Avatar World: The Last Airbender has shown immediate engagement from the beginning of the series, immersing fans so much that it’s sometimes hard to understand how little viewers see in the first series. Although Aang and his companions traveled around the globe, each episode saw a glimpse of each destination. This leaves a lot of confusion, with some fans saying Katara is actually a princess.
With the birth of the daughter of the most respected leader of the Southern Water Tribe, allegations that Katara is a princess are completely baseless. However, looking at this series, both in what the first show reveals and other information obtained about the franchise since, the case is clear that Katara is not a princess at all. Avatar: The Last Airbender.
At the beginning of the series, Katara and Sokka stay with Gran Gran, as they lost their mother in the 100th Century War when they were young and lost their father since he left to help with war efforts. Going by the actual series itself, it is understandable if viewers think that the Southern Water Tribe consists of Katara, Sokka, Gran Gran only and the slightest collision with other people who seem to live in their village. When their ancestor Hakoda appears later in the series and assumes a leadership role, it is easy to make a mistake as the leader of the entire South Water Tribe.
However, this is not the case. Just one of several tribes appears in the middle of the first series, and the Southern Water Tribe is actually much larger than the first two episodes of Avatar that lead viewers to believe. Similarly, Hakoda does not occupy a position of supreme political power over any of his countrymen; as a junior chief, his main role was to lead the military forces that attacked the Fire Nation forces during the last days of the war. Hakoda has served as part of the Southern League, sharing power with many other city leaders – very different from the king.
When Hakoda became Chief Minister after the war, this position was chosen to be his position rather than owing him the birthright. Note that the language of kings and princes is very different from respectable titles such as king and princess, and compared to the royal family of the Fire Nation, the difference is quite clear. Princess Azula owes her position to a long list of generations of rulers whose powers were independent, most of which was irresistible, and far from the democratic and dignified processes of the Southern Water Tribe. Avatar: The Last Airbender.
While such considerations may seem very respectable from a modern point of view, they make Azula’s reference to Katara as a “farmer” very understandable. In Azula’s view, Katara and Sokka came from a country with a backwater system in an unusual way. None of them shared Azula’s genealogy. That may be why Azula looks down on Katara so well in the end, opening up the stupidity with an attack that allows Katara to win their game.
As culturally diverse as the influences in the Avatar world are, it would be a shame to reduce the appearance of political positions to European titles such as “king” or “princess” when they do not fit well. Katara never needed the title to be one of the strongest people in the world. The “Princess” would have been right, but as the world’s greatest water supply, that seems to be the case. Avatar: The Last Airbender.
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