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Earth Kingdom emblem

The Beifong family, also called the "House of the Flying Boar",[1] is a powerful and very influential Earth Kingdom noble family seated in Zaofu and Republic City. Originally based in the town of Gaoling, the Beifongs were renowned for their wealth and good connections with other noble families like the Pang and Yum Soon Han families.[2][3][nb 1] The family, whose symbol is a flying boar,[2] continues to be well respected and hold significant credibility in the Earth Kingdom.[4]

Important and influential members of the family include the powerful politician Lu Beifong;[1] the co-founder of the Earthen Fire Refinery, Lao Beifong;[5] his only child, Toph, a renowned earthbending master and the inventor of metalbending; her two daughters, Lin and Suyin, the Chief of Police in Republic City and matriarch of the city of Zaofu, respectively;[6] and Baatar Jr., second-in-command of the military of the Earth Empire.[7]

History

The Beifong family traditionally lived in Gaoling, a town located within a mountain range in the southern Earth Kingdom,[2] and was known for its immense influence and wealth. As a financial powerhouse, nearly the entire Earth Kingdom was known to bank with the Beifong family.[1]

By the late 4th century BG, the family's head was Lu Beifong, a cunning politician and earthbending master. Lu took as his disciple Jianzhu, a young man from humble origins who, under the guidance of Lu and his wife, Lady Wumei, would later become the earthbending teacher of Avatar Kuruk and one of the most powerful people in the world.[1]

Following the death of Kuruk in 312 BG, Lu took a leading role in the search for the next Avatar. Despite his efforts, the usual Earth Kingdom method to identify Kuruk's successor failed.[8] At some point, Lady Wumei died, negatively impacting Lu and contributing to the deterioration of his relationship with Jianzhu. Over time, Lu shifted closer to some of Jianzhu's rivals, siding with Chamberlain Hui during a political dispute in 296 BG and ultimately refusing his former disciple's request to lend money to aid in the long-term development of the Southern Water Tribe.[1] However, despite these growing differences, Lu did not participate in Hui's subsequent plot to bring down Jianzhu.[9]

By the end of the Hundred Year War, the family consisted of only three: Lao Beifong, his wife, Poppy, and their blind daughter, Toph. Lao and Poppy believed that Toph's blindness made her fragile, docile, and incapable of looking after herself, and thus sheltered her from others. As a result of these protective measures, no one outside of the family, besides Master Yu, knew she even existed. Toph, resenting her parents' treatment, grew up to become tough, confrontational, and rebellious.[2]

Beifong estate

The Beifong family lived in a mansion in Gaoling.

At the age of six, Toph ran away from home into a cave inhabited by badgermoles. These creatures were the first earthbenders and, according to Toph, she understood them and they understood her because they were both blind. She learned earthbending by imitating their movements and learned to "see" by using earthbending to detect minute vibrations through the ground with her bare feet.[10] Although her father, Lao Beifong, later hired earthbending master Yu to instruct her, he did not teach her anything other than "basic forms and breathing exercises", unaware that she had already become very powerful. She became such a powerful bender that she secretly entered underground earthbending tournaments as "The Blind Bandit" and was the champion of Earth Rumble VI.

After she was defeated by Aang in the final stage of the tournament, he and his friends went to her house to request Toph be the Avatar's earthbending teacher. She refused at first in order to keep her parents ignorant of her earthbending prowess, but that night Aang and Toph were kidnapped and held for ransom by Xin Fu and the other competitors from Earth Rumble VI. This resulted in Toph using her earthbending in front of her father in order to defeat the kidnappers and save Aang. Toph asked about teaching Aang earthbending, but her parents did not give their consent, opting instead to put their daughter under an even more stringent, twenty-four hour watch.[2]

That night, Toph escaped with Aang, Katara, and Sokka, lying to them, saying that her parents had changed their minds. Lao and Poppy Beifong, thinking that the Avatar had kidnapped their daughter, hired Xin Fu and Master Yu to get their daughter back,[2] an endeavor in which they did not succeed.[11] Toph eventually contacted her family again on her own through means of a letter which she wrote with Katara's help and sent to them using Sokka's messenger hawk, Hawky.[12]

After Xin Fu and Yu gave up their search, Poppy greatly chastised Lao for the loss of their daughter, leading him to cast himself out. After the war, Lao partnered with a Fire Nation businessman, Loban, to set up a factory on Earth Kingdom land rich in natural resources.[13] This factory, the Earthen Fire Refinery, became the world's first international business venture and also employed both benders and nonbenders.[5]

In addition, Toph created a metalbending academy using her family name.[14] This institution became popular due to the students' intervention at the battle for Yu Dao and it was soon in need of expansion.[5]

In 120 AG, Toph gave birth to a child, Lin, who became a metalbender like her mother. Lin kept her mother's last name and was identified as Chief Beifong during her time as head of the police force of Republic City. Six years later, Toph had another daughter, Suyin, who also trained as a metalbender but was more rebellious than Lin, her half-sister. Following a bitter incident between her daughters, Toph sent Suyin to live with her grandparents.[15] At the age of sixteen, Suyin left to travel the world, eventually deciding to settle down and start a family. She purchased a plot of Earth Kingdom land and founded the metal city of Zaofu, hiring an architect, Baatar, who later became her husband. Together, they had five children: Baatar Jr., Huan, Opal, Wei, and Wing. Toph would visit Zaofu from time to time before later traveling the world in search of enlightenment, eventually settling down in the Foggy Swamp.[6][16]

As a result of the Red Lotus causing anarchy in the Earth Kingdom, Baatar Jr. joined Zaofu's former guard captain, Kuvira, to reunite the kingdom by force, resulting in an estrangement from his mother, who believed it was a power grab. In the intervening three years, Baatar Jr. and Kuvira got engaged.[7][17]

Influence

Toph's family document

Toph used the Beifong family document in order to secure four tickets for the Earth Kingdom ferry.

The Beifong family is influential and greatly respected in the Earth Kingdom, as indicated by Toph's ability to use the family seal to gain passage for herself and her friends on the ferry at Full Moon Bay.[18] The family's influence, however, did not appear to extend to the Upper Ring of Ba Sing Se, as the documents did not grant Toph and Katara access to Bosco's party.[3]

After the Hundred Year War, the Beifong family, primarily due to Toph, and eventually her descendants' accomplishments, was respected for its contribution to the innovation of their nation's bending art, such as seismic sense and more importantly, the invention of metalbending. Lin followed the footsteps of her mother in the police force, while Suyin led the construction of an entire city out of metal.

In response to the anarchy in the Earth Kingdom caused by the Red Lotus, President Raiko and Tenzin attempted to use the respect and credibility of the Beifong family name to convince Suyin to restore order in the kingdom, though she declined.[4] After the Earth Empire's defeat, Avatar Korra and King Wu convinced Toph to run against the Earth Empire loyalist candidate, Guan, in her home state of Gaoling, though as a democratic governor rather than a noble lord.[19][20]

Family tree

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Lu
   
   
Wumei
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Descendants
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Lao
   
   
Poppy
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Kanto
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Toph
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Lin
   
   
Suyin
   
   
Baatar
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Baatar Jr.
   
   
Huan
   
   
Opal
   
   
Wei
   
   
Wing

Trivia

  • In Mandarin Chinese, the pinyin or phonetic pronunciation for "Beifong" (北方) is "bĕifāng". However, in Cantonese, the "a" is pronounced like an "o".
  • The Beifong residence resembles a siheyuan (四合院), a Chinese walled residence compound.
  • It is said that Hawky found a new home with the Beifongs at their estate.[21]

Notes

  1. Considering the circumstances in which she mentioned them, Toph may have fabricated these families' existences solely to intimidate the Royal Earthbender Guards who tried to keep her and Katara from entering the Earth Kingdom Royal Palace.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Seventeen, "Obligations". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Spaulding, Ethan (director). (May 5, 2006). "The Blind Bandit". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 6. Nickelodeon.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Hedrick, Tim (writer) & MacMullan, Lauren (director). (September 22, 2006). "City of Walls and Secrets". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 14. Nickelodeon.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Hamilton, Joshua (writer) & Graham, Ian (director). (October 31, 2014). "Enemy at the Gates". The Legend of Korra. Season 2. Episode 18. Nick.com.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Yang, Gene Luen (writer), Sasaki of Gurihiru (penciling, inking), Kawano of Gurihiru (colorist), Heisler, Michael; Comicraft (letterer). The Rift Part One (March 5, 2014), Dark Horse Comics.
  6. 6.0 6.1 DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Heck, Colin (director). (July 11, 2014). "The Metal Clan". The Legend of Korra. Season 2. Episode 5. Nickelodeon.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Hamilton, Joshua (writer) & Heck, Colin (director). (October 3, 2014). "After All These Years". The Legend of Korra. Season 2. Episode 14. Nick.com.
  8. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter One, "The Test". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  9. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Twenty-Nine, "The Ambush". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  10. O'Bryan, John (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (July 15, 2008). "The Firebending Masters". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 13. Nickelodeon.
  11. DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (December 1, 2006). "The Guru". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 19. Nickelodeon.
  12. Hamilton, Joshua (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (November 2, 2007). "The Runaway". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 7. Nickelodeon.
  13. DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Yang, Gene Luen (writer), Sasaki of Gurihiru (penciling, inking), Kawano of Gurihiru (colorist), Heisler, Michael; Comicraft (letterer). The Rift Part Three (November 5, 2014), Dark Horse Comics.
  14. DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Yang, Gene Luen (writer), Sasaki of Gurihiru (penciling, inking), Kawano of Gurihiru (colorist), Heisler, Michael; Comicraft (letterer). The Promise Part One (January 25, 2012), Dark Horse Comics.
  15. Mattila, Katie (writer) & Graham, Ian (director). (July 18, 2014). "Old Wounds". The Legend of Korra. Season 2. Episode 6. Nickelodeon.
  16. DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Graham, Ian (director). (October 10, 2014). "Korra Alone". The Legend of Korra. Season 2. Episode 15. Nick.com.
  17. Hedrick, Tim (writer) & Zwyer, Melchior (director). (October 17, 2014). "The Coronation". The Legend of Korra. Season 2. Episode 16. Nick.com.
  18. DiMartino, Michael Dante, Hamilton, Joshua (writers) & Spaulding, Ethan (director). (September 15, 2006). "The Serpent's Pass". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 12. Nickelodeon.
  19. DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer), Wong, Michelle (artist), Ng, Vivian (colorist). Ruins of the Empire Part One (May 21, 2019), Dark Horse Comics.
  20. DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer), Wong, Michelle (artist), Ng, Killian (colorist). Ruins of the Empire Part Two (November 12, 2019), Dark Horse Comics.
  21. From older Avatar: The Last Airbender official site, originally on Nick.com (link). No longer updated, encyclopedia now broken though archived here.

Start a Discussion Discussions about Beifong family

  • Just who is Kanto

    8 messages
    • I,for one, like this theory. I mean whose to say it wasn't The Duke. Also Toph may be ambitious, but she's not stupid she wouldn...
    • Based on the reveal?  It seems pretty clear that Kanto was an ex-boyfriend, not a one-night stand.  Toph fairly clearly held him in high reg...
  • Beefing Wealth Inheritance

    2 messages
    • I know 'm way late on this discussion, but, I have to ask if Toph ever inherited the wealth from her parents after their passing?
    • First, you might want to fix that opening line. Second, there's still the interquel comics determining if the Beifongs even stayed...
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