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The film told the story of Aang, a 13-year old[nb 1] Airbender who ran away from his destiny as the Avatar. After a hundred years in suspended animation, Aang travelled to the Northern Water Tribe on the other side of the world with his newfound friends, Katara and Sokka, to find a master to teach him Waterbending. In his absence, the Fire Nation, now ruled by Firelord Ozai, had been waging a seemingly endless war against the Earth Kingdom and the Water Tribe, having already destroyed the Air Nomads. As the Avatar, he was hunted by Zuko, an exiled prince of the Fire Nation seeking to redeem his honor, and the Fire Nation itself, led by Commander Zhao.

Prologue

The story opens with a scrolling text narrated by Katara:

A hundred years ago all was right in our world. Prosperity and peace filled our days.
The Four Nations: Water, Earth, Fire, and Air Nomads live amongst each other in harmony.
Great respect was afforded to all those who could bend their natural element.
The Avatar was the only person born amongst all the nations who could master all four elements.
He was the only one who could communicate with the Spirit World. With the Spirit's guidance the Avatar kept balance in the world.

Katara then continued with single text on screen:

And then a hundred years ago, he just disappeared...

Act I, The Boy in the Iceberg

Katara was fifteen years old[nb 1] when the story begins - she was practicing her Waterbending by lifting a sphere of water which she then accidentally dropped on her seventeen-year-old[nb 1] brother, Sokka. After repeatedly apologizing to him, she told him how she thought about their mom while Waterbending, which seemed strange to her.

My brother and I live in the Southern Water Tribe, which was once a big city. Our father is off fighting in the war. My mother was taken prisoner and killed when I was young. In this time of war, food is scarce. My brother and I often go hunting for food but... unfortunately, my brother isn't the best hunter in the world.

Katara accompanied Sokka hunt for food for their tribe. Out at the vast open field of ice, Katara then noticed something glowing directly beneath her feet. Sokka used his boomerang to crack the floor open but the cracks expanded and started a cave-in so he ran away from it with Katara. A large ice sphere emerged from the cracks with a silhouette of a person inside it.

The ice sphere broke part after Katara cracked it with Sokka's boomerang, shooting a bright light high to the sky, which caught the attention of the eighteen-year-old[nb 1] Prince Zuko on a faraway ship. In the resulting ice crater, Katara and Sokka discovered a thirteen-year-old boy, alive but exhausted, with his large six-legged bison creature.

The boy was taken back to the village where he soon recovered in an igloo. He thanked Katara for saving him, but she admitted they were just lucky to have found him. He said he should get back, as the others are probably worried after he ran away from home. Just then, Zuko's ship had smashed through the icy landscape.

Zuko entered the village with his men, and told the villagers who he was, the son of Fire Lord Ozai and heir the throne of the Fire Nation. He had his men round up all the elderlies. One of the soldiers found the boy in the igloo with some children. Upon noticing his tattoos, he was brought to Zuko. Zuko was astonished to find the tattoos that he seemingly recognized its significance and demanded to know who he was. The boy defiantly refused to give his name. Zuko threatened to burn down the village with his firebenders if the boy did not come along with him on his ship, so the boy complied.

Sokka figured that they were looking for someone old, but then, realized that the boy was who they wanted. As Katara pled with Sokka to help her save the boy, the bison creature floated in the air as if wanting to follow his master, but was held back out of concern of the children hanging dangerously off his feet. Sokka thought of a plan to use the flying bison to rescue the boy.

Kanna, their grandmother, believed the boy to be an Airbender from his tattoos, and likely to be the long-lost Avatar. She suggested that it may be Katara's destiny to help the boy, ever since she was discovered to be a Waterbender; there has not been a Waterbender in the Southern Water Tribe since her friend Hama was taken away. She said the Fire Nation was afraid that with the Avatar's mastery of the four elements and the guidance he received from the Spirit World, the Avatar would change hearts, as it is in the hearts where all wars are won.

On the ship, Zuko's uncle, Iroh, conducted a few tests on the boy, after assuring him the test would be painless and once complete, he would be free to go. The test involved a candle flame that seemed to be drawn towards to him, a poured water that formed a circle on the table and a smooth rock that stood on an unstable position. However, when Zuko declared him to be his prisoner, Iroh apologetically explained to the boy that he had not failed the tests as all others did. Iroh added that he was honored to be in the presence of the boy.

With skilled airbending moves, the boy escaped from Zuko and his men to the surface of the ship, grabbing his staff along the way. Upon noticing Appa landing at a distant icy cliff, he turned his staff into a glider and flew off towards Appa, propelled with airbending. Zuko watched with despair, saying that he almost had his honor back, but Iroh assured him that his destiny was tied with the Avatar.

Act II(a), The Avatar Returns

Aang flew us to his home. He told us how he left there in a storm on Appa and got forced into the Ocean where they almost drowned. Aang airbended a sphere around them and ice formed and he couldn't remember anything after that.

At the Southern Air Temple on the high mountains, the boy called out his friends but no one turned up - he thought they were playing tricks with him. He also called for Monk Gyatso, his guardian and father figure. A winged lemur flew to the boy and immediately played and bonded with him. Katara was puzzled as winged lemurs were supposed to be extinct but the boy thought she was mistaken. When Katara asked for his name, the boy told her the monks called him Aang.

Katara immediately realized that Aang has been in the ice for a hundred years, not just gone for a few days as Aang had thought. Before she could tell him, Aang was already racing down the to the prayer field to expecting to find his friends there. Aang was shocked to human remains and an unkempt field. He was in denial until he found the necklace he made for Monk Gyatso on one of the remains.

In his rage, his eyes and tattoos glowed pure white and strong winds began to circle around him, lifting him up. Aang was in trance and entered the spirit world, where he met the Dragon Spirit, who was surprised to see the Avatar and asked him where has he been all this while. Before Aang could answer, he heard Katara's voice pleading him even though his people are gone, both she and Sokka are now his family. The words seems to reach Aang, who falls out of the trance, exited the Spirit World and slowly descends back onto the ground.

Meanwhile, Commander Zhao spotted Zuko on his ship out in the sea and offered him lunch on his own ship. Zuko and Iroh sat with Zhao on the main table. Zhao made a toast that seemingly mock Zuko in front of his soldiers in the mess hall. Zhao reminded them how Ozai banished his son Zuko and cannot return until he found the Avatar. Zuko confronted Zhao and told him once his father takes him back, Zhao will bow before him. Back on his ship, Zuko gazed at his family picture (his mother, his father, his sister and himself) before has began his training of Firebending and hand-to-hand combat. Iroh observed from the deck above, while drinking his tea.

Appa landed in a forest in the Southern Earth Kingdom, where Katara, Sokka and Aang set up camp. The winged lemur had become their pet, which was named Momo. Aang sat alone making sense of what saw at the temple and the spirit world. He learned from Katara that many villages in the Earth Kingdom had fallen under Fire Nation control, but yet to conquer big cities like Ba Sing Se. As Aang was a last surviving Airbender, Katara and Sokka asked him if he was also the Avatar.

Before Aang could respond, a young boy burst out of the woods and sought refuge with the trio from the Fire Nation soldiers chasing him. He was being arrested for Earthbending, as it was forbidden in his village. Katara and Sokka refused to turn the young boy over to the soldiers. Katara popped open her water pouch and bended the water at the soldiers, but the water trapped Sokka's arms and chest in ice instead, much to his frustration.

The soldiers arrested Sokka, Katara, Aang and the young Earthbending boy. As they were taken to the prison camp just outside a village, Aang noticed the poor condition of the village and its people. They were shoved through a gateway of a tall metal fence. In the prison yard, there were men on the ground, weary and defeated. The Earthbending boy was reunited with his father. The father explained to Aang that the Earthbenders fought and defeated the Fire Nation soldiers back then. But when the Fire Nation sent huge machines made of metal, the Earthbenders lost. As a term of surrender, non-benders were allowed to live in peace if the Earthbenders were imprisoned.

Aang could not accept that the Earthbenders allowed themselves to be humiliated in a minimal security prison camp with earth underneath their feet, especially with the poor treatment the non-benders received in return for their surrender. He tried to inspire the Earthbenders to rise and fight back, but they were non-responsive. When Aang asked if it made any difference if the Avatar had returned, one of them answered that if the Avatar were alive, he would protect them, presumably from an eventual retaliation with the war machines. Aang then revealed to everyone that he was the Avatar.

A soldier sneered at Aang, as the Avatar would have to be an Airbender and all Airbenders were killed a long time ago. Katara push the soldier away, telling him to leave Aang alone. Aang then used his airbending to counter an attack on Katara. The Fire Nation soldiers surrounded them to take them out - Sokka moved in to protect the two, calling on the others to help them. The Earthbending boy threw a rock behind the lead soldier; he turned and bended a flame from the nearby fire pit at the boy. The father raised an earth barrier to protect his son.

The other Earthbenders watching the event unfold, rose with renewed sense of hope. Seeking to restore order, the lead soldier with another Firebender launched a large flame towards the father and the boy, but it was blocked by a larger barrier, which was raised by six Earthbenders bending in unison. Another Earthbender raised a rock and accelerated it at the other soldier, and earth-blocked a flame attack from the lead soldier. Sokka took down the lead soldier while Aang took out another. After a few more airbending moves from Aang and a boomerang attack thrown by Sokka, the remaining soldiers retreated. Outside the prison, Aang took out a few more soldiers in the village.

After everything was settled, the villagers broke open a shed, where all tools related to bending taken by the Fire Nation were kept. Momo went in the shed and knocked over a Waterbending scroll. A villager picked up the scroll and gave it to Katara. Katara revealed that these scrolls were rare and her mother told her about the scrolls. An elder villager then showed Aang the statue of Avatar Kyoshi, his previous incarnation as an Earthbender, two lifetimes ago.

Aang met with Sokka and Katara, and revealed to them he ran way before he was trained to the Avatar - he was unable to bend elements other than air. The next element to master was water, as the cycle was Air, Water, Earth and Fire. Sokka suggested that they travel to the Northern Water Tribe, which was on the other side of the world, as his father told him about powerful Waterbenders there who may be able to teach Aang. Sokka also suggested they visit the small villages occupied by the Fire Nation along the way to start a change in the war.

The group of Aang, Sokka, Katara, Momo and Appa, set out on the journey to the north. Along the way they visited the villages, where Aang announced the Avatar had returned. In villages that were still occupied by Fire Nation soldiers, Aang used his Airbending to defeat them and liberate the village from their grip.

Meanwhile, Zuko and two soldiers, disguised as travelers of the Earth Kingdom, visited the first village Aang liberated. They also entered the former prison camp and looked around.

Act II(b), The Blue Spirit

The scroll that we have was proven to be helpful. Aang was practicing, but for some reason he was having trouble with Waterbending. We moved from town to town in the Earth Kingdom. We tried to stay out of sight but Sokka became concerned we were being followed.

On Zhao's flagship, a soldier entered the war room and whispered some information to Zhao. Later, at the Fire Nation palace, Zhao met with Fire Lord Ozai and informed the good news regarding the raid on the Great Library, which most people believed did not exist. Scrolls were found in the library, which was being deciphered as it may contain information about the location of the Moon and Ocean spirits. This information can be used bring down the city of the Northern Water Tribe. Regarding the rumors of the Avatar's return, spies reported a boy claiming to be the Avatar. Zhao suggested they set a trap for the Avatar, using the Earth Kingdom people under their control and soldiers hidden in certain location. Fire Lord Ozai noted to Zhao that if Zuko capture the Avatar first, Zuko would effectively become Zhao's superior.

At the Fire Nation Colony Fifteen located in the Northern Earth Kingdom, Zuko sat with his uncle Iroh sat in a tea shop, with his face hidden by the hood of his cloak to avoid being recognized. Zuko mentioned that they were catching up with the Avatar and his friends. Iroh pointed out that were lots of pretty girls in the town and pleaded with Zuko to settle down here and abandon the search for the Avatar. However, Zuko was determined catch the Avatar first and think about the pretty girls later. To convey his point, he asked a local boy about the prince, the Fire Lord's son: Prince Zuko had spoken out of turn to a general in defense of some of his friends who were going to sacrificied in battle, so he was sentenced to an Agni ki Duel(अग्नि की डूएल — "Duel of Fire"). When he showed up, it was his father he was to fight, but he would not fight his father. His father mocked him, "I should bring your sister up here to beat you." The father then burned his son to teach him a lesson.

At the shore of a sparking lake beside a forest, Katara and Aang practiced Waterbending while Sokka tended to a campfire nearby. Katara asked Aang why he seemed distracted. He said they were near the Northern Air Temple and wanted to visit there and return, all within a day. He believed that at another spiritual place, he may be able to communicate with the Dragon Spirit again. Katara filled Sokka in on Aang's plan but Sokka was against it, and urged Katara to talk him out of it.


Aang continued practicing Waterbending in the dark, while Sokka and Katara were sleeping. He managed to raise the three short pillars of water. As he closed his eyes concentrating, ripples and waves began to form on the lake. He remembered Monk Gyatso giving lessons to him and the other students in the open field and then images of skeletal remains he saw earlier. When he opened his eyes, he was surprised to see the result of his lack of control over Waterbending. Convinced that he needed help immediately from the Dragon Spirit, he woke up Appa to head over to the Northern Air Temple. Sokka and Katara woke up and saw him took off. She assured Sokka that Aang will back in a day, but Sokka was concerned the Fire Nation might catch him.

Appa landed at the Northern Air Temple. As Aang made his way in the temple ruins, he found an old-man, an Earth Kingdom villager who has been visiting the temple often. He was surprised to see the Avatar's return and lead Aang to a hidden chamber of statues of past Avatars, each one representing his reincarnations over the years. Avatar Roku was his last life. Aang revealed the Airbenders knew he was the Avatar after he chose four toys out of a thousand, the same toys that belonged to the previous Avatar. It was then Aang was told he can have no family and have a responsibility to the four nations. In the ceremony where everyone bowed to him, expecting him to accept his role as the Avatar, he did not bow back. The old man then apologized to Aang for luring him down there, as he had lived in poverty because of his absence. Confused, Aang turned to see him surrounded by Fire Nation archers hiding behind soldiers. Other soldiers poured into the chamber - one of them passed the old-man a pouch of money as a reward.

Aang was hanging from chains in a prayer room in the Northern Air Temple. Aang closed his eyes and entered the Spirit World. Aang met the Dragon Spirit again, who told him that it has seen a vision of the moon turning red and that the Fire Nation has stolen and are planning to miseuse knowledge from the Great Library so Aang has to go to the Northern Water Tribe city before it was too late. When Aang asked if he will stop them, he was pulled from the Spirit World, being woken up by Zhao. Zhao introduced himself and revealed that he set the trap for Aang. Zhao assured Aang that he will not kill him as he will just be reborn again and the search will continue. Zhao noted that when Aang freed the towns, he only used Airbending.

Later, a Fire Nation tank rolled on the bridge that connects to the temple. A blue-masked figure had slipped underneath and grabbed onto its undercarriage, hitching a ride. While Zhao addressed his assembly of soldiers, the figure headed towards the prayer room, steathly taking down the soldiers posted along the way there. He used his dual dao swords to break Aang free from the chains. Zhao was heading towards the prayer room when he discovered the downed soldiers. The soldier who accompanied him quickly ran back to alert the others that Avatar has escaped and to close the inner gates.

Aang used his Airbending to knock two soldiers block his path. He entered the temple courtyard with the blue-masked figure, referred by the soldiers as the Blue Spirit. They were surrounded by many Fire Nation soldiers. A fire attack from behind forces them to evade and split up, fighting the soldiers on the opposite sides on the courtyard. Aang used the Airbending practice area to take out the soldiers, then lept out of the courtyard and ran on the stepping pillars that the soldiers were unable to follow. Aang was about to fly out using his staff-glider but seeing the Blue Spirit still fending off the soldiers by himself, Aang flew back to fight alongside him.

Zhao ordered his soldiers not to kill the Avatar, as he will just be reborn again. The Blue Spirit quickly grabbed Aang and threateningly held his sword at Aang's throat. Zhao had no choice but to let them go. The soldiers remained at the courtyard while the Blue Spirit led Aang across the bridge. At the end of the bridge, Zhao's archer shot down the Blue Spirit with single arrow. The soldiers rushed across the bridge to capture them. Aang discovered the unconscious Blue Spirit was Prince Zuko. He used his Airbending to pull in the fog and mask their getaway. The next morning, he left Zuko still unconscious by the camp-fire in the forest, leaping from tree to tree.

A few days later, Zhao arrived at the Fire Nation palace was summoned into the throne room. Ozai demanded to know how the Avatar escaped. Zhao blamed for Zuko for the incident, accusing him of being incompetent and a traitor, although Zhao had no proof. Skeptical, Ozai asked if Zhao thought Zuko was the person the soldiers were calling the Blue Spirit. After a long pause, Zhao gave an affirmative yes. However, Ozai instructed Zuko not to be harmed and left in his isolation. As for the Avatar, Zhao confirmed he was traveling north to master Waterbending from the Northern Water Tribe, as he was believed to only have mastery of his birth element, air.

Meanwhile, back in the Northern Earth Kingdom, Iroh was relaxing and receiving a foot message from an earth villager woman when Zuko walked past him. He informed Zuko that Zhao's men has been searching for him but told them Zuko was on vacation with a girl. Seemingly unaware of Zuko's misadventure at the temple, Iroh asked where he had been for the last four days. Zuko replied "no where", and they should keep moving as the Avatar was traveling again. Iroh told Zuko to take rest first as he looked like we went through a great deal. As Zuko lay down on his bed in his ship, he noticed something hissing near the torch on his wall. Zuko dashed out just before the ship exploded into a huge, orange fireball. Iroh moved into to protect the woman from the blast as he cried out to Zuko.

Act III, The Siege of the North

We arrived at the Northern Water Tribe. We presented ourselves to the Royal Court. My brother and the princess became friends right away. Aang showed them that he was the last Airbender and was accepted to train with the master. The city knew our arrival will bring great danger, and they prepared for war they knew would come in the ensuing weeks.

Master Pakku laid out their defense strategy to Princess Yue. The city was designed to withstand any assault. Should the Fire Nation soldiers breach the walls, if they keep the soldiers in the courtyard until nightfall, the waterbenders can take advantage of the Moon Spirit's power. They may be overwhelmed if too many soldiers enter the city. As many fire must be put out to minimize firebender sources. Master Pakku insisted on a guard to be with Princess Yue at all times - Sokka volunteered for the assignment.

At the Fire Nation palace, Ozai asked Zhao for any news of Zuko's whereabouts but Zhao had none to offer. Ozai noted that the Northern Water Tribe was given their strength by the Moon and Ocean Spirit. In order to defeat them, the spirits must not be involved. Zhao informed Ozai that the location of the spirits has been deciphered from the scrolls stolen from the Great Library. Ozai ordered Zhao to eliminate the spirits, take the city, and destroy the Avatar at the same time. The Fire Nation fleet was later seen leaving the ports, heading out to the city.

Katara and Aang has been attending waterbending classes taught by Master Pakku. One day, after Pakku explained to his students about letting their emotions "flow like water" to master Water, he invited Aang to spar with him. Pakku encased him in an icy prison; Aang gracefully waterbended the ice away. Pakku send him three water balls, which Aang successful caught in mid-air and dispersed. Aang attempted an offensive move as instructed, but he only managed to raise droplets of water and inadvertently raised the waters in the nearby canals. Aang stopped, realizing his still lack control over his incredible waterbending ability, as Pakku and the students watched in astonishment.

On the Fire Nation flagship that was leading the rest of fleet, Iroh met with Zhao on the upper deck. Zhao thanked him for accepting his invitation to join him on the historic event. Zhao acknowledged Iroh as a gifted military strategist, though noted his failure of at the 100-day siege of Ba Sing Se, where Iroh's son also died. Iroh thanked Zhao for expressing his condolence for Zuko's death in that terrible "accident".

Sokka and Princess Yue has been spending enjoy each other's company for weeks. They head over to the fort walls for the ocean view. Yue expressed her wish to spend time in the Southern Water Tribe, when there is safety for everyone. Yue revealed to Sokka that her she was a stillborn baby. Her parents prayed to the Moon spirit for days; when she woke up, her hair turned white and remained since.

Iroh went below deck and met with Zuko, who was still alive. Iroh was sure that Zhao ordered the attack on Zuko. He informed Zuko that they had arrived at the Water Nation stronghold but was concerned that Zhao had no sacredness. Zuko was determined to continue, as he would be allowed to live in peace until he has found the Avatar.

Aang and Katara were practicing their waterbending forms when the black ashes were falling all over the city. Yue was confused. Sokka grimly told her that the Fire Nation had arrived, knowing the ashes came from the burning engines of the Fire Nation ships.

At the rear of the flagship, Zuko wearing a white camouflage suit stepped into a small boat. Iroh reminded Zuko to keep his uniform closed up to his neck, and that his chi can warm him in the icy water. Iroh wished him to be safe as Zuko headed out near the shore of the stronghold, then dove in. He found a spot underneath the city with thin layer of ice, then generated heat from his chi to melt the spot and broke through the surface, into an unoccupied room.

Sokka took Aang into the balcony room, to see Princess Yue, who was overseeing the Fire Nation armada with Katara. Aang asked Yue if there is a spiritual place he can meditate to contact the Dragon Spirit for advice in defeating the Fire Nation. Yue knows of one, the most spiritual place, as the city was built around it. She led Aang, Katara, and Sokka there. Zuko noticed them from the rooftops, and followed them to an entrance into the side of a icy hill.

Inside, they stepped into a spiritual cave with a oasis pond. In the middle of the pond was a tree with a ground path leading to it. Momo reached into the pond to touch one of the two fish, one black and the other white. Aang scolded him to be nice, so Momo scampered and flew away. Aang revealed that to receive an airbending tattoo, one must be able to meditate for long periods of time without losing focus. As Aang sat down to meditate near the tree, two fish swirled together in a circle and glowed in their insides. Sokka escorted Yue back while Katara stayed with Aang.

As Aang meditated into a trance, Katara told Aang that she knew the Avatar was real and would return some day. Zuko voiced his agreement - Katara turned surprised to see him there. Zuko set his torch down to set the grass on fire, as Katara took a defensive stance. Zuko sent out a fire blast, which she took out with a two large stream with water from the pond. With the second blast, Katara took it out with a single stream. Impressed with her waterbending ability, Zuko asked who she was. Katara told him her name and revealed she was the last waterbender from the Southern Water Tribe. Zuko then firebended a curved blast and a straight blast. Overwhelmed with the complexity of Zuko's attack, she deflected the curved blast but was knocked hard against the tree with the other blast. Unconscious, Zuko rested her body next the tree and checked her condition. He then explained to her that he was not allowed to return to the Fire Nation without the Avatar.

As the large city bell was rung, the Northern Water Tribe residents hurriedly sought for shelter all over the city. Soldiers were seen lining up on the fort walls, overlooking the large Fire Nation fleet nearing its attack range. As Master Pakku gave out the battle cry, the soldiers rattled the end of their spears against the icy floor for morale.

Entering the war room, Iroh advised Zhao that waterbenders get their power from the Moon, so they will get stronger as the day get to the end. Zhao revealed that during the raid of The Great Library, they found a scroll that revealed location of the Moon and Ocean spirits. Iroh said he would be honored to meet them, to which Zhao hoped he can provide the honor.

The Fire Nation invasion of the Northern Water Tribe stronghold was fully underway. A firebender riding Komodo-Rhino stepped off the ship's platform and scaled up the icy fort walls. At the top, the firebender used the fiery metal spheres catapulted from the ship to blast the city below. Spinning drills broke through the surface at many locations within the city, where soldiers emerged from the sea below.

Sokka found Katara lying unconscious near the tree and woke her up. She told him that Zuko had taken Aang. Elsewhere, Zuko placed Aang down in a storage room in the stronghold, still in trance with his hands bound with rope. Zuko peered out the window, looking down the battle taking place below. His plan was to wait until "everyone is fighting everyone" before slipping out into the night.

In the spirit world, Aang asked the Dragon Spirit how to beat the Fire Nation, but he told Aang, "You are not dealing with loss of your people and your responsibilities for their deaths. You are stopping yourself from grieving. You are angry. You must let this go. As the Avatar you are not meant to hurt others..." The Dragon slithered past Aang and slithered out of the cave, but then peered back at Aang and continued, "Use the Ocean. Show them the power of Water. Go… Do this now..." The Dragon spread its mighty wings and lifted itself into the sky, as Aang left his trance.

Aang found himself hand bound in the storage room, and overhead Zuko talking about his sister, Azula, while he was still looking out the window. His father favored her over him as she was a firebending prodigy, and think he was like his mother. Aang took off, leaping over barrels, with Zuko chasing right behind him. He firebended the flames from the torches to take Aang down, in the process blasted away items in the room.

Just outside the stronghold, a firebender concentrated a large flame through a nozzle on a ship to breach the fort wall. The succeeded in creating a hole, which was large enough for Fire Nation soldiers and Komodo rhino-riders to freely enter the city. Master Pakku was seen waterbending the soldiers in the courtyard. Back on the flagship, Iroh advised Zhao to pull his men back; they will be trapped in the city once the Moon empowers and strengthens the waterbenders. Zhao assured Iroh not to worry as he and Ozai have decided to kill the Moon spirit before that happens, much to Iroh’s horror.

Zuko searched for Aang hiding in the storage room. His hands now free, Aang used airbending to distract Zuko and tried to escape. The situation escalated to a fight, later with firebending and airbending. As the fight turned into a standoff, they noticed that room was rumbling. The water in the barrels began to shake, then spiraled to Zuko encasing him in ice. Aang turned to see Katara, who saw the flames illuminating from the window of the storage room from the city below. Aang told Katara that the Dragon Spirit told him what to do. Katara then left the room with Sokka and Yue. Before leaving the room, he melted the ice around Zuko's head so Zuko can breathe. Aang suggested for Zuko to stay hidden here for his safety, and that they could be friends. Later, Zuko used his chi-heat to melt the ice and free himself.

Zhao and Iroh entered the Water Tribe stronghold through the breach, flanked by Fire Nation soldiers. He used the scroll from the Great Library to lead his men and Iroh to where they needed to go. Appa was seen growling at the soldiers from approaching the civilians. Aang was heading towards the courtyard with Sokka, Yue and Katara, when he noticed Zhao heading somewhere with the scroll in his hand. He suggested the others to follow Zhao and his men, while he joined the fight in the main courtyard.

Zhao and Iroh ended up at the same spiritual place where Aang meditated. Zhao introduced to Iroh the Moon and Ocean spirits, the two glowing fish swimming together in the pond. Zhao scooped the white fish into his pouch, about to kill its vulnerable form. Iroh pleaded with Zhao not to tamper with the spirit world. Just then, Katara, Sokka, and Yue burst into the spiritual place. Iroh warned Zhao to stop as the world would go out of balance with the Moon spirit dead. Declaring Fire Nation as gods, Zhao overcame his hesitation and stabbed the fish with his dagger. Princess Yue collapsed onto the grass, as if she was the one who was struck. Outside, pain shot through Aang’s head. The moon slowly turned red, casting a sickly crimson glow over the Northern city. The waterbenders also lost the Moon enhanced powers. In rage, Iroh created large fires from his hands out of nothing, which terrified Zhao and his men away.

With the Moon power gone, more Fire Nation soldiers were pouring into city, through three breaches now made on the fort walls. Aang looked at the losing battle surrounding him, as the Dragon Spirit's words were heard again, reminding him that the Avatar are not meant to hurt others, so Aang must show them "the power of Water".

Yue and the others grieved for the loss of the Moon spirit. Iroh noticed that Yue has been anointed by the spirit, to which Yue acknowledged. Iroh pleaded to Yue to give the life given to her as a child, back to the spirit. Sokka, at the thought of losing Yue, begged her not to, but Yue was convinced she that sacrificing her life to save her people was meant to be. She gave Sokka a final kiss and entered into the pond. As her life force left her to revive the Moon spirit, her white hair turned black. There was a pause in battle when the Moon reverted back to its natural glow.

Zhao was on a bridge, seemingly in despair of his failure of killing the Moon, when Zuko stepped out from the mist, walking towards him. Zhao said he had him killed. Zuko prepared to duel Zhao when Iroh appeared and told him to walk away. The Fire Nation soldiers had overrun the city - there was no way Zuko could take the Avatar now. Iroh pointed out that fighting Zhao will led to him being captured instead, presumably so Zhao will have someone to blame for should the siege failed and not go back empty-handed. As Zuko turned away, the enraged Zhao bended a large double-spiral fire attack to them. Iroh redirected the flames to sides, shielding him and Zuko. They left Zhao standing alone on the bridge.

The flames had attracted the attention of four waterbenders, now blocking Zhao's path off the bridge. Outnumbered, Zhao had no way of escaping and no chance of defeating them, especially with the return of the Moon's power. Refusing to surrender, Zhao provoked the waterbenders by bending a fire shot that barely hit any of the waterbenders. He then took off his cloak and waited to be finished off. Four large stream of water bended from the river below engulfed Zhao into a water sphere, drowning him.

Aang raced towards the fort wall, using waterbending to trap and stop Fire Nation soldiers along the way. He sent an airbending blast through the courtyard, opening a path through the battle forces, leading him right to the wall. At the top, he looked out at the vast fire Nation fleet in the ocean. Letting his emotions "flow like water"[nb 2], he recalled images of his life with Monk Gyatso and his friends, and then the fateful event where everyone bowed to him but ran away instead of bowing back. Freeing himself of his guilt, Aang used with the Ocean’s power to push a massive body of water up against the fort wall, and Moon’s power to pull it towards the sky. His eyes and tattoos glowed bluish-white as he unleashed the power of Water[nb 3]. The battle paused again at the incredible feat of waterbending. The Fire Nation soldiers in the city tried to retreat through a breach but it was blocked by the water. Aang bended the water towards the Fire Nation fleet but kept it hovering threatingly above them. Knowing that the water could easily crush the fleet, the Fire Nation accepted defeat and turned away. Aang bended the water back into the ocean and watched the fleet in retreat.

Katara hugged Aang as he was cheered from the city below. She and Sokka helped an exhausted Aang down the stairs into the courtyard. Aang saw the entire Northern Water Tribe waiting for him. They all knelt and bowed before him. The remaining Fire Nation soldiers left in the city also bowed, in awe of his power and moved by his show of mercy. Katara said, "They want you to be their Avatar, Aang. We all do", before she and Sokka bowed along side the others. Finally accepting his role as the Avatar, he bowed back.

Epilogue

Rather than Katara's narration, the story closes with Ozai's exposition at the Fire Nation place, directed to his daughter Azula, who was kneeling before him:

Our forces in the Northern Water Tribe have failed to take the city. General Zhao was killed in battle, my brother has become a traitor, and my son has proven himself a failure.
Sozin's Comet is returning in three years. It will give all firebenders the ability of the highest firebenders, the ability to use their own chi to create fire. That is the day we will win this war, and prove the Fire Nation's dominance.
You must stop the Avatar from mastering Earth and Fire. You must give us the time to get to that day.
Do you accept this unspeakably important task I am putting in your hands?

Azula looked up and said "I do, father", unable to hide her twisted smile.

Trivia

  • According to the movie novelization, Aang was biologically 13 years old, Katara was 15, Sokka was 17, and Zuko was 18. In contrast with the original series, Aang was biologically 12 years old, Katara was 14, Sokka was 15, and Zuko was 16.
  • Katara only knew Aang's name in the scene at the Southern Air Temple. However, in her preceding narration, she referred to Aang by name instead of "the boy". However she was narrating the story in the past tense, so this is not a continuity error.
  • According to Katara's narration, when Aang and Appa got forced into the Ocean, Aang consciously airbended a sphere around them (i.e. not subconsciously via the Avatar State) but ice formed around the sphere and he couldn't remember anything after that.
  • The text-on-screen narrated Prologue, which was remarkably different from than the opening theme of the animated series, had some critics mistakenly attribute it as a Star Wars opening crawl[3][4]. Rather, it was executed similarly to the opening theme for The Pretender, Season 1 and 2 after the Pilot (see video).

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 According to the movie novelization, Aang was biologically 13 years old, Katara was 15, Sokka was 17, and Zuko was 18. In contrast with the original series, Aang was biologically 12 years old, Katara was 14, Sokka was 15, and Zuko was 16.
  2. In The Guru episode, Pathik instructed Aang to let his fear flow down the watery creek to unblock the Earth Chakra.
  3. The power of Water is our real-world English term for the 2nd Chakra (Svadhisthana)[1][2], which is termed as the Water Chakra in The Guru episode.

References

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