|Admit mistakes when they occur and seek to restore honor.
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|"Yesterday, I had to save this woman named Malina. You've never met her. She's different from you -- really different -- but I have a feeling you would have liked her. When I saved her, I felt a courage deep inside, a familiar sort of courage. I'd felt it before when I fought Azula. And when I saved Aang as we left the crystal catacombs. And when Admiral Zhao killed the moon spirit and we had to bring it back. That was your courage, Mom. The courage you passed onto me."|
|— Katara speaking to her mother's grave.|
North and South Part Three is the third installment of the North and South trilogy. It was released in comic book stores on April 26, 2017 and in mass market retailers on May 9, 2017.
Fire Lord Zuko and Earth King Kuei arrive in the Southern Water Tribe amid protests of Gilak's imprisonment. While the leaders hold council to solidify Malina and Hakoda's unification plans, Gilak breaks free and leads a powerful rebellion! In the face of these two opposing tribes, Katara will have to make peace with her nostalgia and distrust to save the home she loves from being permanently torn apart.
The morning after Gilak's imprisonment and Hakoda's stabbing, Toph and her metalbending students begin doing construction work on the factory at the South Pole as protesters gather at the fence surrounding the site. Her students question the reason for their being there, Toph tells them her reasons, though she dislikes them, are political. Katara, the only Southern waterbender, is against the factory's construction and believes the presence of any Northerners would only further damage the current precarious state of affairs in the South. Malina and Sokka stand nearby; the former believes she should have left with Maliq, but Sokka assures her that the protesters will change their minds once they come to understand the benefits of the Southern Reconstruction Project. Looking at the angry protesters, Malina hopes Sokka's assessment is right.
Pakku attempts to teach Siku and Sura the art of waterbending. He stands the children in front of large basins of water and shows them a form, but they refuse to cooperate, asserting that they are not waterbenders. Despairing that he has had to tolerate three weeks of their defiant behavior, Pakku calls Katara and Aang into the room, in the hopes that watching the Avatar waterbend will convince them to drop their act. After watching the two of them, Sura and Siku open up to them a little. They admit that they are waterbenders but reveal that their mother, out of fear of the Fire Nation, made them promise never to waterbend or to tell anyone about their abilities.
As the children run from the room and Aang and Katara wonder if such a significant change might be too much for them to handle, Hakoda, still bandaged and walking with a cane, joins them. Moments later, Hakoda, Katara, and Aang leave the room, the latter two intending to escort Hakoda on the rest of his morning walk. As they walk, Hakoda tells them again of his desire for the South to join forces with the other nations in an effort to rebuild it. When Aang and Katara question him, he stands his ground, referring to what happened in Pakku's class just moments before: "A Northerner, a Southerner, and an Air Nomad, all working together to recover a tradition that was almost lost." He informs them that he has invited the Earth King and Fire Lord to a conference that will take place that evening, where he intends to talk to the two rulers about international collaboration. He asks Aang and Katara to sit in on the talks.
That evening, Zuko and Kuei, who has Bosco with him, arrive via two separate airships. Kuei, who is off-put by the cold, does not fail to notice the crowd of protesters standing nearby, nor does Zuko. When Sokka walks out to meet them, he assures them that the crowd will come to understand their plan once they see it in action. As the three and Bosco walk from the landing area, a protester yells at Sokka, accusing him of having been abroad too long and claiming he has forgotten his place. Sokka does not reply and simply urges Zuko and Kuei to keep walking.
In prison, Gilak asks a guard standing outside his cell if Hakoda invited foreigners into the country to attend a conference. When the guard answers in the affirmative, adding that they have already arrived, Gilak asks if the guard heard his speech to the tribe the night before. Again, the guard answers "yes", prompting Gilak to ask how he can stand to be in the service of a traitor. The guard rejects the assertion, at which point Gilak demands to know if the guard stands with the South or with "Hakoda's so-called 'future'". When the guard states his belief that having both is possible, Gilak stands, uses the key to open the door to his cell, and subdues the shocked guard, knocking him unconscious. After apologizing to Lirin, the guard who slipped him the key to his cell, for attacking the guard, Gilak frees a sleeping Thod from his cell.
Hakoda explains to the other world leaders and Team Avatar his plan for the modernization of the South and building stronger relationships between all the nations. The chief asks Zuko and Kuei for funds to assist in this expansion project due to the South's suffering economy, and while the former is quick to offer support, the latter is more hesitant because of the Earth Kingdom's own needs. The Earth King suggests that he may be able to give funds once the tribe shows it is becoming more civilized, which Katara takes offense to. As Kuei attempts to apologize, a guard bursts in and alerts them that Gilak and his army have escaped the prison. Gilak and his men enter with Officer Lirin and begin fighting Team Avatar. Gilak explains that he came not to attack the foreigners but to dispose of and replace Hakoda as Chief, seeing him as the root of the South's problems. He seizes Hakoda and flees but is pursued by Katara and Aang, who ultimately force him to release his prisoner and escape alone. After they return, Zuko realizes that Gilak's forces kidnapped Earth King Kuei.
After Malina and Hakoda get back, Malina tells Hakoda he should get some rest. Hakoda responds, saying that he does not think he can because he is too worried about the Earth King. The rest of Team Avatar returns, with no progress on finding Earth King Kuei. Aang decided they should rest for a little while and get back to searching as soon as they could. Soon after, a messenger hawk flew in through the window with a message for Chief Hakoda. He read the message and told the group it was from Gilak. The message stated that Gilak would like to make an exchange, Hakoda's life for the Earth King's. Sokka, after reading it, added the exchange was to take place at the Bridge of No Return, a place where the village used to deal with their criminals. Katara explained further that if anyone in the village ever did anything unforgivable, they would be forced to walk across the bridge, and never return. Sokka added that the terrain there was the most dangerous in all of the South Pole and how nothing could stay alive there long. Sokka elaborated on the plan Gilak proposed: While Team Avatar and Gilak's army would remain on either side of the bridge, Thod and his two disciples would cross over to chi block all Team Avatar's benders, and as soon as Hakoda would start to walk across, Gilak would send over Earth King Kuei. Zuko, remarking he knew how villains thought from his past experience, was sure that Gilak would cheat and cut the rope bridge, so Sokka decided to come up with a plan in case that would happen.
When they got to The Bridge of No Return, nobody was present yet. Katara lamented the lackluster and tumultuous trip back home, but Sokka wondered what the Southern Water Tribe was even like before the war, concluding the idealistic vision Katara had of it never existed. Gilak arrived on the other side with the Earth King. As planned, Thod and his disciples came over and chi blocked Aang, Katara, Toph, Zuko, and Sokka. Right after that, Hakoda started walking over to the other side of the bridge and, at the same time, Gilak sent over the Earth King. As soon as they got to the middle of the bridge, Gilak took out his sword and was about to cut the bridge, but Malina stopped him from behind, followed closely by The Dark One, Penga, and Ho Tun. The group took out Gilak's guards while Aang, Katara, Toph, Zuko, and Sokka suddenly jumped up and took out Thod and his disciples. Thod asked Sokka how he did it, Sokka replied delightedly, showing Thod the plate mail armor he and Team Beifong had designed.
On the other side of the bridge, Malina asked Gilak to surrender, but he refused. He charged onto the bridge with a torch and started burning its supports along with him, the Earth King, Hakoda, and Malina on it. Zuko rushed onto the bridge and put out the fire with his bending, only a little too late; the bridge broke with everyone on it, but they all managed to hang onto the ropes and planks as it slammed into the ravine wall below. Zuko grabbed the Earth King's hand and used his fire bending to fly the Earth King to safety. While Toph reinforced the bridge supports with more stone to slow its collapse, Aang and Katara hurriedly climbed down on the edge of the ravine to save Hakoda, Malina, and Gilak, the former using his glider. But Gilak, dangling from Malina's grip, enraged and not caring if he dies, was moving around too much while Aang struggled to hang onto Hakoda and the weight of three adults; when Gilak tried to stab the other two with his sword, Malina reluctantly let go of his hand, leading to his demise in the ravine. Aang was still having a hard time holding onto Hakoda and Malina, so Malina let go of Hakoda to sacrifice herself after proclaiming her love for him. Katara, moved by Malina's love, used her bending to save her just in time.
After the ordeal, Katara and Sokka visited their mother's grave. Katara talked to her mother, telling her that she felt courageous when saving Malina, musing that her courage came from Kya. She accepted that it was impossible for things to "go back to the way they were supposed to be" because that would include Kya being alive. She revealed that she was no longer uneasy about change because Kya, a symbol of the "old" Southern Water Tribe, was with her all along. Just then Aang, followed by Siku and Sura, approached them, and Katara told the girls about how her mother sacrificed herself not only to save Katara, but also Southern style waterbending. Moved by her story, the sisters decide to show Katara a display of their bending power.
Later that day, Kanna, Pakku, Hakoda, Malina, Kuei, and Bosco gathered in the main room of Kanna and Pakku's hut. While Aang, Katara, Toph, and Zuko were in the kitchen cooking, Kanna remarked how wrong it felt having other people using her kitchen, and Kuei mentioned to Bosco that the warmth and care given to them by the citizens of the Southern Water Tribe was about the highest form of civilization they could get. They were subsequently joined by Team Avatar, who had each cooked a special dish from their respective nations, and the group gathered around to eat together.
Library Edition reveals
The North and South Library Edition compiles all three parts of the North and South trilogy as well as interjects trivia- and production-based notes in the sidebar of many pages. These notes were written by Gene Yang and the Gurihiru team. The following are notable points from the Library Edition that pertain to North and South Part Three's early production phase and trivialities as attested by the aforementioned crew members.
- Gene Yang (author-perspective, storytelling trivia):
- In the initial drafts, Kuei was written to be more condescending when talking about the South, referring to them as a "lesser" form of civilization. Yang rewrote his character after DiMartino noted that this did not match Kuei's portrayal in the series (p. 173).
- Yang referred to Sokka as the Avatar World's version of the A-Team, a team consisting of ex-special forces operatives. According to Yang, Sokka was "the whole team, rolled into one teenage Water Tribe kid" (p. 195).
- Yang researched Inuit grave sites to guide writing the scene in which Katara addressed her mother's grave (p. 220).
- Gurihiru (stylistic and artistic trivia):
- The modernized harbor map Hakoda showed during a meeting of different national leaders was meant to look like the port from The Legend of Korra (p. 172).
- An Inuit grave was used to model Kya's grave (p. 220).
- North and South Part 2 and 3 Covers Revealed. Avatar: The Last Airbender Online.com (February 18, 2016). Retrieved on February 18, 2016.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender - North and South Part Three release date. Penguin Random House. Retrieved on September 6, 2016.