Malina was a waterbender, engineer, and architect from the Northern Water Tribe as well as the sister of Maliq. After the end of the Hundred Year War, she moved from the Earth Kingdom, where she had spent most of her early life, to the Southern Water Tribe, where, with her brother's help, she oversaw the modernization of the buildings in the tribal capital, as part of the Southern Reconstruction Project. In secret, she and her brother had been tasked with colonizing the area, as the Northern Water Tribe believed the Southern Tribe incapable of handling important natural resources.
While at the South Pole, Malina fell in love with the local Head Chieftain Hakoda, and came to greatly respect the Southerners. She abandoned her colonization plans, and instead focused all her energy at improving the Southern Water Tribe's standards of living as well as international status. The project faced resistance by Southern nationalists under Gilak who eventually revealed that Maliq had secretly continued the colonization efforts without Malina's consent. Despite this, Malina was allowed to remain in the South, as she publicly distanced herself from her brother's plans and continued to support Hakoda amid the developing crisis. She proved instrumental in defeating Gilak's uprising and continued to help the Southern Water Tribe to grow into an economic power.
Malina was born sometime during the last half of the Hundred Year War in the Northern Water Tribe along with her brother, Maliq. At some point, she and her brother moved to the Earth Kingdom, where she studied at Ba Sing Se University. By the time they moved to the South Pole to aid Hakoda with the design and construction of more modern buildings, they had spent more of their lives in the Earth Kingdom than they had in the North Pole.
As the Southern Reconstruction Project made steady progress, the Northerners working at the South Pole discovered a huge deposit of crude oil under the region's surface, just as Maliq had suspected. The Northern Water Tribe's leadership decided that the Southern Water Tribe was not ready to handle such an important resource, and decided to quasi-colonize the South Pole. Both Malina as well as Maliq initially agreed to the plan, but as time went on, Malina felt conflicted about these plans. She realized that the Southern Water Tribe might be poor and technologically outpaced, but still had capable people and a resilient culture. In addition, she fell in love and began a romatic relationship with Head Chieftain Hakoda. As a result, Malina decided to abandon the colonization project, and informed Hakoda of the old plans. Unbeknownst to her, Maliq continued to prepare for a Northern takeover without her support.
Meeting Katara and Sokka
On the day Katara and Sokka returned to the South Pole for the first time since the end of the war, Malina and her brother were in Hakoda's temporary office in the city government building, waiting for him to finish some paperwork. As she waited, Katara and Sokka entered the office. After Hakoda stood and embraced his children, he introduced them to Malina and Maliq. Malina was excited to meet the two siblings, calling them "celebrity heroes". She was surprised to learn that Katara and Sokka had already met the men on her construction crew, and that they had had a confrontation about the lack of a fence around one of their active construction sites.
After dismissing the crew from the office, she showed Katara and Sokka her plans for a new, large palace she planned to build for Hakoda, a building intended to serve as his home and office. She passionately declared that such a building would act as a statement to the rest of the world, causing the other nations to view the Southern Tribe as developing with the rest of the post-war world. She laughed when Sokka asked if they could build a slide in the middle of the new palace. Taking a liking to his fresh ideas, she offered him a position as a consultant on the construction crew, which he accepted. Maliq and Malina offered to take Sokka and Katara to dinner, and the former again heartily accepted their offer.
That night, as she ate at the Two Fishes Northern Cuisine with Katara, Sokka, Hakoda, and Maliq, Malina told Sokka and Katara that she welcomed the arrival of the restaurant in the Southern Tribe, as she had difficulty adjusting to Southern food; the differences in the two varieties of food, while subtle, were very off-putting to her. When a server boy spilled a large, silver vessel filled with soup on their table, she rose and tried to comfort him. As she and the others were distracted, a server girl snatched Maliq's briefcase from under the table. When Maliq tried to stop her, she hit him in the face with the briefcase and dashed for the exit, leading Malina to bend water from a small aquarium and create a thin sheet of ice beneath the girl's feet, causing her to slip and fall. However, facing toward the girl left her back unprotected, and the server boy hurled the large silver vessel at her. It caught her off-guard and, as she fell to the floor, she hit her head on the corner of a large piece of wooden furniture, knocking her unconscious.
After Katara and Sokka left to chase the fleeing servers, who had successfully escaped with the briefcase, the unconscious Malina's head was bandaged, and she was taken to Kanna's hut to rest, while Maliq kept watch outside. As she rested, Hakoda arrived to see her. When Katara and Sokka entered the hut unannounced several moments later, they were shocked to find Hakoda and Malina in the middle of a passionate kiss.
Showcasing the oil deposits and refinery
The next day, Malina and her brother took Katara and Sokka to a oil deposit where a refinery had already been built. Sokka mentioned that he would be needing to take a look around it in order to be able to tell people what to do in the near future. Malina laughed and pointed out that he had his father's sense of humor, to which the former replied that he had not tried to be funny. Malina and Maliq started moving toward the deposit to give the two siblings a tour of the place, with Maliq setting the stage to a very distracted pair of brothers. When Sokka asked Maliq to repeat everything he had just said, Malina mentioned that sometimes her brother gets carried away when explaining something and so she decided to get to the point and inform them that they had discovered a large deposit of oil in the South Pole and were planning on extracting it. When a confused Sokka and Katara asked what they meant, Maliq pointed out that the oil could be used for engine fuel, with Malina adding that oil is the key to lifting up the South. An offended Katara stated that she did not realize they needed any "lifting up". Malina, realizing she had offended her, replied that what she had said had come out wrong, but when she tried to clarify what it is she was actually trying to say, she was interrupted by her brother, who pointed out that the deposit was not just big - it was the biggest in the world and proceeded to mention all the implications that came with that, but the most important one being equality among benders.
When Sokka was informed that Malina and her brother were working with the Earthen Fire Refinery, Malina informed the latter that the refinery was sending a representative over so as to walk them through their own refinery's expansion, subsequently pointing out that the representative was heading over to them at that very moment. After Toph greeted Sokka and Katara, Malina formally thanked her for coming, saluting her alongside her brother. She was told to call her by her name, as opposed to "Ms. Beifong". Toph told Malina and Maliq that she had been looking forward to visiting them because she was a big fan of the future and from what she had heard, Malina and her brother were all about just that.
Malina and her brother subsequently invited everyone to a festival they would be hosting in honor of their new partnership with Earthen Fire. Malina also added that everyone was invited, but that they would like to have them come as guests of honor; pointing out that there would be music, games, and food as well.
During the festival, Malina was halted by Katara, who wanted to thank her for having invited her and her brother to the festival and added that they were having a lot of fun. Malina told her not to worry about it, letting her know that she and Maliq thought the world of both Sokka and her. Turning around in astonishment, she inquired as to whether or not it was the Avatar who had just won at a game stand. Katara confirmed this inquiry and added that she would be happy to introduce her to him. Malina exclaimed that she would more than like that, but was interrupted by her brother, who apologized for doing so, but mentioned it was time for them both to make an announcement. Malina thanked Katara, who had promised to introduce her to Aang when she finished, as she would make sure that the Avatar would not go anywhere.
Malina started the announcement by asking the people of the Southern Water Tribe if they were having a good time, to which the audience responded positively. She reminded the crowd who she and her brother were and informed that they were there as part of the Southern Reconstruction Project, which would usher the South Pole to a new era. She told the audience that they would help them make the most of their natural resources so that they could establish a presence for themselves on the world stage. The audience clapped, albeit confused. Malina continued by stating that she was excited to announce Earthen Fire Industries as their partners in this. She informed the crowd that the representative from Earthen Fire Industries was Toph Beifong, before being interrupted by her brother, who reminded her that Toph preferred the term "executive partner".
Correcting herself, she asked where Toph was, subsequently asking the latter if she would like to come up and say a few words. Toph accepted, yelling at everyone to evacuate the area just before Gilak and his army arrived, announcing himself as the tribe's brother and accusing Malina and Maliq as people who wanted nothing more than to subjugate and humiliate the tribe, while stripping their land and destroying everything they are. Malina asked him what he was talking about, to which Gilak replied indirectly that oil had been discovered by them beneath their homeland. Malina interrupted, telling the tribe that the oil would bring prosperity to the people of the Southern Water Tribe only to be altercated by Gilak, who claimed that the oil would be claimed for the Northern Tribe; a claim denied by Malina.
Gilak showed Maliq's briefcase as proof of his statement, mentioning that he had read through it and claiming he knew all of their plans; the one about making the Southern Water Tribe a colony of the North included, which was classified by Malina as preposterous before exclaiming that that was not their plan, but that it had been. Malina mentioned that they had never used the word "colony", but that they had worried that the South was not ready to handle a resource so important. She added that they were wrong before being interrupted by Maliq, who claimed this was not true and that he had tried to tell her before that he had never destroyed those documents, but that she would not listen to him. He told her that he had never canceled the plans, much to Malina's astonishment. Maliq added that she would have found out sooner or later and added that he may as well inform them, as they would have found out about it as well, confirming everything Gilak had just said. Malina asked him what he was doing, but her brother just kept on going, mentioning that everything will be under Northern control because that is what must be done, but denying that it was just for the money. Malina asked him to stop once again when he told the Southern Water Tribe that what they were doing would have an impact on the world and not just their "little backward society". Maliq kept going until Malina grabbed him by the arm, furious and ordered him to stop talking.
She directed her attention to the crowd, telling them that she regretted the hurt she and her crew had caused and informing her that they would be stepping down from the Southern Reconstruction Project effective immediately and that they would leave first thing in the morning. Gilak responded by telling her that after all that, there was no chance of them just leaving and ordered his crew to attack Malina and her brother. Malina waterbent an ice shield so as to protect herself and her brother, berating him because she had told him to stay quiet. When Katara defended her, she thanked her, claiming that she knew that she was different than them and begging her to let her explain before being interrupted by the latter who told her that then was not the time. Malina tried to warn Katara that an ice pillar was heading her way, but was too late and the ice pillar sent by one of the construction workers sent her flying. Malina told them that Katara was trying to save them, calling them idiots for having defeated her. The builders told Malina that none of the Southern Water Tribe people could be trusted and that she and her brother had to get out of there. Malina, still worried about Katara, said they first had to make sure if Katara was all right, but Noa disagreed, telling them that they had to make sure that they were all right first and Katara would fine as the Southerners are used to brutality. Malina was grabbed by her brother, who told them they had to escape immediately and subsequently fled with him to where he led before he was knocked out by one of Gilak's soldiers, who proceeded to assume that people in the North are not taught to fight. Malina knelt beside Maliq as Gilak approached her, telling the latter that she did not wish to fight him, also adding that she promised to leave first thing in the morning.
However, Gilak addressed this as not being good enough and Malina was subsequently attacked by one of his soldiers, who was wielding a knife. Malina knocked him down with her waterbending, but she and her brother were soon captured with a net. Malina told the men surrounding her that they did not want to that before being successfully chi blocked by the children who had stolen Maliq's briefcase. Malina begged Gilak for mercy, telling him that her brother did not know what he was saying, but Gilak told her that she was not part of the tribe, and thus was not part of their family, which makes forgiving them harder, proceeding to tell them that they needed to serve as an example for the tribe. Malina bowed her head in defeat just as soon as Hakoda stopped Gilak from swinging his knife so as to injure the two brothers. Hakoda asked Gilak for a chance to talk as brothers, but was stabbed by Gilak when shaking hands. Malina, helpless, cried in disbelief until Aang and Katara arrived at the scene. Gilak's soldiers fled when seeing Katara, but Aang went after them. Malina and Maliq were released from the net and watched as Katara healed Hakoda.
Continued support for the Southern Reconstruction Project
Later, when Malina tried to approach Kanna's igloo to check on Hakoda, she was inquired about her intentions by Katara. Malina told Katara that she did not believe the things her brother said, but Katara reminded her that she did believe them once until she allegedly fell in love with Hakoda. Katara asked her what would happen when they fell out of love, to which Malina responded that everything is deeper than what she thinks it is. After that, Katara asked her once more what she was doing in the South Pole. Malina told Katara that her brother and her crew were released from custody under the condition that they leave in the morning an that she had only come to say goodbye to her father, but Katara told her that she does not deserve a farewell. Sokka tried to reason with his sister, but her decision was final and Malina understood, until Kanna opened the door to the igloo, stating that Hakoda wanted to see her. He informed her that she still had his trust, and that she had to stay in the South to aid the Southern Reconstruction Project. Despite fearing about her presence having a divisive effect, she hesitantly agreed.
Sometime later, Malina helped to oversee the progress of the remaining construction projects, now carried out by Toph and her metalbending students as all Northern workers had left. While there, Malina expressed her doubts about remaining in the South to Sokka who argued that she was the only one who completely understood the plans. In addition, he assured her that most Southerners were still supportive of the Southern Reconstruction Project due to Hakoda's backing, despite the nearby presence of some nationalist protestors.
On the following evening, Malina was present during a meeting which Hakoda organized to discuss the plans of expanding the Southern Water Tribe's capital into a modern city, while requesting the help of Fire Lord Zuko and Earth King Kuei. To her horror, however, the conference was interrupted by Gilak and his followers who had broken out of prison. She was shielded from the attackers by Hakoda who then ordered one of his guards to bring her to safety. Malina protested, as she wanted to help him, but the chieftain insisted. Before she could be brought to safety, more of Gilak's troops bursted through the windows, while the nationalist leader knocked Hakoda unconscious. Gilak then took the chieftain and tried to flee with him, causing Malina to scream in fear for her beloved. While she stayed behind at the town hall, Team Avatar chased after Gilak and managed to free Hakoda, bringing him back to Malina's great relief. To everyone's surprise, however, Kuei was missing, as the rebels had taken him hostage amid the confusion.
As Hakoda recuperated on a sofa in the town hall, Malina urged him to rest, but he demurred out of concern for the Earth King. She noted that Bosco worried about Kuei as well. As the group discussed how to save the monarch, a messenger hawk arrived with Gilak's demands. After reading them, Malina argued that the nationalist wanted to arrange an "impossible situation" during which could easily kill both the earth monarch as well as Hakoda. The members of Team Avatar worked out a rescue plan, however, assigning Malina a crucial role.
At the following confronation at the Bridge of No Return, Malina and Toph's students ambushed Gilak as was about to destroy the bridge with Kuei and Hakoda still on it. Meanwhile, the rest of Team Avatar overwhelmed Thod and some other nationalists. With Gilak as the last standing insurgent, Malina urged him to surrender, as he was clearly defeated. She promised to request mercy for him from Hakoda, but the proud warrior would rather die than submit to a northerner. He stormed onto the bridge with Malina running after him. Before she could tackle him, he used his torch to set fire to the bridge's rope to kill Hakoda and Kuei. As Malina and Gilak struggled, Fire Lord Zuko extinguished the flames, but the rope was already too damaged and snapped, sending the bridge tumbling down. Malina held onto the bridge's remains before they fully broke. Aang swooped in on his glider to try and catch Hakoda, Malina, and Gilak, yet the nationalist was still determined to kill the chieftain. He lunged at Hakoda, whereupon Malina let go of his hand, letting him fall to his death in the ravine. This struggle weakened Aang's grip on Hakoda. To help Aang and thereby save Hakoda's life, Malina let go of Hakoda after proclaiming her love for him. As she fell, she was caught by Katara who used her bending to save them both.
- Maliq (brother)
- North and South trilogy
- Malina shares her name with the wife of Unalaq and mother of Desna and Eska.
- Malina's reddish-brown hair color is unusual for Water Tribes natives, who generally have dark brown or black hair.
- Malina and her brother Maliq are the third pair of Water Tribe siblings where the sister is a waterbender and the brother is a nonbender, the first being Sokka and Katara, the second Rafa and Misu.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Official Family Trees. Nickelodeon. Retrieved on January 23, 2015.