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This article is about the character in the series. For the character in the film, see Kanna.

Kanna, referred to by her grandchildren as "Gran Gran", was Katara and Sokka's caring paternal grandmother. She was a nonbender and the oldest resident of Wolf Cove.[4] Although Kanna initially distrusted Aang, once he was revealed to be the Avatar, she regained hope, something, she remarked, that she had not felt for a long time.[1]


Early life

Kanna was born in 19 AG to a family in the Northern Water Tribe, and when she reached the marrying age of sixteen, it was arranged that she would marry Pakku, a young waterbender. Following the tribe's engagement tradition, Pakku carved a betrothal necklace for her. Though he loved her deeply and thought their marriage would be successful, she harbored a strong distaste for the Northern Water Tribe's chauvinistic social standards for women, which Pakku vehemently supported. As a result, Kanna despaired and searched for a way out of the marriage.[5] Sometime before their wedding, Kanna fled her homeland and traveled to the Southern Water Tribe. Although she left without notice, she did take the necklace with her.

The Hundred Year War

A young Kanna watched with sadness as Hama was taken prisoner.

Kanna, while still a young woman, befriended Hama,[6] one of the Southern Water Tribe's most skilled waterbenders, and the two experienced the Fire Nation's first raids on their tribe together. Although Hama and her fellow waterbenders fought intensively, they eventually succumbed to the invasions, and when she was taken onto the Fire Nation vessel, Kanna was the last face Hama saw before she was locked away.[7]

Years passed, and the Hundred Year War continued to stress the Southern Water Tribe's warriors and resources, making Kanna somewhat bitter and cynical. Her son later became the tribal chief and married a woman named Kya, who eventually gave birth to Sokka and Katara, Kanna's only grandchildren. Kanna later passed on her engagement necklace to Kya, and Kya passed it down to Katara. Kanna never told her grandchildren the history or significance of the necklace, or of her past in the Northern Water Tribe.

The year prior to the return of Sozin's Comet, Kanna's grandchildren discovered an iceberg concealing an airbender in suspended animation named Aang. They freed him and brought him back to their village,[4] and in agreement with her grandson, Kanna did not trust the stranger and came to view him as a threat when he accidentally triggered a Fire Nation flare used by Prince Zuko as a signal for attack. She was among the people who asked for Aang's departure from the tribe and persuaded her granddaughter to stay with them despite her longing to travel with the young monk to a place where she could learn waterbending.[1]

Zuko used Kanna as an example to show how old the Avatar must have been by 99 AG.

Nevertheless, the village was attacked by the Fire Nation and Kanna was directly threatened by Zuko. Aang quickly came to the rescue, revealing himself as the Avatar, and surrendered to protect the villagers. Following this, Kanna allowed Katara and Sokka to leave in order to save Aang and assist him in his goal of mastering all four elements, as she recognized that this was their ultimate destiny.[1]

Rebuilding the Southern Water Tribe and marriage

After the Siege of the North, Kanna reunited with Master Pakku, who had ventured to her home with some other people from the Northern Tribe in order to provide assistance in rebuilding the Southern Water Tribe.[8] Pakku later carved Kanna a new betrothal necklace, and, two years after the conclusion of the Hundred Year War, they eloped to the Misty Palms Oasis to get married.[9][10]

Several weeks after their wedding, Kanna reunited with her grandchildren in the capital city that had been built up from their original village in the South. After embracing them, she informed them of her marriage to Pakku, Hakoda's tales of their accomplishments during the war, and that their father had been elected head chieftain of the entire Southern Water Tribe.[10]

Having returned to town that night after escaping from Southern nationalists, Sokka and Katara were slightly amused to find that while everything else of the old village had been torn down, Kanna had kept her hut, now situated between two modern buildings.[10]

Kanna told Sokka and Katara that she and Pakku would take care of Hakoda after he was stabbed by Gilak.

The following night, Kanna looked over Hakoda, who was brought to her hut after being stabbed by Gilak. Once he had regained consciousness, Kanna assured her grandchildren that she and Pakku would take care of him and said they could see him in the morning. Before they could leave, she mused that wounds were caused by wrong actions based on wrong beliefs and concluded that someone needed to reexamine their beliefs. That sparked an argument between her grandchildren over whom she was referring to: Gilak, or Malina and Maliq. Unable to find common ground, the siblings left to speak with Aang and Toph, but Kanna soon emerged from the hut to find Malina outside and announced that Hakoda wished to speak with her.[11]

Following the rescue of Hakoda from Gilak's clutches, Kanna hosted a small feast in her hut for Team Avatar and several of their allies. Although she was uncomfortable with other people cooking in her kitchen, Pakku persuaded her to relax and enjoy the festivities.[12]


Despite not being a waterbender, Kanna knew a great deal about healing and medicine. She often prepared herbs to make into medicine for her village,[13] and often made rubbing pastes to treat colds.[14] She also regularly helped to deliver children born in the Southern Water Tribe.[3]




Avatar: The Last Airbender

Book One: Water (水)

Book Three: Fire (火)

Graphic novels


Kanna was featured in The Last Airbender.

  • Kanna's nickname in the Spanish dub of Avatar is "Gran Gran Abuela", which translates to great-great-grandmother. In the French dub, her nickname is "Mabouba".
  • Kanna was portrayed by Katharine Houghton in The Last Airbender.
  • Kanna seemed to have sported the same hairstyle, hair loopies, her whole life.
  • Originally, Katara's name was to be Kya. However, when Nickelodeon vetoed the choice of name, the creators renamed her Kanna, which stuck for a few weeks before they decided to name her Katara. Kya became the name of Katara's mother, while Kanna became Gran Gran's name.[15]
  • Kanna strongly resembled the wise elder women found in many of the works of Hayao Miyazaki – most notably, the Wise Woman who starts Prince Ashitaka on his quest in Princess Mononoke. The series' creators have professed their fandom of Hayao Miyazaki in many interviews.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Filoni, Dave (director). (February 21, 2005). "The Avatar Returns". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 2. Nickelodeon.
  2. From Avatar fact cards (https://www.musogato.com/avatar/icons/ecard-gran.jpg)
  3. 3.0 3.1 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.
  4. 4.0 4.1 DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Filoni, Dave (director). (February 21, 2005). "The Boy in the Iceberg". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 1. Nickelodeon.
  5. DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (November 18, 2005). "The Waterbending Master". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 18. Nickelodeon.
  6. Avatar: The Last Airbender—The Art of the Animated Series, page 147.
  7. Hedrick, Tim (writer) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director). (November 9, 2007). "The Puppetmaster". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 8. Nickelodeon.
  8. Ehasz, Aaron (writer) & Filoni, Dave (director). (December 2, 2005). "The Siege of the North, Part 2". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 20. Nickelodeon.
  9. Ehasz, Aaron (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (July 19, 2008). "Sozin's Comet, Part 2: The Old Masters". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 19. Nickelodeon.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Yang, Gene Luen (writer), Sasaki of Gurihiru (penciling, inking), Kawano of Gurihiru (colorist), Heisler, Michael; Comicraft (letterer). North and South Part One (September 27, 2016), Dark Horse Comics.
  11. DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Yang, Gene Luen (writer), Sasaki of Gurihiru (penciling, inking), Kawano of Gurihiru (colorist), Heisler, Michael; Comicraft (letterer). North and South Part Two (January 25, 2017), Dark Horse Comics.
  12. DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Yang, Gene Luen (writer), Sasaki of Gurihiru (penciling, inking), Kawano of Gurihiru (colorist), Heisler, Michael; Comicraft (letterer). North and South Part Three (April 26, 2017), Dark Horse Comics.
  13. Hicks, Faith Erin; Hedrick, Tim (writer), Wartman, Peter (artist), Matera, Adele (colorist), Betancourt, Jimmy (letterer). Katara and the Pirate's Silver (October 13, 2020), Dark Horse Comics.
  14. Wilgus, Benjamin (writer), Garagarza, Elsa (artist), Dzioba, Wes (colorist), Comicraft (letterer). "Don't Blow It!" (2009), Nickelodeon Comics Club.
  15. Avatar: The Last Airbender—The Art of the Animated Series, page 16.