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  • Bender or non-bender? How old was he when the 100 year war ended? Personality? Lastly, do you think we could see the Red Lotus foreshadowed in the comics after North and South, and if so,in what form? This is all fanon, and all thoughts are welcome!

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    • The name is non-indicative (Chinese names are everywhere in the setting), so we can't really place a nation.  That, however, matters less than it might otherwise, because my guess is actually that he was a nonbender.  More specifically, a badass-normal (which would explain his inspiring another erstwhile badass-normal down the line, to everyone's eventual regret).

      He was likely at least in his forties at the end of the war.  If he had enough influence to cause a schism in the White Lotus, he'd probably have had to have been a member of the order in good standing.  And of the high-ranking members we actually met in A:TLA, the ambiguously middle-aged Piandao looked the youngest.  (I doubt Xai Bau was still alive as of Korra's era; the way Zaheer talks about him makes him sound vaguely shrouded in myth.  In fact, I'd almost hazard that Zaheer never even met the guy.)

      As for character?  The easiest route would probably be to characterize him as a sort of proto-Zaheer—that is, a dispassionate ruthless bastard who rationalizes being one on the grounds that it's for the greater good. 

      However, I find it just as likely that he was genuinely concerned that the White Lotus was on the verge of losing its neutrality and becoming corrupt, and that his initial intent was not so much anti-government as anti-tyranny:  Another Sozin wannabe ever rises to power, they get removed—no matter who they are.  (It really all depends on just how deeply a certain elder god of strife and destruction managed to get his tentacles into the society, and from how early of a date.)  You know...good intentions that go straight to hell, and all that.

      As for whether we'll see the Red Lotus foreshadowed in the comics: if the White Lotus make an appearance, we might see Xai Bau as a cameo.  We're two-thirds of the way through North and South already, so it's unlikely that any of the above would play a major role.

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    • Interesting thoughts, thank you. You know, it seems a little strange that we don't know about anything the Red Lotus did until their attempted kidnapping: Were they just recruiting members and spreading the philosophies, in the way that that the White Lotus were meant to? That's a cool phrase, badass-normal.

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    • I'm an anarchist, so what I can guess at is his ideology/philosophy. If anarchism in the Avatar universe is accurate / the same as anarchism in the real world, then Zaheer's ideas are some sort of perversion of Xai Bau's. Zaheer practically worships chaos, something that anarchists in the real world have only done ironically or satirically. In reality, anarchists believe that anarchism is order. This is a belief that began with the very first self-described anarchist, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, and which continues in the form of the anarchist grafitti symbol, an A inside of an O - the O stands for Order.

      If Xai Bau's ideas are more like anarchism than Zaheer's, he may actually be very similar to Iroh. The ideological foundation of anarchism is the idea that all humans are fundamentally, naturally good, and that it's hierarchies, power, violence that can corrupt us. This is an idea popular in the White Lotus, so the Red Lotus existing as a schism of and a dialectical alternative to the White makes sense.

      If there aren't any canon writings on Bau, naturally all of this is conjecture. But if we were to think as realistically as possible, then Xai Bau would probably be analogous to Proudhon, the first anarchist. His brand of anarchism was mutualism. In mutualism, the state does not exist. Businesses are direct-democratic and horizontally organized, such that workers own the product of their labor, instead of bosses owning it. Markets exist and are free, which distinguishes mutualism from more popular anarchist tendencies such as anarcho-communism. All anarchists are socialists, however, in that they believe that hierarchy must be abolished everywhere, not just in the state.

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    • Classicmax wrote:

      If there aren't any canon writings on Bau, naturally all of this is conjecture. But if we were to think as realistically as possible, then Xai Bau would probably be analogous to Proudhon, the first anarchist.

      Why?

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    • Classicmax wrote:

      If Xai Bau's ideas are more like anarchism than Zaheer's, he may actually be very similar to Iroh. The ideological foundation of anarchism is the idea that all humans are fundamentally, naturally good, and that it's hierarchies, power, violence that can corrupt us. This is an idea popular in the White Lotus, so the Red Lotus existing as a schism of and a dialectical alternative to the White makes sense.

      What is your source that suggests that idea was popular in the white lotus during iroh's time?

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    • Babyfriend1 wrote:
      Classicmax wrote:

      If Xai Bau's ideas are more like anarchism than Zaheer's, he may actually be very similar to Iroh. The ideological foundation of anarchism is the idea that all humans are fundamentally, naturally good, and that it's hierarchies, power, violence that can corrupt us. This is an idea popular in the White Lotus, so the Red Lotus existing as a schism of and a dialectical alternative to the White makes sense.

      What is your source that suggests that idea was popular in the white lotus during iroh's time?

      I'm basing this on my understanding of Iroh as a person (many of his quotes are about the goodness inside everyone) and my memory of the other characters we know of in the White Lotus. I may be misremembering the other members, though, but it doesn't matter, because "the Red Lotus is a schism of the White Lotus" isn't really important, what's important is Iroh's ideas as a foundation from which to hypothesize about Xai Bau.

      Of course, Iroh's ideas are probably borrowed from Taoism. If true, it's an even more apt comparison, because Anarchist theorists have also borrowed heavily from Taoism.

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