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"I remember when I moved out of my parents' house to become an Air Acolyte. That first night I was so scared and lonely ... I really wanted to be there, but it still took time for me to adjust and feel like I was a part of it all."
— Pema to Tenzin.[1]

Pema is the wife of Tenzin and the mother of their four children: Jinora, Ikki, Meelo, and Rohan. A loving mother, she cares deeply for her family, though at times feels overwhelmed by the airbending abilities of her rambunctious children.[2] She is a nonbending Air Acolyte who lives with her family on Air Temple Island and as the mother of the new generation of airbenders, she has gained fame among the Air Acolytes.[4] She is kind and compassionate, a trait that makes her always willing to help out, even if the situation is dire.[5] She enjoys spending time with spiritual endeavors.[2]


Early life

At some point in her life, Pema left her parents and pursued her desire to become an Air Acolyte. Initially, she struggled to adjust to her new life, feeling scared and alone on her first night. Over time, however, she adjusted and settled in as she grew to feel like part of the group.[1]

Prior to 160 AG, Pema fell in love with Tenzin. At that time, he was in a romantic relationship with Lin Beifong, though their relationship began to falter due to their different goals in life. Unable to bear seeing her true love spend his life with another woman, Pema confessed her love to the airbender, who broke off his relationship with Lin. In a fit of rage, the police chief attempted to incarcerate Pema following this, but was unsuccessful.[6] Pema and Tenzin later married and started their own family.[7]

170 AG

Supporting her family and Korra

Pema was not pleased with Katara's prediction that her unborn child would be an airbender, preferring at least one of her children to be a nonbender like her.

When Pema traveled to the South Pole with her family to see Katara and Avatar Korra, she expressed her frustration to her mother-in-law about having only airbending children, as well as her desire for her fourth child to be a nonbender.[8]

Later, Korra journeyed to Pema's family's home and stayed with them for several months in order to complete her airbending training. The impetuous teenager turned Pema's quiet life upside down.[9]

When Korra did not come to dinner one night, a frustrated Tenzin confessed to Pema that he did not know how to get through to Korra. She comforted her husband by telling him that the best thing he could do for Korra at the time was to give her some space.[10]

When Councilman Tarrlok visited Pema and her family at dinner, she gave her husband a look of irritation, but after the waterbender noted that airbenders never send away a hungry guest, Tenzin reluctantly allowed him to stay, much to Pema's discontent. She later attended a gala Tarrlok threw in honor of Korra along with her family at City Hall.[11]

While Korra was talking with Jinora and Ikki about how to approach Mako, Pema appeared from behind. Korra asked her how long she had been there, to which Pema replied that it had been enough time to understand the situation. She went on to tell Korra the story behind herself and Tenzin's relationship, and advised the Avatar to be honest about her feelings, as she had been with Tenzin.[7]

Anti-bending Revolution

Pema and Tenzin admired Rohan upon his birth.

After Korra escaped from Tarrlok's cabin, she returned to Air Temple Island where Pema welcomed her with a hearty meal. After the dinner, Pema and Asami washed the dishes, and when Mako entered requesting more tea for Korra, Asami seemed angry with him. Pema then left to allow them to talk things over, leaving with a look of dread on her face at the realization of the effect of her advice to Korra. Later, as the Equalists began attacking Republic City, Pema gave birth to her fourth child, naming him Rohan. The family fled Air Temple Island minutes after the birth, heading to safety away from the city in order to preserve the Air Nomad race.[12]

Pema was later imprisoned by Amon along with Rohan, while her husband and children were captured. She was later rescued and reunited with her family, after which they welcomed Tenzin's brother, Bumi. She joined her family and friends in a journey to the South Pole in hopes that Katara could restore Korra's bending, and eventually spectated Korra restoring Lin's earthbending at the Avatar Temple.[13]

171 AG

Journey to the air temples

Pema returned to the South Pole with her family, this time for the Glacier Spirits Festival. Once Tenzin was relieved of his post as instructor to the Avatar,[14] she traveled with him, their children, and her siblings-in-law to the Southern Air Temple, where she was greeted with great respect. Pema was bewildered when Abbot Shung, the head caretaker of the temple, showered her family with gifts, expressing their respect for the mother of the next generation of airbenders.[15]

Relieved with Ikki's return, Pema rushed over to her daughter to hug away her worry.

Some time later, Pema was relaxing with Tenzin, listening in as her husband talked with his siblings about childhood vacations. When Jinora and Meelo arrived, Pema noticed that Ikki was not with them. After Pema asked about their sister, the young airbenders reluctantly revealed that they had been teasing her and that Ikki had run away. Pema scolded both children, angrily asking the two why they could not get along better.[4] When Tenzin returned with her youngest daughter the following evening, she rushed over to hug Ikki, expressing her relief over her return. She immediately directed her attention to Jinora and Meelo, sternly asking whether or not there was something they wanted to tell Ikki, forcing them to apologize.[16] A few days later, she witnessed in awe as her oldest son orchestrated a ring-tailed winged lemur air show.[17]

Having arrived at the Eastern Air Temple, Pema was relaxing with Rohan and the rest of her family in the temple's courtyard, until Tenzin arrived and announced their itinerary for the day. Before they could embark on the tour of the temple, Korra arrived, pleasantly surprising everyone. However, as the Avatar recalled the events they had missed by being closed off from the outside world, Pema listened in shock.

Pema was shocked to learn that Tenzin, despite all his meditating, had never been into the Spirit World before.

Later that day, Pema was surprised to hear her husband confess that he had never been to the Spirit World, as she was under the impression that all the days Tenzin had spent meditating at Air Temple Island meant that he had crossed over before. However, when Jinora revealed her ability to communicate with spirits, telling her dragonfly bunny spirits that it was safe to show themselves, Pema was impressed and proud of her eldest child. She remained at the temple with all her children, save for Jinora, while her husband, siblings-in-law, and Korra followed the spirits to a good place for the Avatar to meditate.[18]

Approaching Harmonic Convergence

Heartbroken and worried, Pema cradled the spirit-less body of Jinora.

Upon their return the following day, Pema instantly noticed the dark atmosphere that surrounded her family as well as the absence of her eldest daughter. When asked about her whereabouts, Tenzin showed her Jinora's still form, explaining that her spirit was trapped in the Spirit World. Heartbroken, she lovingly cradled her daughter, demanding to know how it happened. Her husband promised her that he would do everything in his power to bring their daughter back.[19]

As Tenzin, his siblings, and Korra set out to the Southern Water Tribe, Pema and the rest of her children returned home to Air Temple Island, where they watched how Vaatu, merged with Unalaq, laid waste to the city. When an energy form of Jinora intervened in the battle between Korra and Vaatu, Pema worriedly cried out to her daughter that she needed to be careful.[20]

Post-Harmonic Convergence

Two weeks later, Pema was taking care of Rohan on Air Temple Island when Ikki called for her father. She hastily followed her husband outside to find out what the problem was, though when Bumi started telling about his ventures with Bum-Ju and claimed he could airbend, she promptly turned to go back inside. During dinner, she sternly stated that if Bumi wanted to trigger his airbending by having giant boulders be chucked at him, he would need to do so outside. When Bumi successfully triggered his new power moments later, she looked on in amazement. She was present the next day when Bumi tried unsuccessfully to repeat the feat.[21]

Pema reassured Kya that Rohan liked her, even though he had just thrown up on her clothes.

After reports spread of airbenders appearing throughout the Earth Kingdom, Pema watched as Asami landed a Future Industries airship on the island in order to take Tenzin, Bumi, Jinora, and the rest of Team Avatar to Ba Sing Se, though she would remain behind with Kya. When Rohan vomited on Kya's clothes, Pema kindly stated that Rohan liked her, while gently putting her hand on her son's back. She told Tenzin she would miss him, a statement that he reiterated, while also telling her that he would send word to her as soon as they had found the airbenders so she could join them at the Northern Air Temple. Their conversation was interrupted by Ikki and Meelo, who complained about the unfairness that they needed to stay on the island while Jinora was allowed to accompany the group to Ba Sing Se. Pema looked at her husband for answers, though Kya quickly defused the tension. Moments later, she waved goodbye as the group departed on the airship.[22]

Pema and Kya were present in Air Temple Island when Meelo and Ikki introduced two new airbending recruits to Daw. Shortly after, Ikki excitedly introduced Yorru to her mother and Kya, startling the two with her enthusiasm.[23]

Pema, her children, her sister in-law, and the new airbenders journeyed to the Northern Air Temple the next day to join Tenzin. Upon disembarking, she and Kya informed Tenzin of Kya's brief fight against Zaheer, whom she unmasked.

Pema comforted Tenzin about his lack of progress with the new airbenders.

The following day, with Tenzin frustrated over his failures in training the group, Pema showed up in his meditation room and comforted her husband, reminding him that they were not Air Nomads while telling him of the difficulties she went through in transitioning to an Air Acolytes' life. She added that the airbenders probably felt the same way and advised him to be patient. She was thanked for this advice and kissed on the cheek by Tenzin.[1]

Ambushed by the Red Lotus

Pema, her family, and the airbenders were gathered in a courtyard of the Northern Air Temple by the Red Lotus to be used as leverage to get to Korra.

Upon the arrival of the Red Lotus at the temple, Pema was found by her husband in order to evacuate the temple. Cradling Rohan, she followed Tenzin through the temple's hallways, but before they could reach the bison stables, they found their path blocked by Zaheer and were lead to a courtyard where Ming-Hua and Ghazan had gathered all the other airbenders as well. Pema managed to escape when Tenzin blew their three captors back. Although they managed to reach the stables, the bison took off without them after they got spooked by one of P'Li's combustion attacks, leaving them at the mercy of the firebender.[24]

Pema and the others were ushered inside an airship by P'Li, who took them toward a cave-complex a few miles away from the temple. There, they were all released in the custody of four other Red Lotus sentries and taken deeper into the mountains. Inside an impromptu holding cell, Pema was shackled to the floor by chains on her wrists. Devising a plan to escape, Pema pleaded with the guards to give them some water, emphasizing the fact that there were children and a baby among their captives. When the guard was close enough, Jinora airbent his keys away from him, though before they could use them, Team Avatar burst through the wall and they were promptly released by them. Pema and the others were guided back outside where she reunited with her heavily battered husband.

Pema returned to Air Temple Island after Zaheer was brought down and, two weeks later, she proudly witnessed her eldest daughter being anointed as an airbending master, having received her tattoos.[25]

174 AG

Pema and her family attended the grand reopening of Republic City's Central City Station, where she listened attentively to President Raiko's speech and watched Asami Sato cut the ribbon. She later retreated to Air Temple Island together with her family, Prince Wu, Asami, Lin Beifong, Mako, and the presidential couple. That night, when an Air Acolyte notified the gathered group of the arrival of a ship from the South, they all went to the dock to greet Korra, who was scheduled to arrive. However, they were shocked to learn that the Avatar had left the Southern Water Tribe six months prior, leaving everyone to wonder about her whereabouts.[26]

Pema explained to Meelo that sometimes things got smudged in the wild in order to get him to accept a sweet bun that had its happy face smeared.

A few days later, as her three eldest children were preparing Pepper to leave on their quest to find Korra, a worried Pema asked her husband if there really was no way he could accompany them. Ikki overheard her, however, and promptly tried to assure her that they would all be fine, referring to Aang and his friends who had been about the same age as she and her siblings were when they had traveled the world. Pema tried to reassure herself that her children would at least not starve to death as she had prepared a big bag of food for them to take along on their journey. Meelo initially rejected the provisions, though after Pema revealed that she had made his favorite food, the bag was accepted by the children. Pema received a hug from all her children and watched them take off with a worried expression on her face.[27]

Upon the return of her children with Korra a short week later, Pema warmly hugged her eldest son, though giggled at his displeased expression when Tenzin refused to give him his mastery tattoos.[28]

Pema helped Prince Wu to coordinate the evacuation of the citizens of Republic City.

After President Raiko ordered a mandatory evacuation of Republic City due to Kuvira's imminent attack, Pema retreated to her quarters with her children, sans Rohan, to prepare their suitcases. When Tenzin entered the room as well and noticed that they were not packed yet, she told him that they had been talking it over and had decided to stay, reasoning that Republic City was their city and it was going to need all the help it could get. Sharing a family hug, Tenzin told Pema that she could help coordinate the evacuation with Prince Wu. She left for Central City Station, where she helped to guide people in a calm and orderly fashion on a train to leave the city. When she returned home, she was shocked to hear Korra report that Kuvira and her army were a week earlier than planned. Tenzin promptly told Pema to find Prince Wu and evacuate the remaining citizens, which they did back at the train station.[5]

After the full trains left the station, Pema remained behind with the last group of evacuees, waiting for one of the trains to return and pick them up. When the station shook on its foundations as the result of an explosion somewhere in the city, Pema ascended a bench and tried to urge the panicking denizens to settle down. As she announced that the trains would be returning soon, one of the citizens snapped at her that she should go out and tell Kuvira to settle down instead, since she was to blame for their current situation. Her efforts to calm the group were made increasingly more difficult when the conductor informed everyone that Kuvira's army had destroyed the train tracks, preventing them from evacuating via the rails, and Tu announced the approach of several mecha suits. When Wu declared that he was going to get help, he asked Pema if she could handle the "unruly mob" for a while, a task she accepted with a smile, noting that she could handle anything due to having raised Meelo.

Pema calmed the stranded evacuees by singing old airbender songs.

By singing old airbender songs, Pema managed to keep the group subdued until Wu and Tu returned to the station riding badgermoles. Surprised at the sight of the animals, she inquired where they had come from, only to be told by Wu that they had broken them out of the zoo. As the royal guided the beasts with his singing, Pema and other evacuees followed the creatures underground as they tunneled a way out for them. When three Earth Empire soldiers in mecha suits commanded them to stop, she looked on in surprise when Wu started singing and dancing with renewed vigor, which led the badgermoles to attack the soldiers and crush their machines.[29]

Pema and the others made it through Kuvira's assault on the city safely and she later attended the wedding ceremony of Varrick and Zhu Li at Air Temple Island, where she sat next to Tenzin and Jinora. During the ensuing dinner party, she chased after her youngest son, who was covered in purple juice, and carried him away after catching him.[30]

Some time later, Pema worked at the temporary evacuee camp on the outskirts of Republic City under Zhu Li's leadership, where she helped the returning evacuees settle in as comfortable as possible.[31] One night during dinner, Pema and her family were discussing Raiko's decision to deploy the United Forces to occupy the land surrounding the portal. While her three eldest children and husband got riled up about the situation, she maintained a level head, assuring her family that Raiko would realize the impracticality of his decision sooner or later.[32] Pema and her family later gathered in a plaza as the results of the presidential election were announced, and listened to Zhu Li's acceptance speech.[33]


Pema was unamused by her children's constant airbending antics.

Pema is usually a serene, understanding, and happy person who assists others in their times of confusion or indecision.[10] She is a loving and caring mother to all her children, though has expressed a slight annoyance with having airbending children instead of at least one "nice, nonbender" like her.[8] Despite this, she is proud of their abilities and has faith in them, as she was, albeit worried, willing to let them travel the world by themselves.[27] Pema has also admitted that she was once a very shy individual,[7] which seems to have changed since her younger years, given that she was able to confess her love to Tenzin. Ever since, she has grown rather confident and outgoing, openly expressing her feelings to others. In particular, she makes her feelings clear to Tenzin; as such, she clearly showed her annoyance when Tenzin allowed Tarrlok to stay for dinner,[11] or when he and Lin shared a private talk.[12] She is often the voice of reason to Tenzin's occasional stubbornness, being very wise and insightful and helping him to understand the thoughts and feelings of others during these occasional bouts of belligerence.




The Legend of Korra

Book One: Air (气)

Book Two: Spirits (神靈)

Book Three: Change (易)

Book Four: Balance (平衡)

Graphic novels


  • Pema shares her name with various important Asian figures, including:
    • The Tibetan Buddhist nun, author, and teacher Pema Chödrön.
    • Gendun Drup, the first Dalai Lama in Tibetan Buddhism, whose birthname was Pema Dorje.
    • The sister of the 14th and current Dalai Lama, Pema Jetsun.
    • Jetsun Pema, Druk Gyaltsuen of the Kingdom of Bhutan, the wife of the current Druk Gyalpo.
  • She is the first known nonbender to give birth to an airbender.
  • Pema is the second character in the Avatar franchise to have gone through labor and given birth onscreen, the first being Ying.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Hedrick, Tim (writer) & Zwyer, Mel (director). (July 18, 2014). "Original Airbenders". The Legend of Korra. Book Three: Change. Episode 7. Nickelodeon.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 From older Welcome to Republic City online game, originally on Nick.com. Game now broken, archived at The Lost Lore of Avatar Korra - Pema.
  3. Goldman, Eric (September 29, 2014). The Legend of Korra Exclusive Clip: Watch the Opening Sequence of Book Four. IGN. Retrieved on September 29, 2014.
  4. 4.0 4.1 DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Heck, Colin (director). (September 20, 2013). "Civil Wars, Part 1". The Legend of Korra. Book Two: Spirits. Episode 3. Nickelodeon.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Hamilton, Joshua (writer) & Heck, Colin (director). (December 12, 2014). "Kuvira's Gambit". The Legend of Korra. Book Four: Balance. Episode 11. Nick.com.
  6. DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim, Ryu, Ki Hyun (directors). (May 12, 2012). "And the Winner Is...". The Legend of Korra. Book One: Air. Episode 6. Nickelodeon.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim, Ryu, Ki Hyun (directors). (May 5, 2012). "The Spirit of Competition". The Legend of Korra. Book One: Air. Episode 5. Nickelodeon.
  8. 8.0 8.1 DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim, Ryu, Ki Hyun (directors). (April 14, 2012). "Welcome to Republic City". The Legend of Korra. Book One: Air. Episode 1. Nickelodeon.
  9. Tenzin from Legend of Korra. Nickelodeon. Retrieved on February 25, 2012.
  10. 10.0 10.1 DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim, Ryu, Ki Hyun (directors). (April 14, 2012). "A Leaf in the Wind". The Legend of Korra. Book One: Air. Episode 2. Nickelodeon.
  11. 11.0 11.1 DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim, Ryu, Ki Hyun (directors). (April 28, 2012). "The Voice in the Night". The Legend of Korra. Book One: Air. Episode 4. Nickelodeon.
  12. 12.0 12.1 DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim, Ryu, Ki Hyun (directors). (June 16, 2012). "Turning the Tides". The Legend of Korra. Book One: Air. Episode 10. Nickelodeon.
  13. DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim, Ryu, Ki Hyun (directors). (June 23, 2012). "Endgame". The Legend of Korra. Book One: Air. Episode 12. Nickelodeon.
  14. Hedrick, Tim (writer) & Heck, Colin (director). (September 13, 2013). "Rebel Spirit". The Legend of Korra. Book Two: Spirits. Episode 1. Nickelodeon.
  15. Hamilton, Joshua (writer) & Graham, Ian (director). (September 13, 2013). "The Southern Lights". The Legend of Korra. Book Two: Spirits. Episode 2. Nickelodeon.
  16. DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Graham, Ian (director). (September 27, 2013). "Civil Wars, Part 2". The Legend of Korra. Book Two: Spirits. Episode 4. Nickelodeon.
  17. Hedrick, Tim (writer) & Heck, Colin (director). (October 4, 2013). "Peacekeepers". The Legend of Korra. Book Two: Spirits. Episode 5. Nickelodeon.
  18. Hamilton, Joshua (writer) & Heck, Colin (director). (November 1, 2013). "The Guide". The Legend of Korra. Book Two: Spirits. Episode 9. Nickelodeon.
  19. Hamilton, Joshua (writer) & Heck, Colin (director). "Night of a Thousand Stars". The Legend of Korra. Book Two: Spirits. Episode 11. Nickelodeon.
  20. DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Graham, Ian (director). (November 22, 2013). "Light in the Dark". The Legend of Korra. Book Two: Spirits. Episode 14. Nickelodeon.
  21. Hedrick, Tim, Hamilton, Joshua (writers) & Heck, Colin, Zwyer, Melchior (directors). (June 27, 2014). "A Breath of Fresh Air". The Legend of Korra. Book Three: Change. Episode 1. Nickelodeon.
  22. Hedrick, Tim, Hamilton, Joshua (writers) & Heck, Colin, Zwyer, Melchior (directors). (June 27, 2014). "Rebirth". The Legend of Korra. Book Three: Change. Episode 2. Nickelodeon.
  23. DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Heck, Colin (director). (July 11, 2014). "The Metal Clan". The Legend of Korra. Book Three: Change. Episode 5. Nickelodeon.
  24. Hamilton, Joshua (writer) & Heck, Colin (director). (August 15, 2014). "The Ultimatum". The Legend of Korra. Book Three: Change. Episode 11. Nick.com.
  25. Hamilton, Joshua and Hedrick, Tim (writer) & Zwyer, Mel (director). (August 22, 2014). "Venom of the Red Lotus". The Legend of Korra. Book Three: Change. Episode 13. Nick.com.
  26. Hamilton, Joshua (writer) & Heck, Colin (director). (October 3, 2014). "After All These Years". The Legend of Korra. Book Four: Balance. Episode 1. Nick.com.
  27. 27.0 27.1 Mattila, Katie (writer) & Heck, Colin (director). (October 24, 2014). "The Calling". The Legend of Korra. Book Four: Balance. Episode 4. Nick.com.
  28. DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Heck, Colin (director). (November 14, 2014). "Reunion". The Legend of Korra. Book Four: Balance. Episode 7. Nick.com.
  29. Hedrick, Tim (writer) & Graham, Ian (director). (December 19, 2014). "Day of the Colossus". The Legend of Korra. Book Four: Balance. Episode 12. Nick.com.
  30. DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Zwyer, Melchior (director). (December 19, 2014). "The Last Stand". The Legend of Korra. Book Four: Balance. Episode 13. Nick.com.
  31. DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer), Koh, Irene (artist), Piekos, Nate; Blambot (letterer), Campbell, Heather; Bak, Jane (cover), Ng, Killian (colorist). Turf Wars Part One (July 26, 2016), Dark Horse Comics.
  32. DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer), Koh, Irene (artist), Piekos, Nate; Blambot (letterer), Campbell, Heather; Ng, Killian (cover). Turf Wars Part Two (January 17, 2018), Dark Horse Comics.
  33. DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer), Koh, Irene (artist), Piekos, Nate; Blambot (letterer), Campbell, Heather; Ng, Killian (cover). Turf Wars Part Three (August 1, 2018), Dark Horse Comics.