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"At the core of human nature is the will to dominate [...] there can be no balance between the Spirit World and the human one."
— General Old Iron expressing his beliefs to Avatar Aang.[1]

General Old Iron is a giant humanoid spirit who protected Lady Tienhai during the era of Raava. After his friend passed away centuries later, he went on a rampage against the people that caused Tienhai's death, though he later relented after striking a deal with Avatar Yangchen.[2] In 102 AG, General Old Iron rose again and threatened to destroy Cranefish Town when the land had been defiled by humans and his old armor had been stolen. After being vanquished by Avatar Aang, he permanently left the shore surrounding the Earth Kingdom city, frustrated with the idea that humans only sought to dominate.[1]


When the spirits still roamed the earth freely, General Old Iron resided on the shore of the Mo Ce Sea. He protected his friend, Lady Tienhai, while she tended to their surroundings, which would become Earth Kingdom territory. When a tribe of humans made their home on the cliff near the shore without asking permission, General Old Iron intended on eradicating them before they could grow prosperous, as he had heard of humans wiping out the spirits in other places around the world. Before he could execute his plan, he was stopped by Lady Tienhai, who forsook their friendship to save the humans. As a result, General Old Iron left the area for a long time. Over thousands of years, the humans' village developed into Tienhaishi, a major city.

Yangchen fighting General Old Iron

Enraged by Lady Tienhai's death, General Old Iron vowed to exact revenge on the people responsible.

Eventually, General Old Iron felt Lady Tienhai exhale her last breath. He assumed that she was killed by the humans, unaware that Lady Tienhai had fallen in love with the prince of Tienhaishi and thus gave up her immortality to be with him, resulting in her dying of natural causes and taking on a new form. Devastated, he returned to that place, intent on wiping out the entire populace. General Old Iron met Avatar Yangchen, but he easily swatted her aside when she addressed him and made his way toward the city. However, the Avatar returned and they fought through the night, destroying the city in the progress.

By the break of dawn, General Old Iron communicated his story with Yangchen, letting her know who he was and why he was so vengeful toward the people living there. When the local king corroborated his story, he started to attack the people directly, though was persuaded to cease his assault and come to an arrangement with Yangchen, the upkeep of which she vowed to ensure. General Old Iron vowed to never take up his armor again so long as the land remained free of human civilization. In return, Yangchen constructed a memorial in Tienhai's image and lead her people on yearly pilgrimages to the site to pay respect to the guardian spirit, the land being declared sacred so no one would think to develop the area, to prove that humans could protect and preserve nature. However, the Air Nomads were eventually wiped out and their formerly protected land became the site of a new settlement, later to be known as Cranefish Town.[1][2]

General Old Iron disappears

Believing that there was no place for spirits in a human-dominated world, General Old Iron bid his respect to Aang before leaving for good.

In 102 AG, after Loban and the Rough Rhinos began to pull General Old Iron's armor from the ground, the furious spirit emerged from the sea and took it back, dragging Loban, Satoru, and Sokka with him as he stormed into Cranefish Town. Seeing the deal he had made with Yangchen being broken, he began to attack, threatening to wipe humans from existence. He was quickly challenged by Aang, who had constructed an earthen shield to match General Old Iron's form and activated the Avatar State to enhance his power. The general matched with the Avatar blow-for-blow, but his iron armor was soon metalbent off of him by Toph and her students. He demanded to know how the earthbenders were tearing his shielding apart and set to attack them, but Aang ripped a hole in his chest with a blast of all four elements.

Tears appearing in his eyes, General Old Iron realized there was no place for his kind in the world and saw that he was significantly weaker than the humans. Unconvinced by Aang's pleas that he could maintain balance between the physical and Spirit Worlds, the spirit told him that he was only fooling himself and the Avatar would always side with the humans in a rift between them and the spirits. He added that humans, even Aang, had a will to dominate and the worlds could never be balanced. Acknowledging his defeat, General Old Iron transformed into serpent lobster spirits and retreated under the sea for good.[1]


Iron manipulation[]

General Old Iron is a powerful spirit who can coat himself in a sturdy armor of iron ore to increase his resilience in battle.


General Old Iron's enormous size enables him to easily crush his opponents and surroundings.[2]


Graphic novels[]

Avatar games[]


  • General Old Iron was inspired by General Thousand-Miles Eye and General With-Wind Ear, two guardians who accompany Mazu, the patron goddess of seafarers.[3]
  • The serpent lobster spirits that General Old Iron becomes in his new form were the precursors of his character during the development of The Rift.[3]
  • General Old Iron's rock armor resembles that worn by samurai.
  • The third eye on his forehead is similar to the tattoo of a combustionbender.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 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.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 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 Two (July 2, 2014), Dark Horse Comics.
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Rift Library Edition, page 146.