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Kuruk was the Water Tribe Avatar immediately succeeding Avatar Yangchen and preceding Avatar Kyoshi. Native to the Northern Water Tribe, he was born around 347 BG and died in 312 BG.[2] Though gifted as a bender, he was brash and arrogant, always preferring to "go with the flow". Due to this attitude and his pompous demeanor, Kuruk lost his fiancée, Ummi, to Koh the Face Stealer.[3]


Living in a world brought to peace and stability by his predecessor's tenacious efforts, Kuruk spent most of his days searching both the physical and Spirit World for worthy opponents to challenge in bending contests, usually for no reason other than entertainment and pleasure.[2] He also liked to show off his bending ability to others, especially beautiful women, in grand displays. Kuruk airbent tornadoes filled with lotus flowers for young Air Nomad nuns, would challenge random Fire Nation citizens to Agni Kais, and engaged in boulder-lifting contests with earthbenders.[3] His strength in sparring matches was considered legendary, and no bender was ever able to trump his abilities. Kuruk was a "go with the flow" type of Avatar: The world's tranquility allowed him to step back from his responsibilities as the Avatar and let the four nations resolve their own conflicts. Although there was peace in his era, Kuruk's carefree lifestyle would eventually cost him dearly.[1]

Kuruk kissing Ummi

Kuruk and Ummi kissed to seal their engagement.

Never having even the slightest thought of settling down, Kuruk carried on with his casual way of life until the day he met his true love. At the New Moon Celebration, a festive meeting of the two Water Tribes, he met a woman named Ummi from the Southern Water Tribe. Kuruk fell in love with her at first sight and presented Ummi with a customary betrothal necklace shortly after their meeting, which she accepted. The two designated their marriage to be at the Spirit Oasis.

As they approached the altar on the night of their wedding, Ummi fell into the oasis, pulled in by an unseen force. She had been dragged to the Spirit World by Koh the Face Stealer, to punish Kuruk for his past arrogance. Every year, on the anniversary of their wedding, Kuruk traveled to the Spirit World in hopes of saving Ummi, but failed on every occasion. His attempts made Koh hold a grudge against the Avatar. He eventually managed to find the spirit and would have slain him, were it not for his realization that the spirit had stolen Ummi's face and thus trapped her forever; he could not kill Koh without killing his wife in the process.[2][3]

Appearances in Aang's life

Aang speaks to Kuruk's spirit

Aang sought Avatar Kuruk's advice prior to the arrival of Sozin's Comet.

Aang first learned about Kuruk while he was in the Spirit World during the Siege of the North. Koh informed him that Aang had attempted to slay him in a previous life, though the spirit never specifically identified this man as Kuruk.[4]

Later, while Avatar Roku was teaching Aang about the Avatar State, Aang saw a brief vision of Kuruk performing enhanced waterbending.[5]

Aang finally learned Kuruk's name[6] when he was in a coma after Azula's lightning attack in Ba Sing Se.[7] When they met in the realm of Koh, Kuruk asked Aang if he had seen a beautiful woman with long, brown hair. Aang responded by inquiring about Kuruk's dilemma, at which point Kuruk proceeded to tell him his history as the Avatar. After the tale, Aang realized that during his encounter with Koh, one of the spirit's faces was that of the woman Kuruk had described. Heartened by the knowledge of his wife's whereabouts, Kuruk set off to track down Koh once again.[3] However, as Avatar Yangchen had predicted, Aang retained no memory of this encounter.[8]

Later, Avatar Aang meditated, contacting Kuruk so to ask how Fire Lord Ozai could be defeated without killing him. Kuruk told Aang to actively shape both his destiny and that of the world, as the former had failed to do so in his own life. It was Kuruk's own arrogance and inaction that had cost him his beloved wife, Ummi.[1] Aang took this to mean that Kuruk, like the other Avatars, believed it was necessary to use lethal force in order to protect the world. However, Kuruk's answer was much more open to interpretation, since "actively shaping your destiny" could have various meanings, including Aang's decision to strip Ozai of his bending.

While Aang was trying to establish contact with Avatar Yangchen for a solution to the situation with General Old Iron, Kuruk appeared in a vision which represented Aang's restored connection to his past lives after restoring his link with Roku.[9]

Appearances in Korra's life


Kuruk and the past Avatars appeared before Korra, representing her newfound spiritual connection.

Kuruk stood alongside all the other Avatars when Aang passed on the knowledge of energybending to Korra and restored her bending, representing the newly established connection she made to her spiritual self.[10]

After Korra lost her memory, Kuruk appeared before her, taking over from Avatar Kyoshi, and informed the young Avatar that she would have to return to the beginning to find Raava and reconnect with her Avatar Spirit.[11]

While Unalaq was attacking Raava, Korra envisioned Kuruk as part of the Avatar lineup, which she had seen prior to regaining her bending; however, his connection to Korra was severed due to Unalaq's assault on and subsequent destruction of the light spirit.[12]


Avatar: The Last Airbender

Book Two: Earth (土)

Escape from the Spirit World

Book Three: Fire (火)

Graphic novel trilogies

The Legend of Korra

Book One: Air (气)

  • 112. "Endgame(vision, no lines)

Book Two: Spirits (神靈)

Book Four: Balance (平衡)


  • Kuruk bore a physical resemblance to Hakoda as well as Roku's waterbending master.
  • Kuruk's name is a palindrome, like Appa and Ikki.
  • In the last episode of the first series, Kuruk was seen in Aang's vision before he entered the Avatar State.[13]
  • During his airbending training, Avatar Kuruk was seen with customized Air Nomad clothing that was similar to Aang's, but in varying shades of blue.
  • Kuruk is the Pawnee Native American word for "bear", mimicking how Kuruk is frequently seen wearing an animal pelt resembling a bear-like creature over his head.
  • Koh stated that Kuruk attempted to slay him some eight or nine centuries prior to the episode,[4] but for that to have happened, he would have had to be older than his immediate successor, Avatar Kyoshi, who was the oldest Avatar in history.
  • Kuruk's favorite mode of transportation was by sea, surfing on a raft using waterbending.[14]
  • Kuruk is, so far, the only known Avatar whose predecessor and successor were both women.
  • Among all Avatars with a known lifespan, Kuruk lived for the shortest period of time. Ironically, his successor, Kyoshi, lived longer than any other Avatar.
  • Kuruk was the most recent Avatar who did not have to deal with a large scale conflict during his time.
Preceded by
c. 347 - 312 BG
Succeeded by


  1. Kuruk was said to be born almost 500 years before Avatar Korra, who was born in 153 AG, making his date of birth around 347 BG.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 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.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Welcome to Republic City. Nickelodeon (May 4, 2012). Retrieved on May 4, 2012.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Escape from the Spirit World: Avatar Kuruk Online Comic Book
  4. 4.0 4.1 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.
  5. Ehasz, Aaron, Ehasz, Elizabeth Welch, Hedrick, Tim, O'Bryan, John (writers) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (March 17, 2006). "The Avatar State". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 1. Nickelodeon.
  6. Escape from the Spirit World, Avatar Kyoshi Online Comic Book
  7. Ehasz, Aaron (writer) & DiMartino, Michael Dante (director). (December 1, 2006). "The Crossroads of Destiny". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 20. Nickelodeon.
  8. Escape from the Spirit World, Online game
  9. 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.
  10. DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim, Ryu, Ki Hyun (directors). (June 23, 2012). "Endgame". The Legend of Korra. Season 1. Episode 12. Nickelodeon.
  11. DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Heck, Colin (director). (October 18, 2013). "Beginnings, Part 1". The Legend of Korra. Season 1. Episode 19. Nickelodeon.
  12. Hamilton, Joshua (writer) & Heck, Colin (director). (November 22, 2013). "Darkness Falls". The Legend of Korra. Season 1. Episode 25. Nickelodeon.
  13. DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director). (July 19, 2008). "Sozin's Comet, Part 4: Avatar Aang". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 21. Nickelodeon.
  14. From older Avatar: The Last Airbender official site, originally on (link). No longer updated, encyclopedia now broken though archived here.

Start a Discussion Discussions about Kuruk

  • did roku and kuruk fail as the avatar ?

    10 messages
    • had roku killed sozin aang wouldn't bring balance in a peaceful matter considering the world would have changed dramatically af...
    • Kuruk failed and lived a short life because while he was born into a peaceful world (thanks to Yangchen,) he decided to dick around with ...
  • Do avatars live in the spirit world after death?

    2 messages
    • In season 2 of LOK Aang helped Tenzin leave the fog of lost souls. Also, in a [ unaired ca...
    • Avatars are all the same person in reincarnation cycle. The changes to their personalities after rebirth would make for an interest...