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Previously in Part 1, I have discussed how strong beliefs are the cornerstone of Fire Nation cultural traits. In this part I will discuss the other, darker side of that dedication: The sacrifice that such passion entails.

Sacrifice in Fire Nation culture, or why Zuko got his face burned off )
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* Many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] fairladyz2005 for being kind enough to look this essay over prior to posting. Her comments and insights made it a much stronger work.

Ah, Fire Nation, Evil Empire of the Avatar series. What to say about your war-mongering ways and colonialism, your racism and destruction of whole cultures, your red-and-black décor that screams evil in such style?

In which I try to make my point with fart jokes and shipping rants )
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In Part 1 of this essay on Avatar: The Last Airbender as a political story, I discussed attempts to resolve the crisis of a worldwide war unilaterally, from the Earth Kingdom side. In that part and Part 2 I talked about the reasons why the attempt failed, and indeed that maybe it was best that it failed--because the solution had to come from inside the Fire Nation. Until a viable alternative rulership presented itself, outside intervention might have done more harm than good. Then I said that such an alternative existed in the Fire Nation due to the history of anti-war dissent starting from Roku onwards, and that the internal movement to end the war found its focus and leadership with Prince Zuko, both Sozin's and Roku's descendant, finding his conscience and his destiny.
So all the pieces are in place, and the goal is clear: Zuko would become the new Firelord, replacing his father and vanquishing his sister. He would then end the war and bring peace. His uncle and his Order of the White Lotus cohorts would retake the city of Ba Sing Se, something crucial to stabilizing Zuko's rule. Dissidents to the new Firelord holed up in the world's greatest fortress would be a headache and a nightmare for Zuko, and risked splitting his nation apart. And most crucially, the Avatar Aang would neutralize the current Firelord Ozai.
Reasons I Love Avatar 4, Part 3 (in which we ponder kinslaying for fun and profit) )
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Part 1 of this essay on Avatar as a political story talked mainly about the Earth Kingdom and its political attempts to end the war, and the root causes of that failure. Here in Part 2 I will discuss another effort to end the war unilaterally from the outside, specifically the coalition invasion in "The Day of Black Sun." Then I will discuss the Fire Nation's internal anti-war movement and how it was suppressed ("The Avatar and the Fire Lord," "The Headband," and even brief mentions of Book 1 episodes like "The Storm"). Based on that, I will discuss how internal regime change was the only real solution to the war from the start. I will also ramble on about Zuko again, so brace yourselves for that.Reasons I Love Avatar 4, Part 2 (in which nothing goes according to plan, and that's a good thing) )


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L.J. Lee

June 2016

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