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"The Test" is the first chapter of The Rise of Kyoshi.

Overview

Desperate to discover the Avatar, Kelsang and Jianzhu test Yokoyan children. After an unsuccessful day, they meet Kyoshi.

Synopsis

Seven years after Kuruk's death, Kelsang stole the Air Nomad Avatar relics in hopes that they could do what the traditional Earth Kingdom ways had failed to accomplish: find the next Avatar in the earth cycle. To this end, he and Jianzhu traveled to the remote Yokoya Port to run their sacrilegious experiment, as the town was easily overlooked by ships, merchants, and even maps, as well as being a safe distance away from the turmoil ravaging the rest of the world.

Jianzhu makes his way to the two-story meeting hall at the end of a Yokoyan avenue, where their test would take place. Entering the hall, the Earth sage finds Kelsang meticulously organizing worn toys on ten long yellow cloths stretched across the floor, among which are the four Avatar relics they hoped an Earth Kingdom child would select. While the airbender is finishing up, Jianzhu expresses his surprise at the amount of toys and asks Kelsang how he managed to convince Abbot Dorje to let him take the relics. Without stopping his work, the monk responds that he did not ask for permission just as Jianzhu had not requested Lu Beifong's blessing to administer the Air Nomad test in the earth cycle.

The two masters commence their test but soon discover that what seemed easy in theory can result in pure chaos in reality, as a failure to select the four relics is taken badly by the Earth Kingdom children and their parents. Even the village captain fails to keep her composure when her daughter Aoma is proven not to be the next Avatar. As the test progresses without success, Jianzhu is dragged into a heated negotiation with a farmer who demands to be paid a salary if his daughter Suzu is the Avatar and a small monthly fee if she is not. Jianzhu initially refuses but when signaled by Kelsang to stop arguing as Suzu already successfully chose two out of the four relics, he quickly agrees. The two masters look on with hope as the girl moves toward a third relic, but they find their hope crushed along with the relic when the girl violently stomps on the toy rather than picking it up.

The farmer tries to collect his negotiated price for when his daughter would not be the Avatar, but Jianzhu snaps at him to leave the building. As he leaves the premises, Jianzhu discovers a girl who had been spying on the proceeding from the outside. Noticing her underfed and bedraggled appearance, he assumes that the girl must be an orphan whose parents were killed by the daofei. Kelsang joins them and tries to make conversation with the girl, who introduces herself as Kyoshi. Despite Jianzhu believing the tall girl to be too old, Kelsang decides to let her take the test. As opposed to the other children who became overwhelmed by the plethora of toys and the promise that they could select and keep four of them, Kyoshi seemingly remains unfazed before quickly snagging the clay turtle duck, the Avatar relic no one had even come near to that day, and returning to her position by the door. Kelsang tries to coax her into selecting three more, but Kyoshi had learned that the promise of more could be dangerous and lead to her ending up with nothing as opposed to the one toy she already had. Before the two masters could do anything else, she makes a run for it, disappearing between two houses with the toy still firmly clutched.

The loss of the relic and thus the chance for them to discover the new Avatar throws Jianzhu into his past, where he is plagued by the memory of standing in the ruins of a decimated village while being told by an official Earth Kingdom messenger that reinforcements would not come before being transported to his failed negotiation with the pirate lord Tulok, who literally and figuratively spat on the treaty his grandfather had made with Avatar Yangchen, creating yet another reason for why it was imperative to find the new Avatar as soon as possible.

When Kelsang brings him back to the present, Jianzhu states that they need to go after Kyoshi to retrieve the relic, but Kelsang decides to let her keep it, feeling bad for possibly taking from a child who clearly has so little in her life, and face Abbot Dorje's wrath alone, seeing no need for Jianzhu to implicate himself as well. When Jianzhu expresses his disbelief that Kelsang was willing to ruin the Air Nomad test just to make a girl happy, Kelsang optimistically notes that the relic would find its way back to its rightful place. Taking a look around the town, however, his optimism cracks a little, and the monks add a doubtful "maybe" to his statement.

Production notes

Series continuity

  • Jianzhu notes the wild, volcanic abundance of the Makapu Valley, the predominant location of the "The Fortuneteller" due to the impending eruption of Mt. Makapu during the episode.[1]
  • All of the toys described, except the coiled whalebone spring and wooden top, appear in episodes of Avatar: The Last Airbender.
  • The criticisms of the world discreetly discussed by revered elders feature prominently in The Legend of Korra.
    • The abandonment of the spirits and lack of unity between the Water Tribes motivate Unalaq's actions in Book Two: Spirits, driving him to return spirits to the physical world and attempt to unite the Water Tribes.[7]
    • The lack of cohesion in the Earth Kingdom motivates Kuvira's actions in Book Four: Balance, driving her to form the Earth Empire.[8]
    • The airbenders' seclusion from the world and reluctance to act instead of preach motivate Tenzin's actions in Book Three: Change, driving him to task the new Air Nation with helping to restore balance by serving people of all nations.[9]
  • The description of the pillar, the meeting hall, and the overall layout of Yokoya highly resembles the town's design seen in "The Warriors of Kyoshi".[5]
  • Jianzhu's comparison of villagers whom he had previously shared friendly greetings with to snarling canyon crawlers is the first hint that he hails from the Gan Jin tribe, who encountered the same creatures in "The Great Divide".[10]
  • During the administration of the Air Nomad test, Jianzhu remarks, "Holy Shu", a reference to the character of the same name from "The Cave of Two Lovers".[11]
  • As it was hinted in "Avatar Day", Kyoshi is confirmed to be very tall, larger than some of the Yokoyan teenagers by the age of seven.[12]

Character revelations

  • Jianzhu is revealed to be an earthbender.
  • Kelsang is revealed to be an airbender.
  • Jianzhu and Kelsang were friends with Avatar Kuruk.
  • Avatar Kuruk died at the age of thirty-three.
  • Kelsang wears a necklace made of wooden beads, signifying his status as a senior monk.[3]
  • Kyoshi is revealed to be an orphan.
  • Xu Ping An is revealed to be associated with the Yellow Necks.
  • Tulok is revealed to be the elderly leader of the Fifth Nation pirates and father of Tagaka.
  • Avatar Yangchen once drafted accords to negotiate peace between the Fifth Nation pirates and the southern coastlines of the Earth Kingdom.

Trivia

  • The description of the whalebone toy as a coiled spring bears resemblance to a slinky.
  • A stuffed hog monkey and a clay turtle are described as two of the four Air Nomad Avatar relics, whereas the episode "The Storm" and the older Avatar: The Last Airbender official site, originally on Nick.com, now archived at The Lost Lore of Avatar Aang - Gear: Avatar Relics, depict the monkey to be made out of wood and the clay relic to be a turtle flute.[6][13]
    • It should be noted that Kyoshi ended up accidentally destroying the clay turtle, which was mentioned again in The Shadow of Kyoshi as being necessary to be replaced, indicating that the relics were replaced sometime between 295 BG and when Aang was presented with the toys.[14][15]

References

  1. Ehasz, Aaron, O'Bryan, John (writers) & Filoni, Dave (director). (September 23, 2005). "The Fortuneteller". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 14. Nickelodeon.
  2. O'Bryan, John (writer) & Lioi, Anthony (director). (April 29, 2005). "The Waterbending Scroll". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 9. Nickelodeon.
  3. 3.0 3.1 DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & MacMullan, Lauren (director). (February 25, 2005). "The Southern Air Temple". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 3. Nickelodeon.
  4. Chan, May (writer) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director). (July 16, 2008). "The Boiling Rock, Part 1". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 14. Nickelodeon.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Malis, Nick (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (March 4, 2005). "The Warriors of Kyoshi". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 4. Nickelodeon.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Ehasz, Aaron (writer) & MacMullan, Lauren (director). (June 3, 2005). "The Storm". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 12. Nickelodeon.
  7. Hedrick, Tim (writer) & Graham, Ian (director). (November 15, 2013). "Harmonic Convergence". The Legend of Korra. Book Two: Spirits. Episode 12. Nickelodeon.
  8. Hedrick, Tim (writer) & Zwyer, Melchior (director). (October 17, 2014). "The Coronation". The Legend of Korra. Book Four: Balance. Episode 3. Nick.com.
  9. 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.
  10. O'Bryan, John (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (May 20, 2005). "The Great Divide". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 11. Nickelodeon.
  11. Hamilton, Joshua (writer) & MacMullan, Lauren (director). (March 24, 2006). "The Cave of Two Lovers". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 2. Nickelodeon.
  12. O'Bryan, John (writer) & MacMullan, Lauren (director). (April 28, 2006). "Avatar Day". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 5. Nickelodeon.
  13. From older Avatar: The Last Airbender official site, originally on Nick.com. Encyclopedia now broken, archived at The Lost Lore of Avatar Aang - Gear: Avatar Relics.
  14. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Twelve, "The Decision". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  15. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 21, 2020). Chapter Twenty-Seven, "The Meeting". The Shadow of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
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