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128px-Padlock-olive.svg Waterbending emblem Spirit Emblem
This article is about the physical form of the Moon Spirit. For the koi incarnation of the Ocean Spirit, see La. For the large fish found off the coast of Kyoshi Island, see Elephant koi.
"The legends say the moon was the first waterbender. Our ancestors saw how it pushed and pulled the tides and learned how to do it themselves."
Yue to Katara.[1]

Tui, also known as the Moon Spirit, is one of two spirits that reside in the Spirit Oasis at the North Pole within the Northern Water Tribe's capital city, taking the form of a white koi fish with a large black spot on its head. Together with its counterpart La, Tui was among the first spirits to come to the mortal world, and the pair have kept balance ever since in an "eternal dance" of push and pull. As the Moon Spirit, Tui was the first waterbender and the root of all waterbending; in the event of Tui's absence, waterbenders lose their bending ability.[2]

History

Thousands of years before the Hundred Year War, Tui and La chose to manifest themselves in the mortal world to benefit mankind and took up residence in an alcove within the Northern Water Tribe's capital city. They lived within this spiritual center of the North Pole and took the form of two koi fish.[3] Thereafter, the Spirit Oasis became the city's most treasured landmark.

When Princess Yue was born, she was gravely ill and on the brink of death, so her father, Chief Arnook, and mother brought her to the Spirit Oasis and prayed for the spirits to save her life. Tui answered their prayers and saved the princess by passing on some of its own life force. Although Tui had saved Yue, Chief Arnook had a dream that his daughter would one day have to share Tui's place as the Moon Spirit.[2]

Many years later, Admiral Zhao launched a massive attack on the Northern Water Tribe on behalf of the Fire Nation.[1] Determined to make a legend of himself, Zhao lead his personal guard into the royal palace to kill the Moon Spirit, whose mortal existence he had learned from Wan Shi Tong's Library. Tui was captured by Zhao, causing the spiritual equivalent of a lunar eclipse and removing the power of all waterbenders. General Iroh intervened and threatened Zhao that any harm inflicted on the spirit would be unleashed on him tenfold. Zhao appeared to heed Iroh's warning, releasing Tui back into the water of the Oasis, but the spirit was then abruptly murdered by Zhao with a blast of firebending, much to the horror of Katara, Aang, and Iroh.

Yue healing Tui

Yue sacrificed her life in order to save the Moon Spirit.

Tui's death lead to a lapse in spiritual balance, and waterbending ceased to exist. Taking the slain koi fish into his hands, Iroh realized that Yue held some of Tui's life energy inside her. Yue then understood she had the choice and responsibility to return this energy to Tui, thus sacrificing herself in order to resurrect it. After Tui had returned to life and the moon was restored, Yue's physical form vanished from Sokka's arms, transcending as a moon spirit shared with Tui.[2]

Appearances

Avatar: The Last Airbender

Book One: Water (水)

Trivia

  • "Tui" () means "push" in Mandarin Chinese, compared to "La" (), which means "pull". According to Princess Yue, the ancient waterbenders saw the tides push and pull, giving a hint to the two spirits' existence in the tribe.
  • In The Last Airbender, Zhao associated the Moon Spirit with Yang (white, male) and Pull (). Similarly, Yue referred to the Moon Spirit as male.
  • It is ironic that Zhao killed the white, masculine counterpart of the Yin and Yang symbol as in Taoism, it represents the sun and fire, while Yin, the dark and feminine part, represents the moon and water.
  • Including Aang's fatal injury sustained in "The Crossroads of Destiny", from which he was resurrected shortly thereafter, Tui was the first of eight characters to have been observed dying or being murdered in the original series, though it was resurrected soon afterward by Yue's sacrifice. In chronological order, the others were Yue, Chin, Jet, Aang, Roku, Fang, and Combustion Man.
  • With the Moon considered the original waterbender, members of the Water Tribe used to watch how the Moon pushed and pulled the tides and learned how to do it themselves;[1] this makes waterbending the only bending art that was not learned from an animal species.
  • A petroglyph depicting Tui and La encircling each other was present on the stone wall behind the waterfall in Tarrlok's office.[4]
Preceded by
Position established
Moon Spirit
Unknown - Present
Succeeded by
Shared role: Yue

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Ehasz, Aaron (writer) & MacMullan, Lauren (director). (December 2, 2005). "The Siege of the North, Part 1". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 19. Nickelodeon.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Ehasz, Aaron (writer) & Filoni, Dave (director). (December 2, 2005). "The Siege of the North, Part 2". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 20. Nickelodeon.
  3. From older Avatar: The Last Airbender official site, originally on Nick.com (link). No longer updated, encyclopedia now broken though archived here.
  4. DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim, Ryu, Ki Hyun (directors). (June 2, 2012). "When Extremes Meet". The Legend of Korra. Season 1. Episode 8. Nickelodeon.

See also

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