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Chong was an easygoing nomad who traveled around the world accompanied by his wife, Lily, and several other nomad companions, playing songs and recounting stories. He appeared to be quite ignorant and blissful, leading a carefree lifestyle. He helped Aang and his friends on their travels to reach Omashu by informing them of the existence of the Cave of Two Lovers.[1]

Later, Chong, Lily, and Moku formed a successful band called Trustfully in Love and performed in cities around the world to hundreds of fans. Chong was glad to have enough money to sleep comfortably but also wished to return to performing out of passion for music rather than for fame and money. Subsequently, Chong dissolved Trustfully in Love in order to play music for the sake of love again, although he did choose to use the money they had earned to buy a luxury wagon to tour the world with.[2]

History

Early life

In his youth, Chong had a music teacher who constantly derided his abilities, leaving him very hurt.[2] At some point, Chong married Lily and teamed up with Moku, traveling the world and trying to make a difference by singing about kindness, peace, and understanding.[1][2][3]

The Cave of Two Lovers

Chong and the nomads led Team Avatar into the Cave of Two Lovers.

During the spring of 100 AG, Chong and his companions encountered Team Avatar on their journey to Omashu near a lake and offered to lead them through a shortcut known as the Cave of Two Lovers. The band of nomads did not seem particularly bright and acted unusually easy-going, which became a source of frustration for the team, particularly Sokka. Although Aang at first rejected Chong's offer to lead them through the cave, noting that Appa hated going underground, the group consented after being attacked by Fire Nation soldiers during an unsuccessful attempt to fly over the mountains.

Chong explained the key to getting through the complex labyrinth of tunnels was to trust fully in love. When traveling through the Cave of Two Lovers, however, Fire Nation soldiers blocked the exit and sealed the group inside. To make matters worse, Sokka attempted to ward off a wolfbat by waving a lit torch around and accidentally dropped it near Appa. The bison began running around in fear, causing the ceiling to cave and creating a barrier, separating the group. While Aang, Katara, and Appa journeyed through the maze alone, Sokka was forced to travel with Chong, much to his horror. Chong shared with the group that he had an idea; because love was the key to making it through the cave, they should play a love song. They continued to do so until they were later saved by badgermoles, who were hostile at first, but quickly warmed up after hearing the nomads' music and escorted the group out of the cave. After exiting, Chong shared parting words with Sokka, imploring him not to let the destination get in the way of the journey. Chong and the other nomads then continued on their nomadic journeys while Aang and his friends traveled to Omashu.[1]

Success of Trustfully in Love

When people began to pay them, Chong, Lily, and Moku gradually became professional musicians.

As Chong, Lily, and Moku continued their travels, a growing number of people found their music so enjoyable that they provided them with small gifts, such as food, money or a temporary place to sleep. Finding their new conformts very nice, the three nomads began to perform more regularily and in an increasingly professional way. Eventually, they formed a successful band known as Trustfully in Love, growing relatively wealthy and amassing many passionate fans. However, Chong also grew conflicted over this development, feeling that he was losing his connection to the music as a result of Trustfully in Love's professionalism and economic orientation.[2]

They toured in cities such as Yu Dao, where Suki bought front row tickets to their concert, bringing along a reluctant Sokka and Toph. The band played for more than three hours in front of hundreds of people, and Chong was pleased to have touched so many hearts. However, afterward, he saw a young man playing music in the street and wished to go back to performing for his love of music instead of the money.

The following night, Chong was chased by a group of wild fans and hid in the streets of the city. He was approached by Toph and asked her why she appeared to be sad. Toph told Chong that although she was once respected as the Blind Bandit, she was now shut out of underground bending fights because the crowds thought that she was with the authorities. She went on to say that she had lost any sense of challenge at the academy, and that she had now become a part of the bender establishment. Chong agreed with Toph, and told her that he also had doubts about performing music for money over love. Toph asked why he did not simply choose to give up performing for money, and Chong replied that they got to sleep indoors on a comfy bed every night instead of on the floor outside. Toph agreed with him, with the nomad responding that wisdom could sometimes come from unexpected places.

Toph helped Chong get down from the roof in order to help the benders escape from the collapsing building.

Toph helped Chong navigate the streets to escape from his fans. Although they found an empty area, Toph felt strange tremors in the ground, and brought Chong to the abandoned warehouse where an underground bending tournament was being fought. Instead of going in, where they could attract attention to themselves, Toph launched the pair onto the roof, where Chong observed the crowd through a hole in the roof. He told Chong that Sun was there, as well as her students Ho Tun, Penga, and The Dark One. They began to spectate Sun's match, and Chong expressed his displeasure for youths fighting instead of loving one another. Toph partially agreed, noting that she had built her academy as a place where students would be safe to learn. However, once Sun's lavabending damaged the metal beams holding up the building, Toph escorted Chong down to the ground, telling him to wait for her, as she needed to help her students.

The following afternoon, Chong, Lily, and Moku got ready to depart the city. After Suki asked where Trustfully in Love was headed, Chong declared that the band was no more and that they would tour the world due to their love of music again, instead of money. However, he had purchased a luxury wagon so that the group would still be able to travel in style and sleep comfortably. He waved goodbye to Toph, Suki, and Sokka, hoping that he would cross paths with them again.[2]

Personality

Chong often played his dramyin.

Chong was generally a laid-back and optimistic person who enjoyed taking life as it came and would often improvise by singing songs on the spot. He was sometimes oblivious to what was happening around him. In general, though, he wished simply to help others see the world in a different and more fulfilling way, even if they resisted. Chong in particular was mellow to the point where he sometimes could not remember the lyrics of his own songs. He could be viewed as a slacker when it came to doing important things such as navigating the Cave of Two Lovers and was a constant source of irritation to Sokka, something he remained unaware of. Chong did not use maps and rarely had an actual destination;[3] he just "[went] wherever the wind [took him]". In fact, he noted Sokka had "destination fever", being that Sokka was only concerned with arriving at Omashu.[1] Chong's instrument of choice was the dramyin.[nb 1]

Relatives

Appearances

Avatar: The Last Airbender

Book Two: Earth (土)

Graphic novels

Trivia

  • Chong's name relates to the Chinese-Canadian actor and musician, Tommy Chong, who famously starred in the marijuana-themed Cheech and Chong comedy movies.
  • Chong and his companions appeared to be the Avatar World's version of hippies.
  • He appeared in the non-canon book Love Potion #8, the third of the Ready-to-Read series.
  • Chong and his gang of nomads were briefly mentioned as a source of knowledge for the play The Boy in the Iceberg.[4]
  • Chong's right sleeve was tied and hung downward, acting as a bag.
  • He was voiced by Phil LaMarr when he performed a Dark Horse live reading of Toph Beifong's Metalbending Academy.[5]

Notes

  1. Chong's instrument of choice was referred to as a pipa by the older Avatar: The Last Airbender official site, originally on Nick.com.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Hamilton, Joshua (writer) & MacMullan, Lauren (director). (March 24, 2006). "The Cave of Two Lovers". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 2. Nickelodeon.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Hicks, Faith Erin (writer), Wartman, Peter (artist), Matera, Adele (colorist). Toph Beifong's Metalbending Academy (February 16, 2021), Dark Horse Comics.
  3. 3.0 3.1 From older Avatar: The Last Airbender official site, originally on Nick.com. Encyclopedia now broken, archived at The Lost Lore of Avatar Aang - Character: Chong.
  4. Hedrick, Tim, Hamilton, Josh, O'Bryan, John (writers) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (July 18, 2008). "The Ember Island Players". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 17. Nickelodeon.
  5. Dark Horse Comics (May 19, 2021). Toph Beifong's Metabending Academy Live Reading. Twitch.com. Retrieved on May 19, 2021.
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