpless as he is to find her way out of the complicated maze they've made of their feelings for each other.

Offline ShineyDragons

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Re: Ember Island Players Discussion
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2013, 09:49:18 AM »
Can't really elaborate on this right now, (as I should be doing biology but really is about to read Fireflight (totally blaming Melon for breaking my concentration) but I'm writing anyway because spam). I sort of see Katara as a control-freak, and Aang is just totally killing ALL her control, and that's not very convenient.

Offline The Melon Lord Approves

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Re: Ember Island Players Discussion
« Reply #15 on: March 05, 2013, 09:54:33 AM »
I sort of see Katara as a control-freak, and Aang is just totally killing ALL her control, and that's not very convenient.

Oh god that's so true. Katara really is a control freak (guess it runs in the family) and Aang completely and utterly threw her off balance. Bye-bye to all those carefully laid plans about how this whole find the Avatar/train the Avatar/save the world process was supposed to go, because somehow that middle step turned into "fall in love with the Avatar" instead, and unfortunately for Katara, love is big and messy and scary, especially when you're fourteen, and it got very much out of her control right around DoBS.

Offline ShineyDragons

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Re: Ember Island Players Discussion
« Reply #16 on: March 05, 2013, 03:19:14 PM »
So. I just (by "just" I mean about 3 hours ago) wrote a minor rant rambling about stuff that is relevant to the thread. Then my life just decided that I wasn't logged in anymore and it removed my text from existence. Seriously, life



ANNNNYYWAAAAAAY.

I think Katara, despite being a person who easily cares - and easily shows she cares - might have been more than a little reluctant to slam her open heart into Aang's palm with a "here, do the hell you want with it". Who isn't? Almost everyone - especially a person who's lost not only one, but several people she cared about and was left in an inwardly bleeding emotional state for years.

The thing is, she's managed to stay in almost completely control in these situations - take on all the responsibilities, tend to everyone else's needs, help other's overcome their grief. That's by default selfless, but it's also a self-defense mechanism; by not letting yourself dwell in the feelings, or more importantly, not letting it become everyone else's business (note: in the way that she very rarely burdens someone else with her own issues - she doesn't mind opening or talking about them, especially if it can help her relate to or comfort other's (and in rare cases as with Zuko, putting them to blame), but it remains solely her responsibly), she's not making herself rely, not making herself vulnerable.

So she is emotionally in control; independent of her own feelings. That she is, at the same time that able to handle not only herself but also everyone else is freakin' beyond remarkable, though not too relevant to the current discussion.

The point is, with Aang she is not in control - she's feelings things she doesn't want to, not because loving him isn't a welcome prospect, but because it's making her rely on someone else - and more that just care. Simply put, whatever he chooses to do, could break her.

The fear of him dying:


Or the fear that he just won't feel the same way she does:


Is all so much easier to deal with if she's pretending she doesn't feel anything; or rather, if she isn't letting herself. If he's going to let her down, she'll just keeps it on the inside, without openly admitting it to him, herself or anyone else, and it's just not making her as vulnerable.

So, personally, I don't see her reasoning being "I'm afraid you'll die" because she never was. She always always believed that the Avatar - and especially Aang would make it, (exception being when he literally died in front of her eyes); but more being that she was afraid of the extremely intimate emotional commitment she knew openly being in love with him would require; and that he'd deserve.

If you add all this in with the fact that she's just a 14 year old girl, for whom the idea of a serious romantic relationship might have been years ahead in the future (I know when I was her age, I was not at all ready for a connection like that). We know she very early realized the potential, (if not before, then in The Fortuneteller). We know she's reciprocating his feelings - they are there; how much, when they started, whether she knows it - that's all discussable (to some degree), but no doubting that they are there.

My theory is, she felt all those things knowingly (at least by season three), but that she, unlike Aang, was perfectly willing to wait. They had all the time they needed, and as soon as the stupid war that was messing with their emotions and their preoccupation was out of the way, they could calmly and slowly explore this potential romantic side to their relationship - it would be easier and more comfortable that way. Obviously, Aang just didn't have the same patience, but I think, to Katara, it was very important that when she finally entered this relationship, both of them could put all their focus into being together, because she needs to be confirmed that he is really not going to hurt her, even unintentionally.

With the war, there's just so much that's more important and needs their full attention - they can't let themselves be distracted, and that's exactly what he's doing to her - distracting.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2013, 03:34:57 PM by ShineyFishes »

Offline Nukilik

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Re: Ember Island Players Discussion
« Reply #17 on: March 05, 2013, 03:50:27 PM »
I watched this episode (and the entire series for that matter) before delving into the fandom and I never really saw it as the major Kataang hiccup others see it as. Like you say, its just an awkward moment between them - not too dissimilar to the scene in Cave of Two Lovers.

Honestly I'd say it was simply the writers wanting to leave that particular card on the table for the finale. Not in the way that they were keeping Zutara alive, but just not wanting to resolve this particular drama at this stage.

THIS.

See, if it weren't for the fandom, I wouldn't have much issue with the way this worked at all. I remember the first time I watched it was fine.  I could perfectly rationalize that, after the invasion, Katara was overwhelmed with everything (I recall Hakoda even said she seemed distracted in DoBS). And that "not the right time" meant exactly that: there is a right time but this isn't it.


But, after Nick's troll trailer during the hiatus, I guess it's fair to say everyone decided to blow everything shipping related out of proportion (more than usual, that is). Those were surely the craziest days of the shipping wars :p
« Last Edit: March 05, 2013, 04:02:25 PM by Nukilik »

Offline The Melon Lord Approves

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Re: Ember Island Players Discussion
« Reply #18 on: March 05, 2013, 06:19:42 PM »
Shiney, where would you like your truckload of yuans delivered? Seriously, that was exquisite, accurate, and basically overall perfect.

Offline ShineyDragons

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Re: Ember Island Players Discussion
« Reply #19 on: March 05, 2013, 06:26:05 PM »
Together with LoK Book 2, please, and tomorrow if that wouldn't be too much to ask.

 

       
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