- This article is about the character. For other similar uses, see Aang (disambiguation).
|"I wasn't there when the Fire Nation attacked my people. I'm gonna make a difference this time."|
|— Avatar Aang to Chief Arnook.|
Aang was a male Air Nomad born in 12 BG and the Avatar during the Hundred Year War, succeeding Avatar Roku and preceding Avatar Korra. As the Avatar of his time, he was the only person capable of using all four bending arts: airbending, waterbending, earthbending, and firebending. He was also one of a select few Avatars, and one of the first in many cycles to learn the ancient art of energybending, and the first Avatar known to have actively used the technique.
Shortly before the beginning of the Hundred Year War, Aang was frozen in an iceberg for a hundred years; he later emerged, still biologically twelve years old, into a world engulfed by war. During his absence, the Fire Nation had waged war upon the other nations and managed to completely wipe out the pacifistic Air Nomads. It fell to Aang, the Avatar and the last airbender, to end the War by mastering the other three elements and defeating Fire Lord Ozai. He remained a kind and goofy kid at heart throughout his year-long struggle, despite the overwhelming loss of his people and the heavy burdens he was forced to bear. After his victory over the Phoenix King, Aang began a romantic relationship with his close friend, Katara. The couple eventually married and raised a family of three children: Bumi, the oldest, a nonbender who became an airbender later in life; Kya, a waterbender; and the youngest, Tenzin, an airbender.
- 1 History
- 2 Personality
- 3 Abilities
- 4 Relationships
- 5 Relatives
- 6 Appearances
- 6.1 Avatar: The Last Airbender
- 6.2 Avatar comics
- 6.3 Graphic novels
- 6.4 The Legend of Korra
- 7 Trivia
- 8 References
- 9 See also
Aang was born to two Air Nomads in 12 BG. After selecting the Avatar relics from among thousands of toys, thereby inadvertently confirming his identity as the Avatar, he was taken away by the monks of the Southern Air Temple, who kept his position a secret from him. As an Air Nomad, Aang traveled extensively around the world. During his childhood, Aang was housed, raised, and educated at the Southern Air Temple, under the guardianship of monk Gyatso, who served as his father figure, counselor, and tutor. As a child, Aang was a member of the Air Scouts, where he learned essential skills such as how to tie reins to a bison's horns with the bison horn knot. After some time, he and several other young Air Nomad boys were taken to the Eastern Air Temple where they each chose a sky bison as their lifelong companion. Aang approached his soon-to-be sky bison Appa and offered him an apple, which Appa accepted, thus marking the start of their deep and lifelong friendship.
Aang was always able to excel at any new bending moves he learned; at the age of six, he was a better airbender than children twice his age, and by the age of ten, Aang had proven himself to be better than his own teachers. He earned airbending tattoos and the status of an airbending master by the age of twelve for exhibiting prodigious talent with his native element and with his invention of the air scooter, making him the youngest airbending master in Air Nomad history.
In his childhood, Aang also visited the other air temples, as evidenced by his obvious familiarity with the Western Air Temple, as well as cities in the Earth Kingdom, such as Omashu, where he developed a lasting friendship with the good-natured but eccentric Bumi. He even bonded closely with children in the Fire Nation, like Kuzon, with whom he went searching for a dragon in the mountains and saved a dragon egg from poachers.
Due to the signs of a possible war approaching, Aang was told about his status as the Avatar at age twelve, four years earlier than the traditional age of sixteen. Aang felt burdened by his status as the other children refused to play with him anymore and he came to spend more time practicing airbending with the monks. Monk Gyatso was the only one who showed an understanding of Aang's burden, having been good friends with Avatar Roku, Aang's past life, and tried to help ease Aang through the transition from childhood to adulthood by providing Aang with balance through fun during the upheaval in his life.
However, Aang later discovered that he would be sent to the Eastern Air Temple in order to complete his airbending training far away from Monk Gyatso, whom the other monks thought was too soft on him. Afraid and confused, the young airbender ran away with his flying bison, Appa, though they became caught in a storm shortly after, which caused them to crash into the water. Aang saved himself and Appa from drowning by semi-consciously entering the Avatar State and freezing them both in a sphere of ice through a combination of airbending and waterbending. The Avatar State kept him alive, albeit not fully conscious, in the iceberg for about a hundred years while the war raged on.
Winter 99 AG
- Main article: History of Aang (12 BG - 100 AG)
One hundred years later, Aang was found and freed from the iceberg by siblings Katara and Sokka of the Southern Water Tribe. He quickly befriended them and almost immediately attracted the attention of Prince Zuko, who was to capture him by order of his father, Fire Lord Ozai. A newly formed Team Avatar set out to find a waterbending master who could teach Katara and Aang, evading Zuko's attempts to capture them on their journey to the North Pole. While helping rid Senlin Village of Hei Bai, a spirit that was destroying their village, Aang crossed over to the Spirit World where he met Fang, the animal guide of his predecessor, Avatar Roku. He was instructed to visit the Avatar Temple on Crescent Island during the winter solstice so he could talk with Avatar Roku. Despite a run-in with most of the Fire Sages, a group whose loyalty had reallocated to the Fire Lord, Aang managed to speak with Roku, who warned him about the impending arrival of Sozin's Comet, which would grant the Fire Nation enough power to win the War.
Roku urged Aang to master the three remaining elements before summer's end, when the comet was due to arrive, or no one would ever be able to restore balance to the world. When Aang was later captured by Admiral Zhao, Zuko came to his aid under the identity of the Blue Spirit, freeing the former so that he could capture the Avatar himself. Aang, Sokka, and Katara continued their travels to the Northern Water Tribe, all the while developing a tighter bond and Aang beginning to develop a crush on Katara. Upon the group's arrival at the Northern Water Tribe, Aang was displeased to learn that the waterbending master, Pakku, would not teach Katara, due to the tradition of not teaching females in combative waterbending. Instead, Katara learned how to heal injuries using water. However, she was able to change Pakku's mind, and they both began to learn from him. The period of calm was brief, as Zhao commanded an attack on the Northern Water Tribe with a large fleet of ships. Aang found the situation overwhelming and decided to seek the guidance of the Ocean and Moon Spirits, patrons of the Northern Water Tribe. Aang learned through a spirit named Koh that the spirits existed in the mortal world, but his physical self had been captured by Zuko while he was in the Spirit World. Aang's friends managed to rescue him, but not before Zhao arrived at the Spirit Oasis, the lair of the spirits, and killed the Moon Spirit, who was the source of power for all waterbending. Determined not to fail the Water Tribe, Aang merged with the Ocean Spirit and proceeded to wipe out all Fire Nation ships, winning the battle.
Spring 100 AG
- Main article: History of Aang (Spring 100 AG)
Aang and the others flew to an Earth Kingdom base, from where they were to be escorted to Omashu, but decided to travel alone as the general in charge tried to force Aang into the Avatar State. Upon arrival, they learned that the city had fallen under Fire Nation control. They evacuated the citizens from the city in order to sustain the Omashu Resistance; but, in the process, the governor's son, Tom-Tom, followed them out. Team Avatar was sent a messenger hawk saying the governor would trade Bumi for Tom-Tom. However, Azula interfered and their attempt was called off. At that, Aang fought Azula, who deemed it her mission to capture him. Bumi told Aang that he needed to remain in Omashu and instructed the young Avatar to search for an earthbending master who waited and listened to the earth before attacking. While in the city of Gaoling, the team learned about a tournament that housed the best earthbenders in the world which they attended, hoping to find a good earthbending teacher for Aang. After watching many rounds, they witnessed the final fight between one of the popular contestants and the current champion, a blind girl. During her match, Aang realized the girl was the same one he had envisioned while lost in the Foggy Swamp and noticed her technique of waiting and listening before attacking, thus easily defeating her opponent. The ringmaster offered a sack of gold pieces to anyone who dared to face the "Blind Bandit". Aang accepted that challenge in order to talk to the girl, but she ignored him.
The group later learned that the girl was of the Beifong family and went to the Beifong estate, gaining entrance by having Aang introduce himself as the Avatar. He learned, however, that the earthbender, Toph, hid her ability from her family. When the two were kidnapped, Toph managed to fight off all the attackers, revealing her skill to her parents, and ran away from home in order to join Aang's group. As earth is the element opposite of air, Aang went through some difficulties while learning earthbending but eventually got it. Soon after, Team Avatar was split up during a Fire Nation ambush. As they were searching for Katara, Aang, Toph, and Sokka captured a Fire Nation soldier. Aang was left disturbed by this encounter, as the trooper frantically believed the Air Nomads to be evil. Team Avatar subsequently reunited with the aid of Jiang's pirates.
While taking a small vacation, the group found Wan Shi Tong's library in the middle of the Si Wong Desert and learned valuable information on a solar eclipse that would leave the firebenders powerless. While sorting through the library's information, however, they lost Appa, who was captured by desert people and sold. After meeting the kidnappers, an enraged Aang entered the Avatar State and destroyed the tribes' sand-sailers when he learned of Appa's fate. Despite Appa's absence, the group knew their new goal was to tell the Earth King in Ba Sing Se about the eclipse as the day of the eclipse will be the perfect opportunity for the Earth Kingdom to invade the Fire Nation. After finding their way out of the desert and crossing the Serpent's Pass, the group discovered a giant Fire Nation drill trying to penetrate the Great Wall of Ba Sing Se. General Sung was reluctant at first to accept the group's help, but after witnessing the quick defeat of his Terra Team at the hands of Ty Lee and Mai, he gladly accepted the Avatar's assistance. In a joint effort, the group managed to fight them off and destroy the drill.
Upon reaching Ba Sing Se, Aang discovered that the city was secretly corrupt; true power did not lie with the Earth King, but with his adviser, Long Feng, who controlled the secret police, the Dai Li. They learned of and infiltrated Long Feng's secret base, believing that he was holding Appa captive. After reuniting with Appa, they stormed the palace and informed the Earth King of the solar eclipse and Long Feng's betrayal. After they convinced the Earth King, Kuei, his men searched Long Feng's office and found a message for Aang from Guru Pathik, who had tied it to Appa's horn. The message requested that Aang meet Guru Pathik at the Eastern Air Temple to be taught how to control the Avatar State. While there, Pathik helped Aang open all his chakras but one, the Thought Chakra. Aang struggled to unlock this one when he learned he had to let go of his feelings for Katara. During his attempt to do so, he envisioned her in danger and immediately returned to the city, blocking his chakra. On the way back, he picked up Sokka and Toph and together they learned that Azula and her friends had infiltrated the city. After Aang freed Katara from the princess' imprisonment, they both fought Zuko and Azula in the Crystal Catacombs. Things took a turn for the worse when the Dai Li, now under Azula's command, arrived. Aang attempted to enter the Avatar State, but was struck down in the back with a lightning bolt fired by Azula. The severe attack rendered his seventh chakra impossible to re-open and killed him while he was in the Avatar State, severing the connection of the Avatar Spirit to the Avatar World and causing the Avatar to fall from the plane of existence. Katara caught Aang while he plummeted to the ground. A surprising intervention of Iroh allowed her to bring Aang's body to safety. While escaping the city on Appa, Katara used water from the Spirit Oasis at the North Pole to revive him, which restored the Avatar Spirit in turn, but his ability to use the Avatar State became inaccessible to him.
Summer 100 AG
- Main article: History of Aang (Summer 100 AG)
For several weeks, Aang was unconscious as he recovered from his injury. Mentally, he spent this time in the Spirit World, where he reconnected with his four previous incarnations to heal the Avatar Spirit. However, upon his awakening, Aang had no memory of his long journey through the Spirit World and his meetings with his former lives. Aang woke up to find himself aboard a Fire Nation vessel and sporting hair, believing that he had been captured. In actuality, Team Avatar and others had seized and were commandeering the ship and were headed toward the Fire Nation. Upon reaching the Fire Nation, the team prepared for the invasion, planned during the Day of Black Sun, when firebenders were at their weakest. They were continually threatened, however, by Combustion Man, an assassin Zuko sent after Aang. On the day of the eclipse, Aang, Sokka, and Toph went searching for Fire Lord Ozai, but were kept at bay by Azula for the entire duration of the eclipse. They decided to retreat to fight another day.
Afterward, Team Avatar and the youngest members of the invasion force journeyed to the Western Air Temple, where they were confronted by Zuko, who wished to join their group. They initially rejected him, but when he helped them defeat Combustion Man, Aang accepted Zuko as his firebending teacher. When Zuko lost touch with his inner fire, Zuko and Aang sought out the Sun Warriors to learn the original source of firebending and underwent a trial from the dragons Ran and Shaw that enhanced both firebenders' abilities.
Due to his Air Nomad belief in the sacredness of all life, Aang felt strong anxiety about the concept of killing Ozai. When he left for an island off the shore of Ember Island, he met a lion turtle who taught him the art of energybending. Armed with this knowledge, Aang went on to defeat the Fire Lord by taking away his firebending with this ability. He vowed at Fire Lord Zuko's coronation to help him restore peace to the world. To this end, Team Avatar met with Earth King Kuei in Ba Sing Se after the coronation and agreed to initiate the Harmony Restoration Movement to remove the Fire Nation colonies from the Earth Kingdom and restore balance. Soon after, Aang and Katara began a romantic relationship with a passionate kiss at the Jasmine Dragon.
100 - 102 AG
- Main article: History of Aang (100 AG - 102 AG)
Team Avatar split up after the Hundred Year War, and Aang devoted his time to restoring peace and order in the world. He helped to repatriate many Fire Nation colonists. After one year, however, Zuko unexpectedly withdrew his support for the decolonization efforts. Disturbed, Aang and Katara traveled to the colony of Yu Dao. There, the Fire Lord and Avatar could not agree on a course of action, as Zuko regarded the oldest colonies as prosperous communities which had the right to exist, while Aang saw them as a continued threat to the balance between the four nations. Regardless, Aang and Katara pledged to find a peaceful solution, deciding to adress Earth King Kuei to this end. In Ba Sing Se, Aang was surprised and happy to discover the Official Avatar Aang Fan Club, a group which had devoted itself to learning the ways of the Air Nomads. In contrast, the meeting with Kuei went poorly, as the king decided to remove the colonies by force. Aang and Katara hurried back to Yu Dao to convince the locals to leave before a new war could ignite. Faced with obstination from the colonists as well as Earth Kingdom nationalists, he struggled to find a peaceful solution until the chaotic Battle for Yu Dao erupted. Fearing that he would have to kill Zuko to prevent another war, Aang eventually concluded that it was no longer possible to keep the nations apart and that the Fire Lord was right. To this end, the Avatar stopped the battle and convinced Kuei to allow the old colonies to stay, albeit as self-governing polities. He also transformed the Official Avatar Aang Fan Club into the first Air Acolytes to revive Air Nomad culture.
After solving the Yu Dao crisis, Aang, Katara, and Sokka decided to help Zuko in his search for his long-lost mother Ursa. Doing so, they were forced to work with Azula who had crucial information on Ursa's whereabouts. After a tense encounter with a wolf spirit, the group arrived in the remote village of Hira'a. There, they stayed at the home of two friendly actors, Noren and Noriko, but lost track of Zuko's mother. However, the group learned that Ursa's ex-boyfriend Ikem had disappeared in the nearby Forgetful Valley. At this deeply spiritual forested area, the Avatar and his comrades met Rafa and Misu, Water Tribe siblings who were seeking the aid of a powerful spirit known as the Mother of Faces. Aang offered his help, crossed over into the Spirit World, and convinced the ancient spirit to grant them one wish. Team Avatar decided to spend the spirit's goodwill to help Rafa and Misu. However, Azula interjected and took the wish for herself, causing the Mother of Faces to reveal that she had helped Ikem and Ursa to start a new life by granting them new faces, those of Noren and Noriko, while also wiping Ursa's memories. Azula promptly took off, followed by Zuko and Sokka, as Aang and Katara attempted to convince the Mother of Faces to grant a second wish to help Rafa and Misu. A fight ensued, as the Mother felt that the humans were disrespectful and sent her spirit followers to attack them. While fending off the spirits, Aang accidentally blew off Rafa's mask, revealing that his face had been stolen by Koh, the son of the Mother of Faces. Revealing that an Avatar had once spared Koh, Aang managed to convince her to grant Rafa a new face. Soon after, the spirit also restored Ursa's face and memories. Aang and his friends consequently accompanied Zuko, Ursa, Noren, and their daughter Kiyi back to the Fire Nation Capital.
Team Avatar then attended the remaining talks on Yu Dao's future during which Aang encountered Avatar Yangchen's spirit, but was unable to hear her. This meeting inspired him to revive Yangchen's Festival. In the process, Team Avatar and the Air Acolytes discovered that the Earthen Fire Refinery and a small settlement had been built on formerly sacred Air Nomad lands. Aang opposed this development, causing tensions with Toph who advocated change. Despite the disruption caused by the factory, the Avatar and the Air Acolytes continued to try celebrate Yangchen's Festival; while doing so, a ceremonial meal acted as conduit that allowed Aang to finally connect with Yangchen. However, an earthquake interrupted their conversation. The Avatar rushed to the Earthen Fire Refinery where he learned that Katara, Toph, and several others were trapped in a mine under the factory. Aang was able to save the trapped group with the help of Toph's students. Afterward, the Avatar reconnected with Yangchen and finally learned that Yangchen's Festival had been set up to placate the spirit Old Iron who had wanted avenge the alleged murder of his spirit friend Lady Tienhai by humans. The factory's construction had roused his anger once again. When Old Iron subsequently attacked, Aang tried to negotiate until the spirit moved to kill Toph and her students. The Air Nomad then deeply wounded the spirit, causing Old Iron to retreat. Aang regretted this development, feeling that Old Iron might be right that humans and spirits were unable to coexist. However, his hope was restored when Lady Tienhai appeared and revealed that she had not truly died, and also always loved humanity as well as its progressive ways. The Avatar consequently decided to reform Yangchen's Festival into the Spirits' Friendship Festival, something that preserved the Air Nomad traditions while also adapting to the new times.
After solving the crisis at the Earthen Fire Refinery, Aang traveled to the Fire Nation to help Zuko who faced alleged dark spirit attacks. The Avatar learnt that several children had disappeared, while political extremists under Ukano were mobilizing opposition against the Fire Lord. Seeking a reason for the spirits' anger, Aang, Zuko, Mai, and Kei Lo visited Dragonbone Catacombs where otherwise forgotten knowledge on the Fire Nation's past was stored. At the crypt of the first Fire Lord, the Air Nomad contacted a Kemurikage spirit who informed the group that their kind had not returned to haunt the Fire Nation since ancient times. Accordingly, Aang reasoned that the kidnappers were human imposters. In the next night, the fake Kemurikage kidnapped Zuko's sister Kiyi. Aang and his friends were unable to stop them, but learnt that the imposters were led by Azula. The Avatar consequently helped to locate and rescue the missing children, although the Kemurikage imposters escaped.
Aang subsequently traveled to the South Pole to spend some time with Sokka and Katara. While there, the Avatar had to deal with Southern Water Tribe nationalists under Gilak, who intended to overthrow Katara's father Hakoda as Head Chieftain of the South. After helping to defeat a first nationalist attack, Aang attended an international meeting organized by Hakoda. Gilak and his allies used the opportunity to strike again, but Aang and Katara were able to prevent them from kidnapping Hakoda. Regardless, the nationalist captured Earth King Kuei, leading to a tense prison exchange at the Bridge of No Return. Fighting quickly erupted, and the nationalists were defeated. Aang saved Hakoda and Malina from falling to their deaths during these clashes.
Shortly afterward, Aang and his friends ventured to the Earthen Fire Refinery, discovering that a city nicknamed "Cranefish Town" had emerged around it. The Avatar was asked by Lao Beifong to help solve disputes between benders and nonbenders at the settlement. When several nonbender-owned factories, including the Earthen Fire Refinery, were sabotaged, Team Avatar decided to investigate. Aang and his friends discovered that councilwoman Liling was organizing a bending supremacist movement and captured her after infiltrating her secret rally. However, Aang was consequently faced with a dilemma as Toph urged him to take away Liling's bending to put an end to her movement, a fate considered by the conspirator as worse than death. Before he could decide, Liling escaped and started an armed uprising. The Avatar helped to put down the insurgency and ultimately decided against removing the supremacists' bending, having concluded that this would not solve a conflict that was ultimately fueled by societal problems, distrust, and ideology. Aang and Katara consequently decided to stay in Cranefish Town, regarding it as a special place and wanting to help it develop into a better community.
After the Hundred Year War and the tensions of the Harmony Restoration Movement conflict, Aang managed to maintain peace. Together with Fire Lord Zuko and the rest of their friends, he transformed all the former Fire Nation colonies into the United Republic of Nations. Cranefish Town, renamed "Republic City", became the new state's capital and the home to people from all nations. Aang worked closely with Zuko to allow Republic City to grow into a prosperous and safe environment, and had to deal with a growing number of bending criminals from the city's early days.
Aang also spearheaded the restoration of the four ancient air temples and constructed a fifth air temple near the heart of Republic City, called Air Temple Island where he housed a herd of surviving flying bison, along with a new type of winged lemur, the ring-tailed winged lemur, both of which he found some time after the war.
Sometime during this period, Aang married Katara and they had three children: Bumi, a nonbender who gained the ability to airbend in 171 AG, Kya, a waterbender, and Tenzin, an airbender. When Tenzin turned five, Aang began to collect a series of stories and mementos from his life for his youngest son to read following his death. Despite the peace the world was experiencing, family problems plagued the Avatar. Due to Aang's second responsibility of preserving Air Nomad culture, he spent more time and traveled more extensively with Tenzin, his only airbending child, so as to instill him with Air Nomad traditions. This made the elder siblings feel somewhat distant from their father. Despite this, when Kya revealed her sexual orientation to him, Aang was supportive of her.
In 128 AG, the city was suffering from a high rate of crime due to a notorious crime boss named Yakone. The fact that he was a master bloodbender, yet managed to stay out of the law's reach for a long time, caused Aang to find it necessary to assist the Chief of Police, Toph Beifong at the time, in his arrest in order to bring him to justice. Aang, Toph, and her metalbending officers apprehended the crime lord at Kwong's Cuisine. The criminal did not resist, and despite Aang saying that they knew that he was a bloodbender, Yakone claimed that he would beat the charges again. After attending his arrest, Aang was present at Yakone's trial, where Yakone was convicted of his crimes. However, before the sentence could be carried out, Yakone used his powers to subdue everyone in the courtroom, leaving them unconscious. Aang was capable of holding out longest, but he lost consciousness as well after Yakone used his skill to levitate the Avatar in the air and throw him against the stairs leading up to the court's platform.
However, employing the Avatar State, Aang regained his senses, allowing him to pursue the criminal. He effectively halted Yakone's getaway by severing his mount from the carriage he was perched upon with an air swipe. Hovering around on an enhanced air scooter, Aang was subdued a second time by Yakone's bloodbending, who now fully intended to kill him. Entering the Avatar State, however, allowed Aang to break free of Yakone's grip, and he swiftly captured Yakone in an earth shell, before utilizing energybending to permanently remove his bending.
The one hundred years Aang had spent frozen in an iceberg while in the Avatar State drained much of his inherent life energy, and by his later years the strain of this began to weigh heavily upon his body. With his health failing and sensing his end was near, Aang tasked the Order of the White Lotus to search for and watch over the next Avatar. Eventually, at the relatively young biological age of sixty-six, Aang passed away. He was reincarnated into a headstrong, hot-headed, and rebellious girl named Korra from the Southern Water Tribe.
A massive statue of Avatar Aang was created on Aang Memorial Island, a small island located in Yue Bay. A teenage Aang is depicted wearing Air Nomad monk robes and holding a staff with the airbending symbol on top, overlooking the city he founded with the help of his friends. The statue was created and donated by the Fire Nation as a sign of peace and goodwill.
As is tradition, a statue of Aang was also added to the inner sanctuary of the Southern Air Temple, in order to keep the line of statues of past Avatars up to date. His statue stood in the middle of the assemblage.
Appearances in Avatar Korra's life
At age seventeen, Korra moved from the safety of the Southern Water Tribe compound to the bustling streets of Republic City. However, every time she found herself in serious trouble and was on the brink of slipping into unconsciousness, she would be plagued by visions of Aang's encounter with Yakone. Through these visions, it appeared Aang was attempting to warn Korra of the imminent threat that Yakone's son, Councilman Tarrlok, posed to her, though it was later revealed that he was actually trying to warn her about Amon.
However, it was not until Korra was at an extremely low point in life due to losing her bending that she inadvertently summoned Aang's spirit for the first time. During their talk, Aang explained that he was there because Korra had asked him to be, as she had finally connected with her spiritual self, due to being open to the greatest change by hitting her lowest point. Aided by all of the previous Avatars who appeared behind him, Aang compassionately used energybending to restore Korra's bending and passed on the knowledge of the art to her.
After Korra lost her memory due to a spiritual infection, Aang appeared before her, taking over from Korra's own reflection and reminded his successor of her status as the Avatar, before making room for Roku to appear.
Appearance in Tenzin's life
When Tenzin was stuck in the Fog of Lost Souls, stricken with doubt over his potential inability to pave the way for future airbenders and live up to his father's legacy, a vision of Aang appeared before him. Tenzin apologized to his father and said that he would never be the man he was. The image of Aang agreed with this, much to the younger airbender's shock, and continued by saying Tenzin should never have tried to mimic him in the first place, and that he was trying to hold on to a perception of himself. Aang finished by saying that Tenzin was not him, and that he should not be him, but instead be his own person. Aang's image transformed into an image of Tenzin and his son finally stepped out of his father's shadow.
Aang was fun-loving, somewhat naive, and adventurous with a sense of humor. He possessed deep respect for life and freedom, refused to eat meat, and was often reluctant to fight in his younger years. He craved the stimulation of new people and places. His frequent off-course detours frustrated both allies and pursuers alike. He typically wished to forget his duties as the Avatar and would long for the normality that others possessed. Yet Aang had always prided himself on a complex social network of friends extending over all four nations, and war did not stand in his way. In addition, he looked forward to playing with all the exotic fauna in each place he visited. Whether it was otter penguins, hopping llamas, hog monkeys, or giant koi fish, no fit animal Aang saw went un-ridden.
Within this carefree exterior, however, Aang hid a great deal of guilt and a heavy mental burden in his duties as Avatar. As the reluctant hero, he wished he had been there to help his people a century earlier. This initially caused him to conceal his true identity from friends, and he still had a tendency to slack off in his studies of the bending arts, even though he naturally excelled at them. He also tended to become distressed when he saw the destruction caused by the Hundred Year War, believing that as the Avatar, it was his job to prevent such events from happening. Eventually, Aang decided to stop dwelling on the past; however, on several occasions, his desire to end the War caused him to take desperate action such as attempting to induce the Avatar State or facing Fire Lord Ozai before he had fully mastered the elements.
Being the last airbender and having no living peers, with the exception of the aged King Bumi and Guru Pathik, Aang developed strong bonds with his friends, particularly Katara, explained by Guru Pathik as a reincarnation of his love for his people. His desire to protect them, however, led to violent emotional outbursts when they were threatened, and he even resorted to deceiving and hurting others to keep the group together such as when he heard that Katara and Sokka might leave the group to visit their father; he hid the map to their father's whereabouts and lied about ever having it in the first place.
Aang preferred not to use his bending skill in battle due to his peaceful nature. He preferred to solve problems non-violently. Even when forced into combat, Aang typically held back, fighting defensively and trying to subdue opponents without seriously hurting them, even if they were not human. This attitude was apparently common among all airbenders, who were all vegetarians and taught that all living things are precious. The only exception to Aang's pacifism was when his friends were threatened, in which case, he could become angry and attack his opponents, sometimes even entering the Avatar State.
Events in the Earth Kingdom, however, began to take a toll on his carefree personality. Aang's attitude changed dramatically when Appa was captured. He became visibly enraged and hostile, particularly toward Toph, who had kept Appa company while they were gone. Despite attempts by Katara to calm Aang down, his anger continued to grow until finally he flew off to search for Appa alone. Eventually Aang returned to the group, but he was still visibly upset. He violated the principles of airbending when Momo was snatched by a buzzard wasp. He gave chase and rescued Momo, but unnecessarily struck it down with powerful airbending. After Aang returned with Momo, the group was confronted by the sandbenders who had taken Appa. When one of the sandbenders, Ghashiun, revealed that they had sold the bison, Aang lashed out and destroyed all their sand-sailers in a matter of moments using his airbending. He turned his sights on the sandbenders and entered the Avatar State upon hearing that Ghashiun had muzzled Appa. Aang's rage was only stopped when Katara grabbed hold of him and held him in an embrace until he finally calmed down and returned to his normal state. Shortly after these events, Aang forsook all hope, choosing not to care at all in order to refrain from lashing out in anger and be hurt. The birth of the baby Hope lifted his spirits once again.
After failing in Ba Sing Se, Aang began to feel angry and upset with himself. He felt an urge to redeem himself and refused to let the others fight and be injured in the invasion due to "his mistake". Driven by a desire for redemption, he fled the ship on which the team was traveling, but the spirits of Yue and Roku allowed Aang to see that his mistakes were not his fault and encouraged to let others help him. He returned to his lighter attitude soon after.
Four days before the invasion, Aang began to have nightmares about fighting against the Fire Lord. He started to unravel and chose to avoid experiencing them by not sleeping. This caused him to mentally fall apart even more, and he suffered intense hallucinations, blanking off into realistic daydreams. On the night before the invasion, his friends finally coaxed him to sleep, during which he defeated the Fire Lord in his dreams and regained his sense of fortitude.
During the invasion, Aang became extremely upset upon not being able to find Fire Lord Ozai, believing that he had lost his only chance to defeat him and end the war. Aang expressed his determination to face Ozai anyway, even though at this time the eclipse had passed and Ozai was now capable of firebending once more. He was dissuaded, however, by Toph and Sokka, who advised him to retreat and attack at a more advantageous time.
After the invasion, Aang was unwilling to face the reality of having to learn firebending, wanting instead to have some fun at the Western Air Temple; however, with the arrival of Zuko, he once again began training in earnest. Although he had planned to wait until after the comet to face Ozai, upon learning of the Fire Lord's plan to burn through the Earth Kingdom, he decided to engage him anyway, even though he was not fully trained. He became extremely conflicted, however, upon learning that he would have no other choice than to take Ozai's life.
Aang did show a somewhat flawed and stubborn side to his personality during the Harmony Restoration Movement. Like Roku, Aang was adamant on the idea that four separate nations would bring peace. This contradicted with Yu Dao, where citizens of two nations were able to live in harmony, make huge achievements, and have biracial families. However, Aang saw this as only another disaster that would lead to another war and persisted to move the Fire Nation colonials back to the Fire Nation, even if it meant separating them from their families. However, when Aang saw how intertwined the people from the Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom had become and how his relationship with Katara was the same, he came to terms with the fact that his beliefs were outdated and realized that the world had changed significantly in the past hundred years. This prompted him to defend and support Yu Dao, found the Air Acolytes, and ultimately sever his spiritual connection with his dear friend, guide, and past life, Avatar Roku, who still completely refused and chastised Aang's choices. Later on, he and Zuko decided to form the United Republic of Nations as a compromise.
Although Aang retained his playful personality at times in his later years, as evidenced when he happily posed for a picture while spinning seaweed wraps between his hands, he had also grown up to become more serious and decisive. He became annoyed when Toph referred to him by his childhood nickname "Twinkle Toes", disregarding the fact that he was forty years old. He also dealt with criminal lord and bloodbender Yakone in a way described by Tarrlok as "head-on", contrary to his previous attitudes of trying to find peaceful solutions and his aversion to fighting. Aang remained calm, level-headed, and soft-spoken in his later years.
As a reincarnation of the entity known as the Avatar, Aang possessed the power to bend all four elements, making him the most powerful bender of his time. Though Avatar Roku said mastering the elements could take many years, Aang was able to learn all four with considerable skill in a year, though technically he did not completely master all four as stated by Zuko and Toph. As a result of his unconventional training, Aang never demonstrated most of the special subsets of the bending arts. However, he did display the abilities of lightning redirection and seismic sense, making him the first Avatar known to have learned these abilities. Most Avatars were not told of their status until they were sixteen years of age, but Aang had become a fully realized Avatar while he was still only biologically twelve years old. Thus, he became the youngest known Avatar to do so. As he was chronologically 112 years old, Aang also has the distinction of taking the longest to achieve this status.
By the time of the Air Nomad Genocide, Aang was already an airbending master, the youngest in history at that time. Aang achieved his mastery tattoos when he mastered thirty-five of the thirty-six tiers of airbending and invented a new airbending technique, the "air scooter", becoming the youngest known airbending master of his time at only twelve years old. The element of air was the one he utilized the most in battle. Once Aang began to learn the other elements, for tactical purposes he relied less on airbending, though it continued to remain his signature element. As a master, Aang's skill with airbending was exceptional; he was able to fight on-par with strong and powerful masters or against large numbers of opponents, despite not finishing his airbending training. He was shown creating tornadoes and currents of air strong enough to lift or deflect extremely heavy objects. Aang's skill with air was great, even perilous, though his pacifistic Air Nomad nature halted the use of air as a deadly weapon, unless he was enraged or in the Avatar State. Instead, Aang used airbending for pure defense, evasion, or other round-about methods of combat other than aggression. When not in battle, Aang used airbending in his everyday life, often for flying with his glider, or simply to augment his natural agility. While in the Avatar State, Aang's airbending power was magnified to the point he could erode solid rock away with a powerful gust of air.
Aang's airbending skills, especially his skill with the air scooter, greatly improved over time, evolving from being able to ride one to creating multiple air scooters simultaneously without any difficulty. At age forty, Aang was shown to have mastered the air scooter to a much greater degree. This version was superior in terms of size and duration when compared to the ones he showed as a child and was capable of being used as a high-speed method of transportation, as Aang quickly caught up with Yakone, despite the latter having had a good head-start. Aang was also capable of standing on the scooter, instead of sitting on it as he had done before.
Aside from his individual skill, Aang was also shown as a capable teacher, as he passed on the full extent of his airbending knowledge and techniques to his son Tenzin, who became a powerful master airbender in his own right.
Although Aang was originally better at waterbending than his fourteen-year-old friend Katara, his lack of focus allowed Katara to surpass him as she was later deemed a waterbending master after rapidly developing her skills while training under Master Pakku. Katara became Aang's teacher when they took their leave of the North Pole. In the early stages of his training, Aang showed prodigious skill in waterbending, being able to easily create a huge wave on his first try. Although he had great skill with waterbending, it was one of his least used elements in battle, instead favoring other readily-available elements such as earth or air. He did not carry a water skin, preferring to bend from large sources of water such as rivers, lakes, or oceans. His control over the element was monumental, capable of creating massive tidal waves, albeit with the help of the Moon Spirit, or bending entire streams of water. He was even able to extinguish a powerful, comet-enhanced blast of fire from Ozai and use the water to briefly put the Fire Lord on the defensive. While in the Avatar State, Aang could bend water from such remote distances a common waterbender could not reach, and he could raise the waters of an entire ocean, mimicking the moon pulling the tides, to cover an entire forest. He was also capable of compressing massive volumes of water into smaller streams, a normally incomprehensible skill, allowing an increase in force and pressure and making it easier to transport.
Because earthbending contrasted Aang's personality and his native element, air, he had great difficulty learning the bending art. Airbenders relied on indirect methods of combat, while earthbending required a head-on approach. When Aang was forced to protect Sokka from a saber-tooth moose lion, he stood his ground rather than avoiding conflict, showing an earthbender's attitude; he was able to earthbend soon thereafter. His earthbending improved greatly, allowing him to utilize air, water, and earthbending in combat together effectively. Earthbending even became Aang's second most used fighting style behind airbending, due to its general availability and defensive capabilities. Aang was capable of bending large boulders, sending massive columns of rock flying, or forming earthen armor around his body for protection. He also eventually learned to fight and bend blindfolded by detecting things through the use of seismic sense, a skill that he learned directly from Toph. Due to his pacifistic nature, Aang employed a more defensive style of earthbending, based on manipulating the earth to create walls, shelters and restraints to neutralize his opponents, rather than harm them. While in the Avatar State, Aang could manipulate massive columns of rock, compress boulders into pebbles, or send rocks flying at high speeds in rapid succession, while requiring no physical connection with the ground to earthbend. During the battle for Yu Dao, Aang managed to create a massive chasm around the entire city, effectively leaving it outside the reach of the Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom armies. When fighting against General Old Iron, Aang created a gigantic stone body of almost equal durability to that of the spirit's iron armor.
Despite the proficiency with which Aang used earthbending in his fight with Ozai, Toph stated that he could still improve.
While normally the Avatar must learn the four elements in the proper cycle, Aang was given the opportunity to learn firebending early from Master Jeong Jeong, instead of first mastering water and earth, in addition to his mastery of air. While training, Aang's impatience to learn the basics of firebending resulted in him harming Katara, an accident which caused him great shame. He swore from that point onward never to firebend again, out of fear of losing control. It was not until after the invasion plan failed that Aang sought to learn firebending again. After accepting Prince Zuko as his teacher and discovering the true meaning of firebending from the dragons Ran and Shaw, Aang no longer feared firebending and began his training in the bending art. He was shown to be quite skilled, yet initially reluctant to show the aggressive attitude required for firebending. Aang was capable of performing the ancient Dancing Dragon form, the breath of fire while simultaneously firing a stream from both hands, as well as highly powerful kicks and blasts able to incapacitate a Fire Nation airship, albeit with the help of Sozin's Comet. In preparation for his face off with Fire Lord Ozai, Zuko taught Aang lightning redirection, a highly advanced and unique technique of firebending that Zuko's paternal uncle Iroh invented by observing waterbenders. While in the Avatar State, Aang could create exceedingly strong and highly destructive streams of fire, as well as melt solid stone.
After being endowed with the knowledge from a lion turtle, Aang was able to use an ancient form of bending that precedes all other bending called energybending, which he used to strip Ozai of his natural firebending abilities, leaving the Fire Lord permanently drained and in a weakened state. Aang enters the Avatar State to use it. According to the lion turtle, before the Avatar existed, people did not bend the four elements, but the life force energy within themselves. However, in order to bend another person's life force energy, the energybender's own life energy must be unbendable, or they could become corrupted or even destroyed. It was confirmed that Aang was not the first Avatar to learn energybending; however, there were few who had learned this particular bending art and even fewer who had used it due to its dangers. Energybending allows the bender to both strip and restore a person's bending abilities and transfer knowledge from one person to another.
At age forty, Aang's energybending skills had progressed, as he was able to strip Yakone's bending abilities almost immediately with minimal effort, unlike when he stripped Ozai's bending. He also demonstrated the ability to restore a person's bending, as seen when his spirit appeared before Korra and restored her bending abilities that had been taken by Amon's bloodbending. At the same time, Aang's spirit imparted the knowledge of energybending and control of the Avatar State onto Korra.
As the Avatar, Aang was able to contact his past lives to seek advice and guidance. Being the immediate predecessor of Aang, Roku most often came to the young airbender's aid. For example, it was Roku who warned Aang about the impending return of Sozin's Comet and manifested through the young Air Nomad in order to defeat a group of firebenders awaiting the Avatar's appearance.
After receiving a letter from Guru Pathik, Aang journeyed to the Eastern Air Temple to learn to control the Avatar State. Guru Pathik revealed that the secret laid in the unlocking of seven chakras. Aang had little trouble with the first six, but struggled with the seventh – earthly attachments, mainly being Aang's attachment to Katara. Aang initially abandoned his training after receiving a vision of Katara in dire need of help, but later began to open the seventh and final chakra successfully and entered the Avatar State. However, moments after entering the Avatar State, the process was interrupted when he was struck with lightning from behind by Azula, killing him and the Avatar Spirit itself, though after their escape, Katara was able to use the special water from the Spirit Oasis to revive him.
Nonetheless, Aang's connection to his previous lives was severely damaged by this and, while in a coma, he undertook a journey to the Spirit World, where he met and reconnected with the four Avatars preceding him. While he succeeded in healing the Avatar Spirit, his physical injuries prevented him from accessing the Avatar State and connecting with his past lives. As his body healed, he managed to reconnect with them, though it was only when Ozai violently shoved him against a protruding rock, which unleashed the energy block in his back, that the connection was fully restored. Later, however, feeling that Roku's advice about the state of the world was no longer relevant, Aang deliberately severed his connection to his past self. This caused an unintentional severing of his connection to all his past lives before Roku, except in certain situations, such as special rituals. Later, Aang was able to restore his connection to Roku and all the past Avatars by recrafting the fire pendant on his meditation beads.
As the carrier of the Avatar Spirit, Aang also had the capacity to act as a medium, a bridge between the mortal world and the Spirit World. Even while still a young child, Aang demonstrated a natural affinity to the spiritual arts. Through meditation, Aang could separate from his body and travel to the Spirit World and, with the help of a spirit, his astral form could also visit the physical world's astral plane. Once in the Spirit World, Aang could travel freely and communicate with beings such as Koh the Face Stealer. This position as intermediary also allowed him to connect with other spirits while in the Avatar State; he combined with the Ocean Spirit to defeat the Fire Nation during the siege of the North Pole, and had also channeled his past lives, namely Roku and Kyoshi.
Using his chakra with the roots around him, Aang eventually became deeply connected to others individual and locate them. He used this ability to find Appa and Momo in the Foggy Swamp.
Aang was extremely agile and quick even without bending, proven while forced to hide his bending abilities when masquerading as a Fire Nation student. He was able to defend himself without needing to resort to bending by simply dodging and avoiding attacks. This technique was first shown in Aang's fight against the student Hide in the Fire Nation school. Aang effortlessly defeated him without ever striking him, instead simply dodging his blows and pushing him when he was off-balance. He repeated this feat at Yu Dao against a group of firebending soldiers, dodging and evading their fire blasts with a variety of acrobatic moves and without resorting to any of his bending arts and at the end only having his clothes slightly charred. This fighting style was overall similar to the martial art Baguazhang, which consists of an intricate set of foot and palm movements to dodge, walk circles around the enemy, and strike unexpectedly as well as defend from all angles; this art emphasized the pursuit of harmony in conflict situations, rather than destroying or defeating the opponent – all principles that Aang used often.
Aang could use his glider staff with great skill as well, using it as a method of transport and sometimes for attack, defense, or bending.
Aside from his combat skills, Aang displayed an impressive degree of artistic talent on a few occasions. He was an extremely talented and agile dancer, being able to perform somersaults in mid-air among other acrobatic feats and coordinate with Katara in a dance. His somersaults at that time did not seem to be aided by airbending, as he was in a public area surrounded by Fire Nation students and there was no sign of any air currents around him. Aang also displayed a degree of musical talent, as he was able to play an airbender's flute well enough for the Official Avatar Aang Fan Club to revel in his performance. He was also able to play the tsungi horn, although he was self-admittedly terrible at it.
- Main article: Aang's relationships
- Chronologically, Aang has the second longest lifespan of any known Avatar, dying 165 years after his birth; he is beaten by Kyoshi, who lived to the age of 230.
- Since Avatar Roku was the maternal great-grandfather of Zuko, Azula, and Kiyi, and was the previous Avatar, Aang, Zuko, Azula, and Kiyi were all spiritually related. Also, since Roku was Ursa's grandfather, Aang was also spiritually related to Ursa.
- Aang is written in Chinese, meaning "peaceful soaring".
- Aang's stature and bodily proportions were inspired conceptually by the forms and Gung Fu movements of a young boy named Arjuna. Photographed for reference by Bryan Konietzko at age six, Arjuna's contribution was one of the early collaborations between the Avatar team and Sifu Kisu, Arjuna being Kisu's son.
- Aang's premature departure from his Avatar State training to rescue Katara, and its results, are reminiscent of Luke Skywalker's impulsive actions while training with Yoda on Dagobah in the Star Wars film "The Empire Strikes Back".
- After Aang was shot in the back with Azula's lightning, he had two scars, one on his back where the lightning entered his body and the other on the sole of his left foot where the lightning left his body.
- Aang and Kuruk were the only known Avatars to remain true to their native upbringing, seeing as how every other identified Avatar defied their people's customs or political figures in some way. Yangchen was famous for doing whatever it took to preserve balance, Roku threatened the political leader of the Fire Nation, and Kyoshi defied the 46th Earth King's orders regarding the Peasant Uprising in Ba Sing Se, while Korra fell out with her father and the chief of the sister tribe.
- Many of Aang's closest friends were technically nobility: Katara and Sokka were the children of Hakoda, Chief of the Southern Water Tribe; Toph was a member of the Beifong family, a revered Earth Kingdom noble family; Bumi was King of Omashu; and Zuko was a Prince of the Fire Nation turned Fire Lord at the end of the Hundred Year War.
- Aang choosing four toys out of thousands – to identify him as the Avatar as these four toys were the same ones that past Avatars had chosen for generations when they were children – was the same procedure used by the Tibetan Buddhist monks to recognize the next reincarnation of the Tulku Lama. According to the book Magic and Mystery in Tibet by Alexandra David-Néel, "a number of objects such as rosaries, ritualistic implements, books, tea-cups, etc., are placed together, and the child must pick out those which belonged to the late Tulku, thus showing that he recognizes the things which were in his previous life.
- The names of the first episode, "The Boy in the Iceberg", and the last episode, "Sozin's Comet, Part 4: Avatar Aang", show Aang's growth and maturity throughout the series, how he went from being a goofy, naive kid in the beginning to becoming a fully realized Avatar by the end.
- Aang was left-handed in one of his past lives, as mentioned by Katara.
- Aang passed away before Jinora was born, and thus never met any of his grandchildren.
- Aang was one of the only four characters shown as a newborn on either Avatar: The Last Airbender or The Legend of Korra. The others are Yue in a flashback, Hope, and Rohan.
- Aang was portrayed by Noah Ringer in The Last Airbender.
- Considering that Aang did not officially begin his Avatar training until he was released from the iceberg, he became a fully realized Avatar more quickly than any other known Avatar, doing so in only twelve months.
- Aang was seen wearing a necklace, similar to the one that was on Gyatso's skeleton, at Zuko's coronation.
- Aang encased in a submerged iceberg is reminiscent of Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic theory on the Id, Ego, and the Superego as a whole, which was contextualized as an iceberg. The small part of the iceberg is the ego, the conscious self, and was represented by the large block of ice destroyed by Katara's waterbending at the beginning of the episode. The Id, the unconscious self, is the submerged portion of the iceberg and thus is represented by the sphere of ice Aang encased himself in while in the Avatar State. An interesting revelation is that roughly 90% of an iceberg is submerged, and the Id therefore exerts much more influence than the Ego on one's mind; the Id is represented by the Avatar State.
- When the creators first pitched the series, Aang was a ten-year-old boy; however, after a suggestion from Eric Coleman, they "aged him up".
- Aang and Piandao are the only two confirmed characters in the original series to have had both their parents as benders.
- Aang has met the original source of every bending art: a flying bison for air, the Moon Spirit for water, badgermoles for earth, and Ran and Shaw, two dragons, for fire.
- Including Tui's death in "The Siege of the North, Part 2" and his own fatal injury sustained in "The Crossroads of Destiny", from which they both were resurrected shortly thereafter, Aang was the fifth of eight characters to have been observed dying or being murdered in the original series. In chronological order, the others were Tui, Yue, Chin, Jet, Roku, Fang, and Combustion Man.
- Aang was originally voiced by voice actor Rob Paulsen in The Legend of Korra, before being revoiced post-production by D. B. Sweeney.
- Aang is shown as the airbender in the opening sequence of The Legend of Korra.
- Aang was the first known Avatar to be bloodbent.
- He was also the second known person to break free of a bloodbender's hold by their own doing, although he was only able to do so by entering the Avatar State.
- Aang was shown energybending at the end of the original series and in the last episode of the first book of The Legend of Korra.
- Although in the original series Aang took Ozai's bending away, in The Legend of Korra, he restored Korra's bending.
- Aang was the first person known to be capable of restoring another's bending.
- As an adult, Aang's beard resembled that of co-creator Michael Dante DiMartino.
- Aang was the first known Avatar to have an interracial marriage.
- Aang appeared in every episode in the original series except for "Zuko Alone".
- Avatar Extras for "The Great Divide" stated that the egg custard tart was Aang's favorite food, which was evident when he discovered it in the Great Divide.
- Aang is the only known Air Nomad to be considered an honorary member of the Southern Water Tribe.
- Aang is the first known Air Nomad to have a waterbending child, through his daughter Kya.
- An image of Aang is printed on the obverse side of the yuan bill.
- A vendor in the Earth Kingdom renamed his seaweed wraps "Aang rolls" after noticing how much the Avatar liked them.
- Michael Dante DiMartino stated that Aang was the hardest character to find a voice actor for across both series.
- Aang is the only known non-metalbending earthbender in the Avatar franchise with the ability to use seismic sense.
- Aang is the first known Avatar to have his photograph taken.
- Aang is a playable character in Nickelodeon's video game titled Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2: Grand Prix.
- In July 2020, the game SMITE launched a battle pass that featured two skins with which the player could alter the appearance of Merlin, a wizard who uses different elements in battle, to look like Aang did in Book One or like he did during his final battle against Ozai, complete with access to the Avatar State.
- Aang made a cameo in Nicktoons: Attack of the Toybots as a Master Model, meaning that he was captured.
12 BG – 153 AG