olivia jones: Avatar: What Does It Mean to Be a Master Bender?
Avatar: What Does It Mean to Be a Master Bender?
Every Avatar: The Last Airbender fan knows that only an Avatar can master every element. This was the focus of much of the original series, and in Kyoshi novels as well as The Legend of Korra follows a somewhat similar plot. However, one would notice that the word master is overused in the Avatar series. But that raises an interesting question, does anyone even know what it means?
The original series was set up in a way that it seemed by the end of the series, Aang will be able to master all four elements before he faces the Fire Lord. However, he accepts that he needs to work on his firebending. Then we have Toph, who tells him that his earthbending is also not that good. When it comes to airbending and waterbending, he was already a master and used those two often in his fights.
There seems to be a lack of understanding when it comes to the comparison of Aang’s waterbending and earthbending. How can one establish empirically that one of those skills is better than the other? Whenever Aang used them, he usually did it for his defense and basic attacks. There is little evidence to say that he was better in one in comparison to the other. The argument that his waterbending is better than earthbending seems wrong intuitively when one looks back at the enormous ripples of the earth that he created during Invasion of Earth’s palace, which was a million times more impressive than anything he ever did with water.
We again have to contemplate the question raised earlier; what it means to be a master? When can we say that someone has mastered an element? We can look at some of the characters on the show that are referred to as the master. Tonraq, Zhao, and Yu are all called masters, but they are very ordinary when it comes to combat. They never do anything extraordinary or unique during their fights, which can justify them being called masters.
We can conclude from the above speculation that it is probably not hard to get the honor of mastery. The author of the Kyoshi novels even said in one of his interviews that mastery only means that one can teach the skills to someone else. Since Yu had a school in Gaoling, where he taught other the art of earthbending, it appears that becoming a master is not really tough. In real combat, Yu was surprisingly bad; while facing Toph, he struggled and was quickly disposed of by his adversary.
Calling someone their master makes a low-level fighter look impressive and helps build hype. But such use of the term master does rob it of its real meaning. Every bender can’t demonstrate the top skills that one can learn by bending an element. It requires a lot of hard work and perseverance, and just like the real world, there are only a few people who have the dedication to go through the process. The process of getting the title of a master must be much more formalistic and standardized. So, when a character earns it, the fans can feel that the achievement does mean something.
It would be better if the franchise’s future anime or novels do make it a bit clearer what it means to be a master. It might take a few mental gymnastics to create a parallel storyline to explain it, but it would give the fans more understanding of the Avatar world. As of now, the term has lost its meaning and has become redundant. If the franchise wants the fans to make the characters look more honorable by calling them master, they should make it a bit more obvious about what they mean by the term.
Alessia Martine is a self-professed security expert; she has been making the people aware of the security threats. Her passion is to write about Cybersecurity, cryptography, malware, social engineering, internet, and new media. She writes for Microsoft products at office.com/setup.