The Northern Water Tribe Royal Palace is the seat of government in the Northern Water Tribe, housing the tribal chief and his family. Located in the tribe's capital city, the palace is one of the most recognizable landmarks and can be seen from most anywhere in the city. In here, the chief and his advisers sit and make decisions regarding the tribe.
The Northern Water Tribe Royal Palace was built long before the start of the Hundred Year War, when a group of waterbenders came together to build the capital city in an attempt to unite the tribes of the North Pole. Formal control over the Water Tribes was consolidated to a single chief, with the palace serving as the seat of the local government.
Avatar Roku studied waterbending at the Northern Water Tribe and, as a test for his mastery, he and his teacher held a duel in the waters before the palace. A powerful counterattack from the Fire Nation native slammed his teacher down against the palace's walls.
When Avatar Aang and his friends, Sokka and Katara, arrived at the Northern Water Tribe in the winter of 100 AG, they were warmly welcomed at the palace by the chief at the time, Arnook. Inside the main hall, a welcome feast was held in the Avatar's honor, as well as for the occasion of Princess Yue's sixteenth birthday. To entertain the guests, Master Pakku and his students performed a waterbending show, after which he accepted Aang to be his student. After Katara was denied to study under the master as well and received secretive lessons from Aang at night, she was called to the palace where she needed to apologize for her disrespectful acts. However, she refused to do so and challenged Pakku to a duel in the main hall. Although he refused at first, the two ultimately dueled in the palace courtyard, and Katara would later be deemed a waterbending master by Pakku at that same location.
As the Fire Navy arrived at the city, Arnook called together a meeting inside the palace's hall. There, he announced that a special team would be formed by volunteers to defend the tribe, whom he marked with a special sign on their foreheads. When it became clear that the defending warriors would need help, Princess Yue led Aang and Katara through the palace toward the Spirit Oasis, where the young Avatar would ask the spirits for help. As Aang merged with La, the Ocean Spirit, to form one being, the two appeared behind the palace and walked through it, engulfing the structure as they passed.
In 151 AG, the palace and the rest of the Northern Water Tribe came under attack by dark spirits after Prince Tonraq inadvertently angered them by destroying the sacred forest where they resided. Although the entities were calmed down and sent on their way again, Tonraq was called before his father, the chief at that time, in the throne room, where he was banished for his actions.
The palace's design mimics that of a tiered pyramid. Leading up to the front entrance is a large staircase which is bordered on either side by a decorative pillar. A pool of water and a number of artificially designed waterfalls surround the building, giving it a unique ambiance; the liquid for this system is supplied by various pipelines that pour water into the pool from directly below the temple. During special events after nightfall, the interior of the temple is lit up, so that light shines through the front entrance and the central windows up to the top floor of the structure.
The interior of the building is intricately designed, featuring a decorative arch with four pillars, two cauldron-shaped ice sculptures, carvings of Water Tribe symbols, a rug adorned with the insignia of the nation, and an artificial waterfall behind the arch.
Bedrooms in the palace are very large and luxurious, reflecting the royal status of its occupants. The rooms, like the other buildings of the tribe, are made out of ice. However, wooden furniture, such as drawers and bed frames, decorations, such as spears and swords, and rugs on the floor can be added to contrast the cold coming from the ice.
The courtyard is a spacious area where the residents of the tribe gather to visit the palace, and get a sight of the Royal Family members. In this courtyard, Pakku trained his students, utilizing the dual pools present and the openness of the area to his advantage. The courtyard also served as the location where Katara challenged Pakku to a duel for the right to be taught waterbending like a man.
The dining area is a large area outside of the palace, used for feasting with large groups of people. The meals are boiled in a hot source located at the center of the area, and the people are seated in rising rows to the side. The most important guests and attendees are seated on the table of honor, while the others flank them on either sides. Opposite the table of honor is a stage on which shows can be performed.
The throne room of the palace is an intricately designed room where the chief and his advisers make decisions. Over the course of fifty years, the room underwent several changes. During Aang's visit at 99 AG, the throne room was a spacious room without an actual throne; the tribal chief and his advisors were perched on elevated ground. Behind them, an elaborate ice decorative structure was erected to signal the importance of the people sitting before it. However, by 151 AG, the elevated ground was replaced in favor of an actual throne, placed underneath the decorative structure. The room itself, as well as the pillars of the structure above the throne, was decorated with carvings of the animal spirits watching over the tribe.
- The palace is the most recurring location of the Northern Water Tribe, appearing multiple times during Katara and Aang's waterbending training as well as in a number of battle scenes that take place during the Siege of the North.
- The castle was remodeled following the end of the Hundred Year War.
- The design of the chief's palace is similar to that of gopuram, large, ornate towers situated at the entrances of Hindu temples, particularly those in Southern India.
- It also bears resemblance to Venkateswara, a large, white temple in the Chittoor district of India whose composition of windows is similar to that of the royal palace.