|"At the core of human nature is the will to dominate [...] there can be no balance between the Spirit World and the human one."|
|— Old Iron expressing his beliefs to Avatar Aang.|
General Old Iron is a giant humanoid spirit who protected Lady Tienhai during the era of Raava. After his friend passed away centuries later, he went on a rampage against the people that caused Tienhai's death, though later relented after striking a deal with Avatar Yangchen. In 102 AG, Old Iron rose again and threatened to destroy the city when the land had been defiled by humans and his old armor being stolen. After being vanquished by Avatar Aang, he permanently left the shore surrounding the Earth Kingdom city, frustrated with the idea that humans only sought to dominate.
When the spirits still roamed the earth freely, General Old Iron resided on the seashore, near where centuries later the city of Yu Dao would be erected. He protected his friend, Lady Tienhai, while she tended to their surroundings, which would become Earth Kingdom territory. When a tribe of humans made their home on the cliff near the shore without asking permission, General Old Iron intended on eradicating them before they could grow prosperous, as he had heard of humans wiping out the spirits in other places around the world. Before he could execute his plan, he was stopped by Lady Tienhai, who forsook their friendship to save the humans. As a result, General Old Iron left the city for a long time.
Centuries later, General Old Iron felt Lady Tienhai exhale her last breath. He assumed that she was killed by the humans, unaware that Tienhai had fallen in love with the settlers' prince and thus gave up her immortality to be with him, resulting in her dying of natural causes and taking on a new form. Devastated, he returned to that place, intent on wiping out the entire populace. Old Iron met Avatar Yangchen, but he easily swatted her aside when she addressed him and made his way toward the city. However, the Avatar returned and they fought through the night, destroying the city in the progress.
By the break of dawn, Old Iron communicated his story with Yangchen, letting her know who he was and why he was so vengeful toward the people living there. When the local king corroborated his story, he started to attack the people directly, though was persuaded to cease his assault and come to an arrangement with Yangchen, the upkeep of which she vowed to ensure. Old Iron vowed to never take up his armor again so long as the land remained free of human civilization. In return, Yangchen constructed a memorial in Tienhai's image and lead her people on yearly pilgrimages to the site to pay respect to the guardian spirit, the land being declared sacred so no one would think to develop the area, to prove that humans could protect and preserve nature.
In 102 AG, after Loban and the Rough Rhinos began to pull Old Iron's armor from the city, the furious spirit emerged from the sea and took it back, dragging Loban, Satoru, and Sokka with him as he stormed into the city. Seeing the deal he had made with Yangchen being broken, he began to attack, threatening to wipe humans from existence. He was quickly challenged by Aang, who had constructed an earthen shield to match Old Iron's form and activated the Avatar State to enhance his power. The general matched with the Avatar blow-for-blow, but his iron armor was soon metalbent off of him by Toph and her students. He demanded to know why the metalbenders were tearing his shielding apart and set to attack them, but Aang ripped a hole in his chest with a blast of all four elements.
Tears appearing in his eyes, Old Iron realized there was no place for his kind in the world and saw that he was significantly weaker than the humans. Unconvinced by Aang's pleas that he could maintain balance between the physical and Spirit Worlds, the spirit told him that he was only fooling himself and the Avatar would always side with the humans in a rift between them and the spirits. He added that humans, even Aang, had a will to dominate and the worlds could never be balanced. Acknowledging his defeat, Old Iron transformed into serpent lobster spirits and retreated under the sea for good.
General Old Iron is a powerful spirit who can coat himself in a sturdy armor of iron to increase his resilience in battle.
Old Iron's enormous size enables him to easily crush his opponents and surroundings.
Graphic novel trilogies
- The Rift trilogy
- General Old Iron was inspired by General Thousand-Miles Eye and General With-Wind Ear, two guardians who accompany Mazu, the patron goddess of seafarers.
- The serpent lobster spirits that Old Iron becomes in his new form were the precursors of his character during the development of The Rift.
- General Old Iron's rock armor resembles that worn by samurai.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 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.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 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 Two (July 2, 2014), Dark Horse Comics.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 The Rift Library Edition, page 146.