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{{Icons|p-move|Neutral}}
 
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:''This article is about the creature encountered by [[Aang]]. For the species, see [[Lion turtle (species)]].''
 
   
{{Quote|neutral|The true mind can weather all the lies and illusions without being lost. The true heart can tough the poison of hatred without being harmed. Since beginning-less time, darkness thrives in the void but always yields to purifying light.|The lion turtle sharing his wisdom with [[Aang]].<ref name=SC2 />}}
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{{Quote|neutral|The world is entering a new age. Our time protecting mankind is over. We will no longer give humans the power of the elements.|A fire lion turtle announcing the departure of his kind.<ref name="B2">{{Cite episode|2|208}}</ref>}}
   
{{Character infobox
+
{{Fauna infobox
| nation = neutral
+
| caption =
| image = Aang with Lion Turtle.png
+
| nation = neutral
| nationality =
+
| image = Lion turtle drawing.png
| age =
+
| name = Lion turtle
| birth = [[Era of Raava]]
+
| habitat = [[Earth|World of Avatar]]
| gender =
+
| status = One living individual remaining
| skincolor = Brown
+
| uses = [[Transportation in the World of Avatar|Transportation]], protection
| skintype =
+
| bending = [[Bending arts]]
| allies = [[Aang]], [[Momo]]
+
| appearance = * "[[The Library]]" <small>(image)</small>
| enemies =
+
* "[[Sozin's Comet, Part 2: The Old Masters]] <small>(actual)</small>
| weapon = Energy
+
| lastappearance = "[[Beginnings, Part 2]]" {{fo}}
| fightingstyle = [[Energybending]]
+
}}The '''lion turtle''', honorably referred to as '''Ancient One''' by the spirits,<ref name="B2" /> is the largest known [[Fauna in the World of Avatar|animal]] in the [[Earth|world]]. In the [[era of Raava]], lion turtles populated the [[Spirit Wilds]], where they served as protectors of mankind by housing human cities on their backs.<ref name="B1">{{Cite episode|2|207}}</ref> As indicated by the symbols on their foreheads, each individual lion turtle showed an affinity for one of the four elements and possessed the ability to grant individuals the power to control said element through [[energybending]].<ref name="B2" />
| profession =
 
| position =
 
| affiliation =
 
| appearance = "[[Sozin's Comet, Part 2: The Old Masters]]"
 
| lastappearance = "[[Sozin's Comet, Part 4: Avatar Aang]]" {{fo}}
 
| voice = [[Kevin Michael Richardson]]
 
}}The '''lion turtle''' is a gigantic, ancient [[Fauna in the World of Avatar|creature]] who has existed since the beginning of time, and is one of the few known animals to have lived in the [[era of Raava]]. This [[Lion turtle (species)|lion turtle]] is the last of his kind, as the rest of the lion turtles were hunted and killed thousands of years before the [[Hundred Year War]].<ref name=dead>{{nickold}}</ref><ref name=B2>{{Cite episode|2|208}}</ref>
 
   
[[Aang]] communed with his past lives in hopes of finding a way to end the Hundred Year War while on the lion turtle. After the previous [[Avatar]]s failed to provide Aang with a satisfying solution, the lion turtle revealed to him the power to bend the energy within oneself, which the Avatar later used to remove [[Fire Lord]] [[Ozai]]'s [[Firebending|bending abilities]].<ref name=dead />
+
== History ==
  +
=== Era of Raava ===
  +
In the era of Raava, lion turtles developed a relationship with humans, who established settlements on their backs as a means of protection against spirits who roamed the wilds. Due to their role as protectors of mankind, lion turtles ascertained the safety of humans who ventured away from the cities to gather food by granting them with the ability to bend an element, which they would relinquish upon their return. As solitary creatures, lion turtles rarely interacted with other members of their species, which resulted in the complete isolation of individual settlements from one another to the point where humans were unaware of the existence of other lion turtle cities.<ref name="B1" />
   
Having lived for eons, a large forest had sprouted on the lion turtle's back. He prefers to stay hidden from the rest of the [[Earth|world]], and submerges his head underwater in order to appear like an ordinary island.<ref name=dead />
+
[[File:Wan being granted firebending.png|thumb|left|200px|A fire lion turtle granted [[Wan]] [[Firebending|the power of fire]] to aid him in protecting himself while in the [[Spirit Wilds]].]]
   
== History ==
+
Around 9,832 [[History of the World of Avatar#Dates|BG]], a group of hunters approached a fire lion turtle who granted them with the power of [[Firebending|fire]] to find food for the village. Among the company was [[Wan]], who refused to relinquish his power. As a result, he was brought before the lion turtle, who permitted him to keep his fire at his request but banished Wan to the Spirit Wilds for his crimes. During his banishment, Wan befriended the spirits and learned about the existence of other lion turtle cities, which he left to find. Inspired by Wan's success at surviving in the wilds, many other villagers requested the power of fire from the lion turtle and left the protection of the city to establish settlements in the Spirit Wilds.<ref name="B2" />
One night in 100 [[History of the World of Avatar#Dates|AG]], a few days before the arrival of [[Sozin's Comet]], the lion turtle appeared off the coast of [[Ember Island]] as a small, dome-shaped isle. Aang, who had just come to the abysmal realization that he must kill Fire Lord Ozai, was subconsciously directed to the island and sleepwalked there, with [[Momo]] following closely. The creature, along with Aang and Momo, were gone by the following morning.<ref name=SC1>{{Cite episode|1|318}}</ref>
 
   
Unaware of the time and the frenetic searching for him by his friends, Aang awoke the next day to find that the island was now adrift in the middle of the sea. After exploring a little, he found himself at the center of the island where he discovered a hexagonal piece of unknown material which, unbeknownst to him, was part of the lion turtle's shell. Eventually, Aang decided to meditate there and call upon his previous incarnations for guidance, starting with [[Roku]], followed by [[Kyoshi]], [[Kuruk]], and ending with [[Yangchen]]. After listening to their advice, he realized to his dismay that he had no choice but to kill Ozai.<ref name=SC2>{{Cite episode|1|319}}</ref>
+
During his travels, Wan came across harvesters with the power of [[Airbending|air]] and followed them to a city on top of a flying lion turtle. Following an attack by [[dark spirits]] on the air lion turtle's settlement, Wan undertook the task of helping [[Raava]] defeat [[Vaatu]] during the next [[Harmonic Convergence]]. In order to do so, he requested the power of air from the lion turtle, who was reluctant to grant him the ability as no human had previously held more than one element. After agreeing to allow Raava to hold the element until he mastered it, Wan left the air lion turtle's city in order to find settlements with guardians that could grant him with the remaining elements. Over the course of the next year, Wan found water and earth lion turtles who provided him with the power of [[Waterbending|water]] and [[Earthbending|earth]], respectively.<ref name="B2" />
   
[[File:Aang and Lion Turtle.png|thumb|left|200px|The lion turtle imparting [[Energybending|his wisdom]].]]
+
After Wan and Raava merged permanently to defeat Vaatu, the lion turtles collectively decided to relinquish their role as protectors of mankind to the new Avatar and refrain from further granting the power of the elements to humans.<ref name="B2" />
   
Eventually, the island approached land, revealing that it was moving; Aang jumped off it and while diving below, discovered that it was actually an enormous creature. After approaching the head, he realized it was a lion turtle. Aang asked him for guidance, to which the lion turtle replied, "The true mind can weather all the lies and illusions without being lost. The true heart can tough the poison of hatred without being harmed. Since beginning-less time, darkness thrives in the void, but always yields to purifying light." He subsequently imparted the knowledge of an ancient [[Bending arts|bending art]] to Aang before leaving the Avatar and Momo on the [[Earth Kingdom]] shore by [[Wulong Forest]] to await the arrival of [[Phoenix King]] Ozai.<ref name=SC2 />
+
=== Era of the Avatar ===
  +
[[File:Aang with Lion Turtle.png|thumb|right|200px|The last remaining lion turtle gave [[Aang]] advice shortly before the arrival of [[Sozin's Comet]] in 100 [[History of the World of Avatar#Dates|AG]].]]
   
As Aang was about to remove Ozai's bending, the lion turtle appeared before the Avatar in a flashback, stating, "In the era before the Avatar, we bent not the elements but the energy within ourselves."<ref name=SC4>{{Cite episode|1|321}}</ref> Aang, with these words in mind, began to bend Ozai's energy. The final time the lion turtle was heard, he warned that in order to bend the energy within another individual, the practitioner's "own spirit must be unbendable" or they "will be corrupted and destroyed". During this time, Aang's energy managed to overpower Ozai's and he succeeded in taking away the Fire Lord's ability to bend.<ref name=SC4>{{Cite episode|1|321}}</ref>
+
Lion turtles were hunted to near extinction over the thousands of years following the start of the [[Avatar#Avatar Cycle|Avatar Cycle]] until only one remained.<ref name="dead">{{nickold}}</ref> In order to protect himself from being hunted, the last remaining lion turtle opted to travel the world, away from human civilizations. Having developed a lush forest on its back over the course of its lifetime, the lion turtle avoided human contact by appearing as an island until he encountered [[Aang]] on the shores of [[Ember Island]] in 100 AG. The young [[Avatar]] stumbled onto the lion turtle subconsciously in the dead of night and awoke the following day, unaware of his whereabouts.<ref name="SC2">{{Cite episode|1|319}}</ref>
   
== Appearances ==
+
After convening with his past lives regarding the course of action he should take to defeat [[Fire Lord]] [[Ozai]], Aang discovered that the island on which he believed himself to be stranded was a lion turtle and proceeded to ask the creature for advice. After noting that darkness always yields itself to purifying light, the lion turtle imparted Aang with the ancient art of energybending, stating that individuals originally bent the energy within themselves as opposed to the elements. He warned Aang that the use of the art requires having an unbendable spirit, before leaving the young Avatar and [[Momo]] on the shores of the [[Earth Kingdom]] near [[Wulong Forest]].<ref name="SC4">{{Cite episode|1|321}}</ref>
=== ''Avatar: The Last Airbender'' ===
+
==== Book Three: Fire (火) ====
+
== Anatomy ==
{{Appear|1|318|319|321f}}
+
[[File:Lion turtle.png|thumb|left|200px|Adult lion turtles will eventually grow a forest on their backs, giving them the same appearance as a small island.]]
  +
  +
The majority of the lion turtle's body resembles the anatomy of a turtle with the face, paws, and tail similar to those of a lion. The creature has webbed feet with finger joints made of soft tissue, similar in function to joint covers present in crabs.
  +
  +
Young lion turtles are significantly smaller in size than the adults but are still considerably large, growing to the size of an adult [[flying bison]]. Lion turtles can survive for centuries if unharmed and reach the size of a small island, developing hard shells that eventually grow [[Flora in the World of Avatar|plant]] life that can sustain several species of animals.<ref name="AAS">[[Avatar: The Last Airbender—The Art of the Animated Series]].</ref> This effectively creates small ecosystems on the backs of lion turtles, which neither benefit nor harm the hosts in question.<ref name="L">{{Cite episode|1|210}}</ref> Lion turtles are so enormous that their hearts can weigh over 120 tons, which is comparable to the combined weight of twelve flying bison.<ref name="AESM">[[Avatar Extras (Book Three: Fire)#"Sokka's Master"|''Avatar Extras'' for "Sokka's Master"]] on Nicktoons Network.</ref>
  +
  +
Although from the same species, lion turtles have distinct markings on their foreheads indicating the element to which they are attributed:<ref name="B2" />
  +
* Lion turtles associated with fire have two swirls curling inward, forming a shape similar to a heart
  +
* Lion turtles associated with air have a more intricate swirling pattern, with two swirls curling outward and a swirl in the center
  +
* Lion turtles associated with water have three wavy lines increasing in length from top to bottom and a lone swirl underneath
  +
* Lion turtles associated with earth have a singular swirl diverging into two smaller swirls, with the one on top larger than the other, forming a shape similar to a question mark. In addition, the lion turtles associated with earth have two swirls on each upper cheek and two others near their ears.
  +
  +
== Behavior ==
  +
Unlike many other creatures in the world, lion turtles are intelligent creatures who demonstrate the ability to both speak and understand human language.<ref name="SC2" /> They are solitary creatures that disperse as much as possible and remain hidden through various means.
  +
  +
Terrestrial lion turtles buried themselves in the ground and did not surface unless summoned, while aquatic lion turtles partly submerged themselves underwater to avoid detection. Lion turtles associated with air had the ability to fly and remained afloat for additional protection.<ref name="B2" />
  +
  +
== Connection ==
  +
The lion turtle bears a strong resemblance to both of its namesakes, the lion and the turtle. Most of the creature's anatomy is based off the body of a turtle, with the head, limbs, and tail similar in appearance to a lion.
   
 
== Trivia ==
 
== Trivia ==
[[File:The Lion Turtle.png|thumb|right|200px|An early sketch of a lion turtle.]]
+
{{Imagelink}}
  +
  +
* The lion turtle fits within the theme of a [[Wikipedia:World Turtle|World Turtle]], which is particularly evident in Chinese and indigenous American mythology and culture. It also bears a resemblance to the [[Wikipedia:Zaratan|Zaratan]], grandiose sea turtles found in literature and folklore, whose shells are easily mistaken for small islands.
  +
* The lion turtle resembles Chinese mythological turtles, a few of which are placed around the [[Wikipedia:Forbidden Palace|Forbidden Palace]] in Beijing.[[File:The Lion Turtle.png|thumb|right|200px|An early sketch of a lion turtle emphasizes its enormous size by providing a scale.]]
  +
* A very high level of detail went into the lion turtle's design in early production of the first series, but it was not rendered as intricately in the final animation.<ref name="TLA">''Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Lost Adventures''.</ref>
  +
* The lion turtle is the only creature and character to be painted, as opposed to drawn as a cartoon.
  +
* The chanting heard when the lion turtle called to Aang is a Buddhist chant known as "Na Mo A Mi Tuo Fo Shin Di". This chanting was first heard when the [[Fire Sages]] assumed their stances in front of the door to the [[Fire Temple#Sanctuary|Fire Temple sanctuary]].<ref name="WS2">{{Cite episode|1|108}}</ref> It was heard again right before Aang stepped into the [[Spirit Oasis]] to fuse with [[La]] during the [[Siege of the North]].<ref name="SN2">{{Cite episode|1|120}}</ref>
  +
* [[Nyla]] was unable to follow Aang's scent while he was on the lion turtle, as it had traveled extensively throughout the world. Because of this, the lion turtle accumulated countless smells which made it impossible to differentiate between distinct scents, effectively masking Aang.<ref name="scbook">''[[Sozin's Comet: The Final Battle]]'', pages 56-57.</ref>
  +
* The lion turtle is the only known non-spirit creature that is able to communicate with words, albeit telepathically.
  +
* Lion turtles have great cultural importance in the Avatar World and are referenced several times throughout the franchise.
  +
** [[Military ranks in the World of Avatar#General|General]] [[Fong]] and General [[Sung]] both had [[Wikipedia:Pauldron|pauldrons]] representing the head of a lion turtle, as did one of Aang's battle "options".<ref name="KO">{{Cite episode|1|105}}</ref>
  +
** A painting of a lion turtle was depicted in a scroll inside [[Wan Shi Tong's Library]].<ref name="L" />
  +
** Aang and Sokka hid behind a lion turtle statue outside the [[Earth Kingdom Royal Palace]] while devising a plan to meet [[Earth monarch|Earth King]] [[Kuei]].
  +
** [[Piandao]] compared Sokka's courage and heart to those of a lion turtle. Additionally, his [[Piandao's castle|manor]] boasted many lion turtle furnishings.<ref name="SM">{{Cite episode|1|304}}</ref>
  +
** [[Military ranks in the World of Avatar#Admiral|Admiral]] [[Chan (Fire Nation admiral)|Chan]]'s home in Ember Island had a lion turtle door knocker.<ref name="B">{{Cite episode|1|305}}</ref>
  +
** The gates of the [[Southern Water Tribe compound]] have a lion turtle motif.<ref name="WRC">{{Cite episode|2|101}}</ref>
  +
** A [[Satomobile]] used by the [[Triple Threat Triad]] sported a golden lion turtle as a hood ornament.<ref name="WRC" />
  +
** A lion turtle fountain stands next to the pool in [[Hiroshi Sato]]'s [[Sato estate|estate]].<ref name="TA">{{Cite episode|2|107}}</ref>
  +
* A lion turtle appeared in the beginning of the [[unaired pilot]] as a statue behind [[Aang (pilot)|Aang]].
  +
* The lion turtle who imparted Aang with energybending had forehead markings similar to those seen on fire lion turtles.<ref name="B1" />
  +
* Some critics claim that the lion turtle teaching Aang energybending to defeat Ozai without killing him was a ''[http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DeusExMachina deus ex machina]'', a device used by writers to resolve a conflict through some form of divine intervention. The creators refute this claim and insist that the lion turtle's abilities were already developed prior to its introduction.<ref name="CO">{{Cite web |url=http://www.craveonline.com/tv/articles/151322-sozins-comet-the-avatars-story-ends |title=Sozin's Comet: The Avatar's Story Ends |accessdate=2013-03-16 |last= |first= |date=July 22, 2008 |work=CraveOnline |publisher=CraveOnline Media }}</ref>
  +
* The lion turtle encountered by Aang was voiced by [[Kevin Michael Richardson]], while the fire and air lion turtles met by Wan were voiced by [[Jim Cummings]] and [[Stephen Stanton]], respectively.
   
* The lion turtle is the oldest creature alive.<ref name=TLA>Confirmed by ''Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Lost Adventures''</ref>
+
== Gallery ==
* In early production, a very high level of detail went into the lion turtle's design. In the final animation, however, the lion turtle was not rendered quite as intricately.<ref name=TLA />
+
<gallery hideaddbutton="true" captionalign="left" widths="200">
* The lion turtle resembles Chinese mythological turtles, a few of which are placed around the [[Wikipedia:Forbidden Palace|Forbidden Palace]] in Beijing.
+
File:Fire lion turtle.png|A fire lion turtle.
* The chanting that can be heard when the lion turtle called to Aang,<ref name=SC1 /> causing him to sleepwalk and swim toward him is a Buddhist chant, "Na Mo A Mi Tuo Fo Shin Di" (spellings vary). This chanting was heard for the first time when the [[Fire Sages]] assumed their stances in front of the door to the [[Fire Temple#Sanctuary|Fire Temple sanctuary]].<ref name=WS2>{{Cite episode|1|108}}</ref> It was heard again right before Aang stepped into the [[Spirit Oasis]] to fuse with [[La]].<ref name=SN2>{{Cite episode|1|120}}</ref> "Na Mo A Mi Tuo Fo" ({{Chinese|南無阿彌陀佛|Námó ēmítuófó}}) is from Da Bei Chan Fa ({{Chinese|大悲懺法|Dàbēi chànfǎ}}), and translates as "Blessed be Amitabha Buddha".
+
File:Air lion turtle.png|An air lion turtle.
* [[Nyla]] was unable to find Aang while he was on the lion turtle due to the fact that it had traveled all over the world for so long, thus accumulating countless smells in the process. In essence, the lion turtle smelled like the earth itself, effectively masking Aang's scent.<ref name=scbook>''[[Sozin's Comet: The Final Battle]]'', pages 56-57.</ref>
+
File:Water lion turtle.png|A water lion turtle.
* The lion turtle was well received by some critics of the Sozin's Comet special. Others, however, claim that the lion turtle teaching Aang energybending to defeat Ozai without killing him was a ''[http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DeusExMachina deus ex machina]'', a cop-out used by writers when they have written themselves into a corner, though they claim they had created this concept prior to its introduction.<ref name=COr>{{cite web |url=http://www.craveonline.com/tv/articles/151322-sozins-comet-the-avatars-story-ends |title=Sozin's Comet: The Avatar's Story Ends |accessdate=2013-03-16 |last= |first= |date=July 22, 2008 |work=CraveOnline |publisher=CraveOnline Media }}</ref> Many were also critical that his voice was too difficult to understand.<ref name=Toon Zone News review>{{cite web |url=http://www.toonzone.net/2008/07/sozins-comet-produces-an-epic-season-finale-for-avatar-the-last-airbender/ |title="Sozin's Comet" Produces an Epic Season Finale for "Avatar the Last Airbender" |accessdate=2013-01-25 |last=Liu |first=Ed |date=July 18, 2008 |work=Toon Zone News |publisher=Toonzone }}</ref>
+
File:Earth lion turtle.png|An earth lion turtle.
* The lion turtle is the only creature and character to be painted, as opposed to being drawn as a cartoon.
+
</gallery>
* This lion turtle bears the same mark on its forehead as the [[fire lion turtle]] during [[Wan]]'s time.<ref name=B1>{{Cite episode|2|207}}</ref>
 
   
 
== References ==
 
== References ==
{{scroll|{{reflist}}}}
+
{{scroll|{{Reflist}}}}
   
 
== See also ==
 
== See also ==
* [[Air lion turtle]]
 
* [[Earth lion turtle]]
 
 
* [[Fauna in the World of Avatar]]
 
* [[Fauna in the World of Avatar]]
* [[Fire lion turtle]]
 
* [[Lion turtle (species)|Lion turtle]]
 
* [[Water lion turtle]]
 
   
 
[[de:Löwenschildkröte]]
 
[[de:Löwenschildkröte]]
[[nl:Leeuwen Schildpad]]
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[[es:León tortuga (Especie)]]
[[pt-br:Tartaruga Leão]]
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[[fi:Leijonakonna]]
[[ru:Лев-черепаха]]
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[[nl:Leeuwenschildpad]]
  +
[[fr:Tortue lion]]
 
[[Category:A to Z]]
 
[[Category:A to Z]]
[[Category:Animal characters]]
 
[[Category:Characters]]
 
 
[[Category:Energybenders]]
 
[[Category:Energybenders]]
 
[[Category:Fauna]]
 
[[Category:Fauna]]
 
[[Category:Hybridized creatures]]
 
[[Category:Hybridized creatures]]
[[Category:Minor characters]]
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[[Category:Legend of Korra]]
[[Category:Neutral characters]]
 

Latest revision as of 14:39, April 26, 2020

128px-Padlock-olive.svg Neutral Emblem

The lion turtle, honorably referred to as Ancient One by the spirits,[1] is the largest known animal in the world. In the era of Raava, lion turtles populated the Spirit Wilds, where they served as protectors of mankind by housing human cities on their backs.[2] As indicated by the symbols on their foreheads, each individual lion turtle showed an affinity for one of the four elements and possessed the ability to grant individuals the power to control said element through energybending.[1]

History Edit

Era of Raava Edit

In the era of Raava, lion turtles developed a relationship with humans, who established settlements on their backs as a means of protection against spirits who roamed the wilds. Due to their role as protectors of mankind, lion turtles ascertained the safety of humans who ventured away from the cities to gather food by granting them with the ability to bend an element, which they would relinquish upon their return. As solitary creatures, lion turtles rarely interacted with other members of their species, which resulted in the complete isolation of individual settlements from one another to the point where humans were unaware of the existence of other lion turtle cities.[2]

Wan being granted firebending

A fire lion turtle granted Wan the power of fire to aid him in protecting himself while in the Spirit Wilds.

Around 9,832 BG, a group of hunters approached a fire lion turtle who granted them with the power of fire to find food for the village. Among the company was Wan, who refused to relinquish his power. As a result, he was brought before the lion turtle, who permitted him to keep his fire at his request but banished Wan to the Spirit Wilds for his crimes. During his banishment, Wan befriended the spirits and learned about the existence of other lion turtle cities, which he left to find. Inspired by Wan's success at surviving in the wilds, many other villagers requested the power of fire from the lion turtle and left the protection of the city to establish settlements in the Spirit Wilds.[1]

During his travels, Wan came across harvesters with the power of air and followed them to a city on top of a flying lion turtle. Following an attack by dark spirits on the air lion turtle's settlement, Wan undertook the task of helping Raava defeat Vaatu during the next Harmonic Convergence. In order to do so, he requested the power of air from the lion turtle, who was reluctant to grant him the ability as no human had previously held more than one element. After agreeing to allow Raava to hold the element until he mastered it, Wan left the air lion turtle's city in order to find settlements with guardians that could grant him with the remaining elements. Over the course of the next year, Wan found water and earth lion turtles who provided him with the power of water and earth, respectively.[1]

After Wan and Raava merged permanently to defeat Vaatu, the lion turtles collectively decided to relinquish their role as protectors of mankind to the new Avatar and refrain from further granting the power of the elements to humans.[1]

Era of the Avatar Edit

Aang with Lion Turtle

The last remaining lion turtle gave Aang advice shortly before the arrival of Sozin's Comet in 100 AG.

Lion turtles were hunted to near extinction over the thousands of years following the start of the Avatar Cycle until only one remained.[3] In order to protect himself from being hunted, the last remaining lion turtle opted to travel the world, away from human civilizations. Having developed a lush forest on its back over the course of its lifetime, the lion turtle avoided human contact by appearing as an island until he encountered Aang on the shores of Ember Island in 100 AG. The young Avatar stumbled onto the lion turtle subconsciously in the dead of night and awoke the following day, unaware of his whereabouts.[4]

After convening with his past lives regarding the course of action he should take to defeat Fire Lord Ozai, Aang discovered that the island on which he believed himself to be stranded was a lion turtle and proceeded to ask the creature for advice. After noting that darkness always yields itself to purifying light, the lion turtle imparted Aang with the ancient art of energybending, stating that individuals originally bent the energy within themselves as opposed to the elements. He warned Aang that the use of the art requires having an unbendable spirit, before leaving the young Avatar and Momo on the shores of the Earth Kingdom near Wulong Forest.[5]

Anatomy Edit

Lion turtle

Adult lion turtles will eventually grow a forest on their backs, giving them the same appearance as a small island.

The majority of the lion turtle's body resembles the anatomy of a turtle with the face, paws, and tail similar to those of a lion. The creature has webbed feet with finger joints made of soft tissue, similar in function to joint covers present in crabs.

Young lion turtles are significantly smaller in size than the adults but are still considerably large, growing to the size of an adult flying bison. Lion turtles can survive for centuries if unharmed and reach the size of a small island, developing hard shells that eventually grow plant life that can sustain several species of animals.[6] This effectively creates small ecosystems on the backs of lion turtles, which neither benefit nor harm the hosts in question.[7] Lion turtles are so enormous that their hearts can weigh over 120 tons, which is comparable to the combined weight of twelve flying bison.[8]

Although from the same species, lion turtles have distinct markings on their foreheads indicating the element to which they are attributed:[1]

  • Lion turtles associated with fire have two swirls curling inward, forming a shape similar to a heart
  • Lion turtles associated with air have a more intricate swirling pattern, with two swirls curling outward and a swirl in the center
  • Lion turtles associated with water have three wavy lines increasing in length from top to bottom and a lone swirl underneath
  • Lion turtles associated with earth have a singular swirl diverging into two smaller swirls, with the one on top larger than the other, forming a shape similar to a question mark. In addition, the lion turtles associated with earth have two swirls on each upper cheek and two others near their ears.

Behavior Edit

Unlike many other creatures in the world, lion turtles are intelligent creatures who demonstrate the ability to both speak and understand human language.[4] They are solitary creatures that disperse as much as possible and remain hidden through various means.

Terrestrial lion turtles buried themselves in the ground and did not surface unless summoned, while aquatic lion turtles partly submerged themselves underwater to avoid detection. Lion turtles associated with air had the ability to fly and remained afloat for additional protection.[1]

Connection Edit

The lion turtle bears a strong resemblance to both of its namesakes, the lion and the turtle. Most of the creature's anatomy is based off the body of a turtle, with the head, limbs, and tail similar in appearance to a lion.

Trivia Edit

  • The lion turtle fits within the theme of a World Turtle, which is particularly evident in Chinese and indigenous American mythology and culture. It also bears a resemblance to the Zaratan, grandiose sea turtles found in literature and folklore, whose shells are easily mistaken for small islands.
  • The lion turtle resembles Chinese mythological turtles, a few of which are placed around the Forbidden Palace in Beijing.
    The Lion Turtle

    An early sketch of a lion turtle emphasizes its enormous size by providing a scale.

  • A very high level of detail went into the lion turtle's design in early production of the first series, but it was not rendered as intricately in the final animation.[9]
  • The lion turtle is the only creature and character to be painted, as opposed to drawn as a cartoon.
  • The chanting heard when the lion turtle called to Aang is a Buddhist chant known as "Na Mo A Mi Tuo Fo Shin Di". This chanting was first heard when the Fire Sages assumed their stances in front of the door to the Fire Temple sanctuary.[10] It was heard again right before Aang stepped into the Spirit Oasis to fuse with La during the Siege of the North.[11]
  • Nyla was unable to follow Aang's scent while he was on the lion turtle, as it had traveled extensively throughout the world. Because of this, the lion turtle accumulated countless smells which made it impossible to differentiate between distinct scents, effectively masking Aang.[12]
  • The lion turtle is the only known non-spirit creature that is able to communicate with words, albeit telepathically.
  • Lion turtles have great cultural importance in the Avatar World and are referenced several times throughout the franchise.
  • A lion turtle appeared in the beginning of the unaired pilot as a statue behind Aang.
  • The lion turtle who imparted Aang with energybending had forehead markings similar to those seen on fire lion turtles.[2]
  • Some critics claim that the lion turtle teaching Aang energybending to defeat Ozai without killing him was a deus ex machina, a device used by writers to resolve a conflict through some form of divine intervention. The creators refute this claim and insist that the lion turtle's abilities were already developed prior to its introduction.[18]
  • The lion turtle encountered by Aang was voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson, while the fire and air lion turtles met by Wan were voiced by Jim Cummings and Stephen Stanton, respectively.

Gallery Edit

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Hedrick, Tim (writer) & Graham, Ian (director). (October 18, 2013). "Beginnings, Part 2". The Legend of Korra. Season 1. Episode 20. Nickelodeon.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Heck, Colin (director). (October 18, 2013). "Beginnings, Part 1". The Legend of Korra. Season 1. Episode 19. Nickelodeon.
  3. From older Avatar: The Last Airbender official site, originally on Nick.com (link). No longer updated, encyclopedia now broken though archived here.
  4. 4.0 4.1 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Avatar: The Last Airbender—The Art of the Animated Series.
  7. 7.0 7.1 O'Bryan, John (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (July 14, 2006). "The Library". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 10. Nickelodeon.
  8. Avatar Extras for "Sokka's Master" on Nicktoons Network.
  9. Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Lost Adventures.
  10. DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (April 15, 2005). "Winter Solstice, Part 2: Avatar Roku". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 8. Nickelodeon.
  11. 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.
  12. Sozin's Comet: The Final Battle, pages 56-57.
  13. O'Bryan, John (writer) & Lioi, Anthony (director). (March 18, 2005). "The King of Omashu". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 5. Nickelodeon.
  14. Hedrick, Tim (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (October 12, 2007). "Sokka's Master". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 4. Nickelodeon.
  15. Mattila, Katie (writer) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director). (October 19, 2007). "The Beach". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 5. Nickelodeon.
  16. 16.0 16.1 DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim, Ryu, Ki Hyun (directors). (April 14, 2012). "Welcome to Republic City". The Legend of Korra. Season 1. Episode 1. Nickelodeon.
  17. DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim, Ryu, Ki Hyun (directors). (May 19, 2012). "The Aftermath". The Legend of Korra. Season 1. Episode 7. Nickelodeon.
  18. Sozin's Comet: The Avatar's Story Ends. CraveOnline. CraveOnline Media (July 22, 2008). Retrieved on March 16, 2013.

See also Edit

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