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128px-Padlock-olive.svg Earthbending emblem Earth Kingdom emblem

The Boulder was a professional earthbending wrestler who participated in the Earth Rumble tournaments.[2] He later went on to fight for the Earth Kingdom and assist in the invasion of the Fire Nation along with The Big Bad Hippo.[1]

Though his pro-wrestling "stage accent" may have seemed unintelligent, he spoke with a degree of consideration and eloquence that suggested a greater intellect beneath his bombastic wrestler demeanor. Part of his unique pattern included always referring to himself in the third person and frequently employing earth-related puns, such as "The Boulder is going to win this in a landslide!"

History

Early career

The Boulder and The Pebble

The Boulder and his beloved pet, The Pebble.

At some point during his wrestling career, The Boulder got a crococat, whom he named "The Pebble", as a pet. The small animal quickly grew very attached to him and the two of them became inseparable for several years, though The Boulder hid his beloved pet from the public as it did not fit his image as a tough wrestler. Despite their good relationship, The Boulder occasionally had trouble with his pet, such when he attempted to take The Pebble to a veterinarian multiple times. On each occasion, the crococat became extremely obstinate and aggressive. Once, The Pebble even knocked out the wrestler. Thereafter, he even refrained from mentioning veterinarians around his pet.[3]

Earth Rumble VI tournament

When The Boulder was a combatant in the Earth Rumble VI tournament in 100 AG, he faced The Big Bad Hippo in the first round. After taunting his opponent, The Boulder commenced with a frontal attack by chucking large pieces of rock at The Hippo, who remained unfazed by the assault. Almost knocked out of the ring by The Hippo's unique "rocking the boat"-technique, The Boulder managed to defeat The Hippo by lifting the earth underneath his feet and tossing him out of the arena. This feat of power sparked Katara and Aang's attention, who were spectators of the tournament in search of an earthbending teacher for Aang. Katara commented that The Boulder had some good moves, a statement to which Aang rightfully retorted that The Boulder was more prone to listen to his muscles than anything else.

The Boulder in pain

The Boulder was comprehensively defeated by the Blind Bandit.

As the tournament proceeded, The Boulder did what he did best and entertained Sokka and the other spectators by defeating all the other contestants with extravagant moves, progressing easily to the final round of the competition where he met the Blind Bandit. When the Blind Bandit entered the ring, The Boulder announced that he felt conflicted about fighting a young blind girl. However, he declared his conflicted feelings at an end after the Blind Bandit accused him of being scared and threatened to bury her in a "rock-a-lanche". The Blind Bandit challenged The Boulder to attack her, mocking his stage name by calling him "The Pebble". As part of her fighting strategy, the Blind Bandit waited and listened for The Boulder to make the first move. As The Boulder got ready to stomp the ground, the Blind Bandit made her move by sending an earth fissure at him, forcing him to do a painful split. He was subsequently thrown out of the ring with ease, effectively losing the match.[2]

When Aang accidentally defeated the Blind Bandit with his airbending, The Boulder told Xin Fu that he suspected that Aang and the Blind Bandit had worked together to scam the rumble's host and split the reward. When the latter set out to recollect his prize money, The Boulder and the other Earth Rumble VI contestants helped him in this endeavor and kidnapped both the Blind Bandit, also known as Toph, and Aang. In order to ransom them back, The Boulder and Xin Fu left a note asking for five hundred gold pieces.

Earth Rumble duel

The Boulder and other Earth Rumble VI competitors attacked Toph.

When Toph's parents paid the ransom to successfully free their daughter, Sokka and Katara wanted to free Aang as well, but were thwarted in their attempt by the band of wrestlers, who wanted to collect the bounty from the Fire Nation for capturing the Avatar. However, as they left the ring, Toph challenged The Boulder and the other fighters, threatening to beat them all again in an earthbending battle in case they refused to release Aang, a comment to which The Boulder took issue. Engulfing the arena in a dust cloud, Toph engaged in a battle with all the wrestlers at once and managed to successfully take out every single one of them. At one point, The Boulder, alongside The Hippo and the Headhunter, confronted Toph. Tag teaming, the three fighters charged at the blind earthbending girl. However, by shifting the ground on which they all stood, Toph was able to defeat them with ease, knocking them out cold.[2]

Involvement in the war

Toph, The Boulder, and Hippo at the invasion

The Boulder, The Hippo, and Toph fought against Fire Nation troops during the invasion of the Fire Nation.

Months later, The Boulder joined the forces that planned to invade the Fire Nation on the day, alongside The Hippo and many other earthbenders. Upon encountering Team Avatar at the meeting site for the invasion, he stated to Toph that he and The Hippo no longer fought for others' entertainment, but for the good of the Earth Kingdom. During the invasion, The Boulder proved to be a true asset to the invasion force, as he managed to take down several battlements.[1] Ultimately, the plan failed, and The Boulder, along with the other adults from the invasion force, was captured by Fire Nation forces and sent to prison.[4]

He was freed from prison after the Hundred Year War ended and later attended Prince Zuko's coronation as the new Fire Lord.[5]

Troubles with The Pebble

Toph, The Boulder and a difficult pet

Toph Beifong agreed to help The Boulder in finding the cause of The Pebble's ill-temperament.

Some time later, The Boulder's pet crococat became extremely ill-tempered and gluttonous. When Toph visited him at his home, he revealed his situation to her and expressed his worries. He reacted shocked, however, when his former rival suggested that he could take The Pebble to a veterinarian, recounting how his past attempts to do so had failed horribly. Convinced that consulting a veterinarian was not an option, Toph suggested that they could try a different pet food. Even though The Pebble consumed almost all food variaties (with exception of gourmet food), the ill-temperament remained. The Boulder almost despaired at the cost of the food and seemingly hopeless location. Toph noted that they still try fresh fish, whereupon The Boulder promptly attempted to catch something at the nearby river. This yielded only meager results; instead, they bought a massive fish from an actual fisherman.

The Pebble easily consumed the entire fish without getting less hungry, and both The Boulder as well as Toph almost lost heart. As they thought about new approaches to the problem, they realized that The Pebble had stopped meowing and had disappeared. Using seismic sense, Toph discovered that The Pebble had sought refuge under her owner's bed and given birth to three kittens. As it turned out, The Boulder had been unaware that his pet was female and pregnant, explaining its extreme hunger - the crococat had to bulk up to feed its young. Full of happiness, The Boulder promptly teared up, crying that he was "allergic to emotions". When Toph wanted to leave, The Boulder was initially concerned that his former rival might reveal his attachment to his pet to the world, ruining his wrestler reputation. However, Toph happily declared that she would keep his secret.

The Boulder reveals his pets

The Boulder eventually revealed his beloved pets before a wrestling match against Toph, confident that he could not lose with their support.

Sometime later, The Boulder and Toph met once again in the ring during a Earth Rumble tournament. Before their fight began, The Boulder announced a "special shout-out", declaring that he had been too obsessed with his image as tough guy. He had realized that he had no need to be ashamed of his true personality, and promptly revealed to the audience his "number one fans": The Pebble and her kittens, whom he had dubbed "The Pebblets" and clothed in fan merchandise. Confident that he could not lose with his pets' support, The Boulder challenged Toph, but was defeated in a single strike.[3]

Personality

The Boulder taunting

The Boulder's combat persona was complete with outlandish motions in order to intimidate his opponents and incite the crowd.

The Boulder was actually quite bright and had a soft spot for his friends and his beloved crococat, The Pebble.[1][3] He hid these characteristics from the public, however, as they undermined his bombastic stage persona. He was a determined earthbender who seemed somewhat arrogant, referring to himself in third person, basking in the praise of his fans and, as Aang put it, "listening to his big muscles".[2] He could be somewhat thick-headed, and had difficulties to understand allegories.[3]

He had a great sense of nationalism and patriotic duty to his nation, which contrasted with his usual attitude in the tournament ring.[1][2] He also showed great concern and became extremely emotional when The Pebble showed uncharacteristic behavior.[3]

Abilities

The Boulder was one of the best earthbending fighters in the Earth Rumble VI tournament. While his style of fighting was less extravagant than the other fighters, he defeated them handily. His straightforward, powerful earthbending skills were effective in their simplicity.[2] However, he was still no match for Toph, who easily defeated him at least twice during Earth Rumble tournaments.[2][3]

Appearances

Avatar: The Last Airbender

Book Two: Earth (土)

Book Three: Fire (火)

Avatar comics

Trivia

  • According to Toph's ransom letter, The Boulder's name was written as 大石塊 which translates as "big chunk of rock".
  • The Boulder was an illeist, referring to himself in third person, such as, "The Boulder is going to win this in a landslide!" He only referred to himself in the first person three times, twice while talking to Xin Fu and once to Toph prior to the invasion of the Fire Nation.
  • The Boulder was inspired by real life pro wrestler Dwayne Johnson,[6] also known as "The Rock", who, like The Boulder, refers to himself in the third person when he speaks. According to the Avatar Extras for "The Blind Bandit", the production team tried to get Dwayne Johnson to voice The Boulder, but they were unable to do so, and he was eventually voiced by pro-wrestler Mick Foley, a good friend of The Rock.
  • He bore a resemblance to Sud, Roku's earthbending teacher, who was modeled after an early design of Toph.[source?]
  • The Boulder had a tattoo of a badgermole on his back.[7]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (November 30, 2007). "The Day of Black Sun, Part 1: The Invasion". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 10. Nickelodeon.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Spaulding, Ethan (director). (May 5, 2006). "The Blind Bandit". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 6. Nickelodeon.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Goetter, Sara (writer & artist), Toph and The Boulder (2019), Dark Horse Comics.
  4. Ehasz, Aaron (writer) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director). (November 30, 2007). "The Day of Black Sun, Part 2: The Eclipse". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 11. Nickelodeon.
  5. DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director). (July 19, 2008). "Sozin's Comet, Part 4: Avatar Aang". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 21. Nickelodeon.
  6. Avatar: The Last Airbender—The Art of the Animated Series, page 98.
  7. From older Avatar: The Last Airbender official site, originally on Nick.com (link). No longer updated, encyclopedia now broken though archived here.
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