Pass in to Legend

A short one while I work on a year retrospective. I caught up on the finale of The Legend of Korra, the sequel series to Avatar the Last Airbender. I was introduced to “the Avatarverse” only a handful of years ago by some friends of mine, and devoured the whole series via Netflix. It is a children’s show that I always found to refreshingly not shy away from difficult or complex topics, treating children as people with minds to be engaged with, not pandered to. I’d love to introduce it to my nieces, though I’m not sure they’d share their uncle’s love of hard kicking kung fu action. When I learned of a ‘new’ Avatar, this one a martially adept teenage girl, I was excited and when I (finally) got to watch it, I was pleased with the execution. I thought the finale was excellent; the internet is full of effusive praise for the confirmation of a romantic relationship between Korra (the avatar) and Asami (the tech-savvy female entrepreneur of future industries) and I am in absolute and total agreement. It was a really beautifully done moment, a call-back to the ‘discretion shot’ of classic cinema. I was also really pleased with the bond between Mako and Bolin; the affirmation of their fraternal love and respect for one another. I liked that the conflict was resolved not with fists – though Korra’s power is ‘limitless’ as described by her previous nemesis Zaheer – but by understanding. It was great to have the ‘you are me in a mirror darkly’ delivered by the hero in compassion, rather than by the villain as a ploy to undermine. Finally, that the show avoided the trite execution-by-third-party for Kuvira, but instead had her survive, be saved by the avatar, and acknowledge she had gone too far and done wrong. It is not sad that it has ended, because it told a great story while it was here, and has not allowed itself to become exhausted in the telling. It is a marvelous world that Konietzko and DiMartino created together, and a riveting story they have told.

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