Air Temple Island is a small isle located off the coast of Republic City in Yue Bay. The island is formally independent of the nearby United Republic, and is under the sole jurisdiction of the new Air Nation. Comprised of several structures, the temple was built by Avatar Aang himself and is home to Tenzin, his wife Pema, and their four children Jinora, Ikki, Meelo, and Rohan, as well as the Air Acolytes. Also residing on the island are colonies of flying bison and ring-tailed winged lemurs.
- 1 History
- 2 Description
- 3 Locations
- 4 Notable figures
- 5 Trivia
- 6 References
The island was initially uninhabited and dominated by wilderness. Aang and Katara visited it in 102 AG with Appa, seeking a place to quietly discuss the development of the nearby-located, overcrowded Cranefish Town.
At some point prior to the mid-130s AG, Aang made the island his family's permanent home and constructed a new air temple there. As a teenager, Tenzin saw petty vandals defacing the airbending gates on the island, and followed them to the city, where all three were arrested after fighting. Aang took the opportunity to bring them all back to the island, and teach them the Air Nomad way of conflict resolution, before they all worked to clean the gates. Several years before Avatar Korra came to Republic City, Lin Beifong went on an emotional rampage on Air Temple Island following her break up with Tenzin, causing significant damage.
In 170 AG, when Korra was in need of an airbending master, she moved to Air Temple Island to be taught the ancient art by Tenzin. For the Avatar's airbending training, Tenzin used the temple's airbending gates to teach her how to move like a true airbender and be able to switch direction at a moment's notice. This proved to be a real challenge for Korra, and she ended up destroying the two-thousand-year-old gates with firebending in frustration, though they were later repaired by the Air Acolytes.
Tarrlok, who was attempting to persuade Korra to join his task force, made a visit to the island, rudely interrupting the dinner of Tenzin's family and Korra. He left the island after being turned down by the Avatar herself but continued to try and change her mind by sending the council page to deliver extravagant gifts to the island.
During the siege of Republic City, the island was one of the primary targets of the Equalists, who sought to capture Tenzin and his family, the world's last airbenders. Despite the efforts of Lin, Tenzin, Korra, their friends, and the White Lotus sentries, the island eventually fell to the Equalists. After the original inhabitants had evacuated, Amon used the island as his base of operations, with benders captured by Amon's forces brought there to have their bending removed. The attic of the temple also served as a prison cell for Tarrlok after his capture. Following the defeat of Amon, the Equalists were driven off the island and the Air Nation reclaimed the island as their own.
Six months later, Bumi, freshly retired from the United Forces, took residence at Air Temple Island. During an air scooter race between Korra and Tenzin's children around the island, Korra entered the Avatar State near the end to gain an advantage and pass Ikki for the lead, with Bumi declaring her the winner. Ikki labeled Korra's action as cheating, and Tenzin also condemned her use of the Avatar State in such a way. Tenzin maintained that Korra still had to master real airbending and explained that they would visit the four air temples, much to his children's joy and Korra's chagrin. Korra invited them to the Glacier Spirits Festival in her hometown before they left for the air temples. Pema and her children, sans Jinora, later returned to Air Temple Island, from where they observed the battle between Korra and the Dark Avatar.
After Harmonic Convergence, Kya and Bolin took residence at the island, the latter following an invitation of Tenzin after his and Mako's apartment became overrun with spirit vines, though Mako declined the offer. While Bumi chased Bum-Ju around the island, he fell off one of the island's cliffs and manifested airbending abilities to save his life. This revelation prompted him, Tenzin, Jinora, and Team Avatar to travel around the Earth Kingdom in search of other newly emerged airbenders, while Kya remained behind with Pema. Asami subsequently had a brand new Future Industries airship meet the group at the island to provide them with transport on their journey.
The island was soon used as a gathering point for airbenders in Republic City, where they could learn Air Nomad culture and train in the art. One day, an airbender who called himself "Yorru" arrived at the island, having heard it was the place for them to go. That evening, Kya alerted all the airbenders that they would be traveling to the Northern Air Temple to meet Tenzin and continue their training.
After nightfall, Yorru sneaked around Tenzin's study, finding a locket containing a poem by Guru Laghima, but was caught by Ikki and Kya, the latter of whom soon recognized that Yorru was actually the criminal Zaheer. The two engaged in a short duel, during which the criminal stole the airbender staff in the study. Zaheer was able to defeat Kya and two White Lotus sentries before fleeing the island via the stolen staff.
Two weeks later, Jinora's anointment ceremony as an airbending master was held at Air Temple Island, an event attended by her family, Team Avatar, Korra's parents, President Raiko, Lord Zuko, Lin and Suyin Beifong, Mako and Bolin's extended Earth Kingdom family, the Air Acolytes, and many of the airbender recruits.
While Korra, her parents, and Kya returned to the Southern Water Tribe, Air Temple Island continued to house members of the Air Nation over the next three years and acted as a hub as they traveled the world.
In 174 AG, Korra returned to Air Temple Island and once again took residence there. After Bolin and Zhu Li had alerted President Raiko of Kuvira's coming invasion, Air Temple Island served as his temporary base of operations. After the battle's conclusion, the island was the location of Varrick and Zhu Li's wedding. For the wedding ceremony, several chairs and a makeshift altar were placed in the area in front of the tower. The dinner party was held near the airbending training area, where several tables were placed, as well as a dance floor.
After Korra and Asami returned from their vacation in the Spirit World, Korra and Asami enjoyed a quiet moment at the island's gazebo, where they were approached by Kya, who advised them to only share their relationship when they felt ready. Mako and Bolin met up with the two women, but before they could update the brothers about their new romance, Jinora's spiritual projection warned Team Avatar that the Triple Threat Triad was attacking the spirit portal. One night at the temple during dinner, Tenzin and his family discussed Raiko's decision to deploy the United Forces to occupy the land surrounding the portal.
Prior to the erection of the air temple on it, Air Temple Island was uninhabited. During Aang's elder years, it was greatly revamped into an important location for Tenzin's family and later for Air Acolytes. It houses many structures, including the large main temple building, dormitories, a library, a dining hall, a greenhouse, several flying bison caves, and 10,522 trees. An open practice area with airbending gates can be found outside along with a meditation pavilion. Upon Avatar Korra's arrival, a part of the temple was renovated to accommodate the White Lotus sentries, who serve as her bodyguards. It is accessible through ferry.
The dining hall is a large room used for dining by the Air Acolytes and the rest of the island's residents. It overlooks Republic City and the Pro-bending Arena.
The room is simplistic, with primarily geometric shapes lining the interior and the many windows on either side of the hall. Only vegetables grown on the island are consumed by its residents, making it an all-vegetarian island. This follows the ways of the Air Nomads, who were all vegetarian.
Airbending training area
The airbending training area is located on the upper portion of the island surrounded by a dense bamboo garden. It features a meditation pavilion, an open area to practice airbending forms, a field of bamboo poles used to develop balance by honing an individual's heaven-to-earth connection, and rotating gates, which form an ancient training tool dating back two thousand years. The mechanism is assembled on top of a raised circular platform and used primarily to teach airbending pupils of the bending art's fundamental principles. The gates are initiated by a gust of air, and pupils maneuver their way through the gates by employing circular movements.
The meditation pavilion is an area of spiritual reflection and the site of daily meditation for many of the temple's residents.
As meditation is crucial in airbending training, Tenzin's children, along with Korra, spend a considerable amount of time meditating in the pavilion. The act promotes discipline and patience while urging pupils to let their minds and spirits be free.
The pavilion is intricately patterned with an array of blue and gold swirls. The colors and the general aesthetic feel of the structure are reminiscent of the Southern Air Temple architecture.
Reflecting how the four ancient air temples were exclusive to a specific gender, Air Temple Island has separate quarters for men and women.
The women's dormitory houses all of the female inhabitants of the temple. The hallways sport wooden floors, and the rooms are all small, containing only basic furnishing and one window. The rooms are separated from the hallway by sliding doors. The dormitory held both Korra's and Asami's quarters during their stay on the island.
White Lotus sentries' quarters
The sentries' quarters are residence for the Order of the White Lotus sentries stationed at Air Temple Island for Avatar Korra's protection. The building stands separate from the main temples, but offers a magnificent view of Republic City and the Pro-bending Arena nonetheless. The sentries often remain at their quarters and listen to pro-bending matches over the radio.
Sky bison caves
The flying bison live in a series of caves located on the island.
All the vegetables consumed on Air Temple Island are grown in its greenhouse, making the temple self-sufficient.
Located at the center of the island is a large temple built by Avatar Aang, with its most noticeable feature being its large, pagoda-like tower. Located at the top of the tower is an attic, with a cell that was once used to contain Tarrlok when the Equalists had control of the island. The temple also contains a basement, where White Lotus sentries kept Equalist invaders prisoner during the battle for Republic City.
When Korra was hiding her true feelings about joining Councilman Tarrlok's task force, she spent some time practicing her airbending stances on a small plaza overlooking the bay. The plaza had a few tiers of stairs that Tenzin and Korra sat and conversed on top of.
Tenzin has a personal study room where he keeps numerous books, including ancient Air Nomad books, journals, and scrolls. There is also a small shrine, with a statue and a locket. According to Ikki, only Tenzin enters his room. In 171 AG, Zaheer snuck in to the study and stole a locket containing a poem by Laghima and an airbender staff.
- Air Temple Island was described as a "sanctuary" by Michael Dante DiMartino.
- According to Ikki, there are exactly 10,552 trees on the island.
- Like the other air temples, Air Temple Island is an all-vegetarian location.
- It has also similarly been attacked by an enemy, though in this instance the Equalists were responsible, not the Fire Nation.
- Air Temple Island resembles Alcatraz in San Francisco, given both its geography and architecture, and its location relative to Republic City and other landmarks in Yue Bay.
- On the same note, the Equalist attack and occupation of Air Temple Island bears superficial resemblance to the occupation of Alcatraz by members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) from 1969–1971, given that both the Equalists and the AIM represented countercultural movements and occupied island enclaves.