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Today I have a theory that has been pretty debated in various threads, and I don't see many fans ask this questions themselves. The main question is, "Is airbending going to be inherited as a native bending art? Or airbenders will keep randomly popping out as a mutation from non-bending families, like in X-Men?"

Well, I have a theory, and it's that airbending is inherited the same way non-bending is "inherited".

True Airbenders

Considering the fact that, all descendants of Jinora, Ikki, Meelo, Rohan and Kai (Kainora 4ever), will be airbenders by default because as the wiki page of airbending states:

Avatar Extras for "The Northern Air Temple" stated that all Air Nomads are airbenders. This would make the Nomads the only group with every individual being a bender. The creators also explain this is due to bending coming from spirituality.

Bumi's Case

However, this opposes the fact Bumi was a non-bender, but me and many people believe he was just a late bloomer, a VERY late bloomer. I think he was already an airbender, since It's really weird that a true Air Nomad like Aang, didn't have airbenders as kids. Though I understand Kya turned out to be waterbender, the usual would be a bi-elemental family to inherit the kids, either the element of the father, the element of the mother, or just not inherit an element at all, like this:


   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
A father
   
   
B mother
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
A-bender
   
   
A non-bender
   
   
B non-bender
   
   
B-bender

But that SHOULDN'T be the case of Aang and Katara, the possibility of kids should be:


   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Aang
(Airbender)
   
   
Katara
(Waterbender)
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Airbender
   
   
Airbender
   
   
Non-bender
Airbender
   
   
Waterbender

As you might have noticed, in Aang's side there are no non-benders, because as Air Nomad, all his kids should biologically/spiritually be able to inherit airbending, and even the non benders of Katara's side should also be able to do so. Maybe that was Bumi's case, that he inherited many genes of his mother's side, but even the slightest of Air Nomad genes should trigger airbending in case he doesn't inherit Katara's waterbending, that's EXACTLY what happened to Kya.

Now, I think the reason why Bumi unlocked Airbending late was because, again, he inherited a lot of genes from his mother's side, but even so, he didn't inherit waterbending, so he had his airbending. Thanks to Harmonic Convergence, the spiritual energy of that event opened his Air Chakra, something explained in this video.

Flaws of this theory

If it's the case: Bumi wasn't a late bloomer (because it was confiremed that bending SHOULD pop out in puberty, not at age 60) and HC didn't really pushed the Air Chakra to open, I still believe in something: Bumi didn't gain airbending by coincidence, like most cases, but he's a special case.

"Why is he a special case?" you might ask (as I did an entire section on Bumi himself) "He was just another non-bender who gained airbending by coincidence in HC, period". Maybe you're right and I'm just going round and round on something it just doesn't need more explanation, but I'm going further.

We have to remind that, at the time HC happened, there were 7 people in the world who had pure Air Nomad blood in their veins; three of them were 50% Water Tribe-50% Air Nomad, and from those three, one was an airbender of birth (Tenzin), another a waterbender (Kya), and the first one was technically a non-bender, who just had Air Nomad blood, Bumi. Being the only person of Air Nomad ethnicity present at that time who was a non-bender, it favoured HC to open his Air Chakra.

Down this lines, maybe I could say he was technically the "first" new-airbender. He was also inside the Spirit World at that time, so… I'm not saying he was the first one to discover he had airbending after HC (although he's the first character onscreen we see to do so, then Daw and then Zaheer), but given he was IN THE SPIRIT WORLD, WHERE SPIRITUAL ENERGY WAS AT MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE, he was most likely to have been the first person to obtain airbending. That would take to another theory I though, regarding airbenders, which I might write down here as well.

New Airbenders

Now, considering that, I have a theory how airbending could be inherited between new airbender's descendants, I think it would be inherited the same way non-bending is "inherited" (because it's not something really in the genetics). I'm going to show examples on this family trees, with the left ones being the family if HC hadn't happened, and the right ones now that HC happened.

Of course, in all of these cases we're going through examples in which ONE of the parents would have airbending genes.

Both parents are of element X

Both non-benders

Case 1.1


Non-bender
   
   
Non-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
Airbender
   
   
Non-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Non-bender
   
   
X-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
Airbender
   
   
X-bender
Case 1.2


Non-bender
   
   
Non-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
Airbender
   
   
Non-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Non-bender
   
   
Non-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
Airbender
   
   
Air-bender

One bender, the other not

Case 2.1


Non-bender
   
   
X-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
Airbender
   
   
X-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Non-bender
   
   
X-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
Airbender
   
   
X-bender
Case 2.2


Non-bender
   
   
X-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
Airbender
   
   
X-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Non-bender
   
   
Non-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
Airbender
   
   
Airbender

Both benders, but with a non-bending ascendant

Case 3.1


   
   
   
   
Non-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Airbender
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
X-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
X-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Non-bender
   
   
X-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
Airbender
   
   
X-bender
Case 3.2


   
   
   
   
Non-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Airbender
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
X-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
X-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Non-bender
   
   
Non-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
Airbender
   
   
Airbender

Different elements X and Y

Both non-benders

Case 1.1


   
   
   
   
Non-bender X
   
   
Non-bender Y
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Airbender X
   
   
Non-bender Y
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Non-bender
   
   
X-bender
   
   
Y-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
Airbender
   
   
X-bender
   
   
Y-bender
Case 1.2


   
   
   
   
Non-bender X
   
   
Non-bender Y
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Airbender X
   
   
Non-bender Y
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Non-bender
   
   
Non-bender
   
   
Y-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
Airbender
   
   
Airbender
   
   
Y-bender
Case 1.3


   
   
   
   
Non-bender X
   
   
Non-bender Y
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Airbender X
   
   
Non-bender Y
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Non-bender
   
   
X-bender
   
   
Non-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
Airbender
   
   
X-bender
   
   
Airbender
Case 1.4


   
   
   
   
Non-bender X
   
   
Non-bender Y
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Airbender X
   
   
Non-bender Y
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Non-bender
   
   
Non-bender
   
   
Non-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
Airbender
   
   
Airbender
   
   
Airbender

One bender, the other not

Case 2.1


   
   
   
   
Non-bender X
   
   
Y-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Airbender X
   
   
Y-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Non-bender
   
   
X-bender
   
   
Y-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
Airbender
   
   
X-bender
   
   
Y-bender
Case 2.2


   
   
   
   
Non-bender X
   
   
Y-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Airbender X
   
   
Y-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Non-bender
   
   
Non-bender
   
   
Y-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
Airbender
   
   
Airbender
   
   
Y-bender
Case 2.3


   
   
   
   
Non-bender X
   
   
Y-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Airbender X
   
   
Y-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Non-bender
   
   
X-bender
   
   
Non-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
Airbender
   
   
X-bender
   
   
Airbender
Case 2.4


   
   
   
   
Non-bender X
   
   
Y-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Airbender X
   
   
Y-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Non-bender
   
   
Non-bender
   
   
Non-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
Airbender
   
   
Airbender
   
   
Airbender

Both benders, but with a non-bending ascendant

Case 3.1


   
   
   
   
Non-bender X
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Airbender X
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
X-bender
   
   
Y-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
X-bender
   
   
Y-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Non-bender
   
   
X-bender
   
   
Y-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
Airbender
   
   
X-bender
   
   
Y-bender
Case 3.2


   
   
   
   
Non-bender X
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Airbender X
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
X-bender
   
   
Y-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
X-bender
   
   
Y-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Non-bender
   
   
Non-bender
   
   
Y-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
Airbender
   
   
Airbender
   
   
Y-bender
Case 3.3


   
   
   
   
Non-bender X
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Airbender X
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
X-bender
   
   
Y-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
X-bender
   
   
Y-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Non-bender
   
   
X-bender
   
   
Non-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
Airbender
   
   
X-bender
   
   
Airbender
Case 3.4


   
   
   
   
Non-bender X
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Airbender X
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
X-bender
   
   
Y-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
X-bender
   
   
Y-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Non-bender
   
   
Non-bender
   
   
Non-bender
   
   
   
   
   
   
Airbender
   
   
Airbender
   
   
Airbender

Why did HC give certain non-benders bending? And why AIRbending?

I haven't really thought of that aspect. I'm not the one to tell but I have three hypothesis, all of them excluding Bumi as I've already explained his case:

  1. AIR NOMAD SPIRITUALITY
    1. Because the Air Nomads had been gone for a long time, the spirituality they had affected the Spirit World, in a way that the HC's spiritual energy was in NEED of the "Air Nomad Spirituality", don't ask me how. As an agnostic, I don't believe there's a "God" above us; I think there's "something", but it's not "Human-like" or "conscious". Maybe that's what spiritual energy in Avatar is, an omniscient being who does things at its favour.
    2. The "chosen" new airbenders are spiritual people, with the probable exception of Bumi, whose case I've already explained. Zaheer knew how to meditate into the spirit world, and that's something. Maybe, just maybe, Kai, Opal are people whose "chi-flow" (everyone has chi, benders and non-benders, it's explained) or "spiritual being" was similar to the Air Nomads', including Zaheer (ESPECIALLY Zaheer).
  2. THANKS TO BUMI: It sounds crazy (this whole post sounds crazy, let's face it), but, as I explained before, Bumi was probably the first one to gain airbending in HC (first to obtain it, not discover it). Maybe, because he obtained the bending art he SHOULD have obtained at birth (linked to what I said before on all Air Nomads being airbenders), HC "pushed" it's "energybending" (because lets face it, new airbenders are a product of energybending without the need of an Avatar) to make several non-bending people to obtain beding. Because the first bending it gave was airbending, in Bumi, the spiritual energy "got used" to give airbending to non-benders.

Flaws of this theory

Now, I'm not someone to say that any of this factors above are true, but I know that there are things I might be wrong. First, I already know that bending or non-bending is inherited by both genetics and the mysterious "spirituality factor". As pointed out in this thread:

The Wikia Editor wrote:
The fact that Air Nomads exclusively produced airbenders amongst themselves does not automatically mean that an Air Nomad couldn't still produce non-benders with non-Air Nomads. The Air Nomads were all airbenders because of their high spirituality, not exclusively because of their genetics.

As Neo Bahamut pointed out, having Bumi be a "late bloomer" is a distinction without a difference, and an unsupported one at that. Applying Occam's Razor, the simplest answer is often the correct one, that being that Bumi was probably a non-bender prior to Harmonic Convergence.

Those are my thoughts regarding the matter, thanks for reading let me hear what do you think regarding this interesting topic.

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