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From the Editor: Happy Oogie Day!

Valentine's Day is here! And yes, it's still here no matter what the date on your screen might say. Whether you're single and ready to mingle, foreveralone, or madly in love with Zuko (or another significant other), give the BSST a read today to warm your inner romantic spirit! ...And if you're allergic to romance, just bear with the pink hearts everywhere, our content is still good! Besides, you like Avatar, and Avatar has oogies. Therefore, you like oogies by extension. Right? Anyway, we have tons of stuff to show you guys today, and it was a lot of epic-ness to put together in one issue. I'm excited to stop distracting you up here so you can move onto the juicy stuff below!

Happy Reading!

Smoke and Shadow Rants, Predictions, Shenanigans
It's now been over four years since The Promise Part One was first released, and comic writer Gene Luen Yang continues to expand the universe of the world that Avatar is set through the medium of graphic novels. Just under two months from now we will have the final installment in the Smoke and Shadow trilogy. Given that the first two parts of this current trilogy were quite worthy of praise, expectations are running high for the third part. With it's revitalizing mojo, unexpected plot twists which furthered the story and left readers at the edges of their seats and a myriad of lighthearted moments - because it just wouldn't feel like Avatar if it lacked those appeals - the Smoke and Shadow series thusfar has been executed much like a lost or all-new episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender, from the nonexistent Book Four. So...where to begin?

Well, since it is Valentine's Day after all, we might as well begin on the romantic side of the coin. For starters, there was a short released on Free Comic Book Day, Rebound, which showed Mai interacting with her family and getting over her breakup with Zuko. It also introduces the New Ozai movement, which new love interest Kei Lo has joined up with. Awkward moments have ensued with them and ex-boyfriend Zuko. On the other hand, Mai says that she is seeing Kei Lo because of his connection to the New Ozai Society and the possibility of this proving helpful. Ty Lee doesn't like this, but whoa, come on! It's often understandable when people steal or commit worse crimes for the sake of their family. It may be shady, but I think that leading someone on is at least understandable, if Mai is doing it for her nation and perhaps her family on some level.

To rewind a bit, Maiko first split up back in The Promise Part Two when Mai was upset that Zuko was keeping secrets from her. Even if Zuko and Mai did get back together, presumably that prior argument would have to be resolved somehow. Does it resolve in Zuko's favor? Maybe as the Fire Lord and a head of state, Zuko will have things that he has to keep secret from everyone from time to time, even her. And Mai has to live with that, sometimes for her own safety. Does it resolve in Mai's favor? Zuko bears the burden of the crown alone, but that doesn't necessarily mean he has to be alone when he does so. From now on, he shares everything with her, and they face whatever lies ahead together. Of course, Gene Yang could go another route and instead of having them get back together just keep Mai and Kei Lo together, proving to us that just because people are together one day doesn't mean they're destined to stay together, especially from such a young age (making Aang and Katara a stand-out exception to this). A life lesson for the readers, delivered in a brutal way for many fans, and well, a gutsy move on Yang's part.

Let's also take the cover which will show on the upcoming comic book. The fact that Zuko is front and center leads me to believe that the story will continue to be more about Zuko than about other characters, such as Aang, who is more in the background. Makes sense, as this story arc so far has been very much a test for the young Fire Lord. Of course, it's also very much about Mai, but that's a given even without her on the cover. It's been eight years, but we're spending a lot more quality time with the collection of characters in Team Fire Nation that opened up to us in The Beach. Speaking of which, we got a subtle, not-so-subtle hint on who else might be coming back. Does she have a role with the Kemurikage impostors? With the eery tone in the background, I'm hoping we see a little more of the real Kemurikage too. I think that we will, if the precedent set with the Mother of Faces in The Search and the giant spirits in The Rift is followed.

With all the events of The Promise, The Search and The Rift in mind, there's at least one thing that's fairly certain to come from the final part of Smoke and Shadow. The ending will bring resolution to all the subplots at once, combining some or every one of them at once. This includes the missing kids, their parents, the Kemurikage (real or fake) Mai and Zuko and the former's father. It was also nice in part 2 to see more of the noble history of the past in the Fire Nation. Not much was known before of the Fire Nation before Sozin, and it seems the characters didn't know much else of it either. Whatever happens, we'll find out on April 12th, 3 days before Tax Day in the US, as though we needed another reminder of that.
Avatar as Art: The Final Agni Kai
For this issue of the Ba Sing Se Times, I’m switching gears from my usual critical self in order to focus on why I believe that Avatar: The Last Airbender is worthy of all of the praise that it gets. I’ve been critical of its sequel, The Legend of Korra, but now I want to extoll the virtues of one of what I believe to be the best animated television shows. Period.

Avatar: The Last Airbender is a truly masterful work of animation, music, story, and characters that comes together to craft something truly extraordinary, something that has grown a massive fanbase that includes members of all ages. But how did it do this? Or, better yet, why is it so beloved by so many? What about this animated television show has many people watching and rewatching it? How does it all come together?

That can be explained through what is, in my opinion, one of the best scenes in the show: the final Agni Kai.

This scene is something that encompasses every element that I cited above, and I intend to explain how this works and how it applies to the series as a whole. This scene, in my mind, embodies the peak of the Avatar franchise. It is the pinnacle of Avatar: The Last Airbender, as a work of art.

The first element I want to discuss is the animation. This fight features some of the best in the series, with every movement and gesture indicating both the severity and subtle nuances of the fight. The fire in particular feels like it’s at its most deadly, with blasts pushing Zuko back in subtle, small ways to indicate power. The heat wafts from the flames themselves with intensity that make the fire, both orange and blue, seem real in that moment. To compliment that, the facial expressions of both fighters are beautifully animated, as well. Zuko displays intense focus, while Azula’s face twitches and displays the mannerisms of a person whose world is unraveling. In every respect, the animation brings the violent, desperate moment to life.

But what is a dramatic, animated moment without the proper musical accompaniment? From the “Agni Kai” score to the opening credits, Avatar: The Last Airbender has never been short on epic, powerful tracks that properly capture the mood. So what epic, pounding score do they decide to use for one of the biggest single fights in the series? A dark, slow, somber affair that seems, at first, to be utterly unfit for a grandiose battle…until you realize what this actually is: siblings dueling to the death for the throne of a nation, as both have come to the end of their respective arcs. The music is not meant to pump you up or get your adrenaline going. It’s meant to evoke sadness; it’s meant to recognize that this is not a moment to be celebrated. Rather, it’s two characters who were driven apart by the darkness in their familial line, and it’s their conflict coming to a violent close.

That’s where the story and characters come in. Animation and music are all fine and good; if it looks and sounds great, it has the makings to be great. However, if it lacks the combined power of great storytelling and characters, it simply becomes a style over substance affair, like I feel much of the bending and fight scenes in The Legend of Korra are. They lack the same emotional power because the characters and story are deficient. Not here. Here, as I mentioned, we are offered a crazy family dynamic that we’ve actually come to care about, due in no small part to the effort that the series puts into making most of the villains feel like actual human beings. Watching Zuko struggle through three seasons to find his place in the world and regain his honor brings him here, and Azula’s desire to impress her father because of the lack of attention she felt her mother gave come to a head, as well. This duel is the product of three seasons of development for people who weren’t even the protagonist, something The Legend of Korra should’ve learned from. Every time the two firebenders clash, we feel the weight of their respective plights, and the two arcs simultaneously come to a satisfying, if bittersweet, close.

The reason I use this as an example of Avatar as art is simple: it showcases all of the best elements of the series in one harrowing, awe-inspiring moment. The animation, music, story, and characters come together in perfect execution, giving us a cathartic battle sequence that is so much more than what is happening at the surface level. To put it simply: this sequence is one of the best, if not the best, sequences in the entirety of the franchise, and it does something important. In order to get it in full, it requires that you spend time with the characters involved and get to know their personalities and struggles. It requires that you experience the series in its entirety; it encourages you to do so.

And when you get there? Well, it’s pretty damn impressive.
Earth Kingdom emblem
Your Secret Valentine Submissions
BSST Staff
We asked for 'em, and you sent 'em! We're quite impressed with all this love in the air! Users, beware... You never know who sent you a valentine. Or who responded. Find out if you have a secret admirer below!
  • Dear Fruipit,

I can't believe you dumped me for a Sugar-Ice Queen. I'm wayyy cooler than Elsa and I can kick her butt!

- The Blind Bandit

  • My beloved Dai Li,

I love you for your ninja-epic ways that can singlehandedly control all of Ba Sing Se. Come take over The Ba Sing Se Times if you want, too, I've saved it for you <3

- Love, Your Forever-Fan

  • Dear Ba Sing Se,

Psh, look at how you've fallen without my influence... Your Earth Queen didn't even last 30 seconds against the first intruders. During MY glory days, I was the best thing that ever happened to you. Now excuse me while I go find where I dropped my dentures.

- A Fired Cultural Minister

  • Dear Tarrlok,

Your three ponytails are still fabulous, happy Valentine's day. with love from your biggest fangirl.

- Anonymous

  • Dear Minnichi,

*hisss* *screeeeeech* !!

- The Nazgûl

  • Dear Nazgûl,


- Minn

  • Dearest Omashu Rocks,

Class struggle.
World revolution.
Classless society.

- With the deepest love and loathing, the Anonymoose

  • Dear Anonymoose,

Blood alone will move the wheels of history! Your pathetic attempt to rise against the state will be squashed and your name will be nothing more than a footnote in history - a splattered bug on the windshield of life.

- Omashu Rocks

  • Dear Fire Lord Zuko,

I really love and care for you, and I hope we could be together. But even if we can't, just remember: I will always, always love and care for you. You are worth it. You are amazing. Your presence is like the sun shining on me every day. You are so important to me. Please, continue to sing your wonderful song.

- Someone who will always love you

  • Dear Korra,

You'll always be my one and only.

- Bolin

  • Dear Bolin,

Excuse me?

- Opal

  • Dearest Minnichi,

When I first met you, your Dai Li knowledge and emerald garb struck fear in my heart. I mean, it still does, but now we're friends. So it's like a friendly terror.

- With a slight sense of intimidation, your protégé Bray

  • Dear Protégé Bray,

Always happy to terrify you ♥

- Minn

  • Dear Mageddon725,

Your obsession with my love life is creepy.

- Agent Hiroshu Leung

  • Dear Lady Lostris,

Who are you, and why do you share my name? You don't have a thing with Tanus, do you?

- The heiress of the Nile

  • Dear Zaheer,

If it makes you feel better, my first girlfriend turned into the moon. We've got it rough, buddy.

- The Guy with a Boomerang

  • Dear Ghost of Roku,

Thank you so much for breathing life into our characters with your writing! It is a gift both of us treasure very much. Can we make a suggestion? We were hoping that once our war love story is done, you could write a sequel series. You know, about us married and living peacefully together after the war. So that the fans can see what a real happily ever after looks like.

- Earth Girl and Fire Prince, xoxoxo

  • Dear Earth Girl and Fire Prince,

Thanks for the wishes, guys! And thanks for being so fun for me to write :D

Heheh...well...I...don't let's dwell on the future. Gotta have surprises, as it's no fun if you know what's coming, right? How about we all just concentrate on the present for now.

- Ghost of Roku

  • Dear Mr. Rocks,

Dashed lines. I win.

- Your Boss in Emerald

  • Dear raging lunatic,

When all is said and done and the world is thrust into the glorious age of solid lines, I will try to remember you as a once worthy opponent.

- Sincerely, He Who Will Destroy Dashed Lines

  • Dear Sparkstoaflame,

We like what you're doing with our stories, but can we have a happy ending sometimes? </3

- Korra and Asami

  • Dear BSST Staff,

We will overthrow you. This time it will happen

- Anonymous

  • Sorry Anonymous,

We already took care of that.

- Love, WLS Staff

  • Dear KettleMeetPot,

You are a lifesaver for us all with the subscription module you invented. We're indebted to you, you ninja coding genius!

- The Fanon Portal

  • To the most highly regarded Lady of Lostris,

"And who is she?"
A fool might say,
Ignorant of thy deeds.
I know not thee,
Merely thy ways,
Yet thou t'my worship lead'st.
Thy words' beauty,
With them thou play'st,
Exceeds the greatest needs.
No professional, yet close,
Thou werest the best, if I chose.

Despite long waits, despite long waits
Thou deliverest, always.
Worth it, it is, worth it, it is
Every chapter's a blaze.
Worth it, it is, worth it, it is,
For every chapter's a blaze.

P.S.: Yes, "blaze" is now, apparently, a legitimate expression for high quality.

- From almost Russia not at all that, actually with love, someone known by a regional short form of "Joseph"

  • Dear Kuvira,

I got my butt kicked by the Avatar united the Earth Kingdom first, you copier.

- Chin the Conqueror

  • Dear Kuvira,

Just be thankful I wasn't around during your time :)

- Avatar Kyoshi

  • Dear Raava,

You never came to encourage *me* when I was losing a fate-of-the-world battle .... :(

- The Guy Who Used to be The Last Airbender

  • Dearest Koh,

I want my name back.

- Potassium hydroxide

  • Dear Potassium Hydroxide,

Only if you're a strong acid with extra protons for me ROFLCOPTER

- Love, K-OH

  • Dear Bomochu,

Ima, Ima, Water Tribe Gurl yo ~

- Miki of Manirak

  • Dear Omashu Rocks,

You're right, my city is the best! Ahahaha *snort* hehe *snort*

- A Mad Genius King

  • Dear AvatarRokusGhost,

I refuse to believe that you thought of asphyxiation via airbending first.

- Zaheer

  • Dear Toph,

Looks like our little Su turned out well in the end, I'm proud of her! I'm not sure she knows my name, though.

- Suyin's Father

  • Dear Minnichi,

Miss you fam! How's it going?

- Suzon

  • Dear Suzon,

Oh hay! Well you know, taking over the BSST and brainwashing everyone, nothing much. We miss you, too!

- Minn

  • Our beloved Typhoonmaster,

We still have the most exquisite burritos waiting for you at our new headquarters.

- WLS BSST Staff

  • Dear Tarrlok,

WHY AREN'T YOU A REAL PERSON? Now I have to spend Valentine's day alone - but I'll be thinking of you <3<3<3<3

- OnlyTarr Lokfanintheworldprobably

  • Dear Aang,

Thanks for being DA BEST AVATAR EVAAA! (sorry Korra). Love you forever!

- Katara

  • Dear Lady Lostris,

MOST AWESOMEST (yes, that's a word) USER EVA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for all the hard work you do on the wiki!

- Anonymous

  • Dear KatrinasForest and Raptorrowan,

Why is my Forever-Girl with Zuko? WHERE DID I GO WRONG?! </3

- A Heartbroken Airbender

  • Dear Kei Lo,

I'll date you if Mai doesn't work out. I like sensitive guys!

- Someone with a Pink Aura

  • To the most eccentric and noble Azula,

My ideals are red, much unlike your fire Screw it all, let's build a Commie Empire.

Or let's spend some time together in another way, sometime, as you like. Though some revolution or coup would be nice.

- With love and admiration, the Anonymoose

  • Dear Minnichi,

Congrats on such a well-written love story. I'm reading it for the holiday this year. It should totally be a book :)

- An anonymous fan

  • Dear Minnichi,

Never mind, I take it back. You broke my heart. I'm not talking to you. If this was a book I would totally throw it across the room right now.

- An anonymous fan

  • Dear Minnichi,

I take back my take-back. You're story's amazing! Can you please publish the next chapter soon?

- An anonymous fan

  • Dear anonymous fan,

D'aw, thank you! And yep that's me, breaking the hearts of readers since 2011. Wait - you asked about the next chapter? I, uh... Happy Valentine's Day! ♥

- Minn

  • Dear Manzai,

Please come back and write more. Must see how Heir of Ban ends.

- An anticipating fan

  • Dear Bomo,

Happy V-day to our MVP! Whoot!

- A fan of the Fanon Awards

  • Dear Mage,

Do you actually like anything you watch?

- A fan of many things

  • Dear Sokka,

Do I give you the oogies, too?

- Tenzin's Bison

  • Dear Raava,

I guess we weren't bonded forever after all... Thinking of you :'(

- The First Avatar

  • Dear M. Night Shyamalan,

Hey, who's Ong? Do I know him?

- Aang

  • Dear Lady Lostris,

I have never dared to tell you, but since the very first time we met... I have strongly felt your investment in the wiki and everything you do. I think in the Avatar universe you would be a true firebender, with your passion!

Ily bby can we have a date?

- Anonymous

  • Dear Bosco,

Bosco you lovely bear, i love you, please ask Bryan and Mike for Avatar The Last Airbender BLU RAY!

- Lawrence Shepherd

  • Dear Omashu Rocks,

Thanks for being my fanon's first... well, fan! :)

- Katrina

  • Dear Izumi,

Your voice is so beautiful, like that of the light spirit. Love you always!

- Your husband, Kalos

  • Dear Duke of Skibbington,

Thanks for being by far our most dedicated non-staff contributor. Your continual efforts and recruiting of new columnists have been epic. Best BSST volunteer, I say, and definitely an effective instigator of action ;)

- Minn

  • Dear Ziryerx,

As often as I stay up OCD-ing over social things like this, I always see you updating the encyclopedia and being a true team player for us all. Thank you for being one of the ultra rare, truly super editors. You rock!

- Minn

  • Dear Lostris,

No valentine nor blurb in a newsletter will ever capture how much gratitude we owe you on this wiki, but I'm going to thank you for it all anyway. Thank you for being the one who does what needs to be done - which tends to be everything. And oh, thank you again for being the first friendly face that got me to join AW in the first place :)

- Minn

  • Dear Gingalover,

I admire you a lot for showing true dedication to your fanon. You never needed any attention nor recognition to keep going, and to do it consistently for years. Although I'll take the chance to recognize you right here ;)

- Minn

  • Dear Water Spout,

Thanks for making the epic banner we still use at the top of each BSST issue! Also, someone needs to tell you that you are just epic at finding Avatar news as soon as it comes out. Because of you, we're never kept in the dark! Thank you so much for keeping us all updated and for truly being in touch with Avatar happenings.

- Minn

  • Dear KMP,

Thank you for strengthening the foundation of the BSST! Thanks for the secret headquarters. And for the fanon submodule. And for all the templates. And this page background. And - you get the point. I'll never be as good as you, but I've learned from you so many of the ways of snazzy page layouts and pretty templates...and well, running a newsletter in general. You've taught your former Deputy Editor well, and I'll admit life as a Minnion/puppet wasn't so bad haha. Thanks for everything - AND for still saving my butt to this day with the occasional coding crisis!

- Minn

  • Dear Mage,

I still have to thank you for your willingness to listen to spoiler after spoiler and rant after rant whenever I'm tossing around SHiE chapter drafts heheh. Ya spotted this random author since the day I joined, and it's been fun watching how you react to each successive (and wonderfully delayed) chapter update!

- Minn

  • Dear Bomo,

You took the portal by storm when you entered the Fanon Awards Council. It's too bad that your heroic deeds are the kind people don't always see at the surface, but it was truly you who kept things running with or without the other councilors. A true team player for the fanon portal! I wish there was an award for that... Maybe I'll come up with one! >:D

- Minn

  • Dear SorcererSupreme21,

Each of the user icons you've changed into have been really creative or epic, and I mean that sincerely. I was pretty fond of Gandalf with sunglasses, though I must say that your mustached monocle smoking a pipe is lookin' sharp at the moment.

- Minn

  • Dear Kyoshidude,

I always thought you were an under-recognized author. You're quite the writer, and it's wonderful to see that you've never stopped loving it. Hope to see you back here more often!

- Minn

  • Dear ARG,

You are such a chill guy. You've remained so throughout pretty much every widespread fanon portal project we've worked through - and that's a lot. It's been a pleasure journeying through portal life over the years and always working with you in one way or another xD Let's see this to the end, eh?

- Minn

  • Dear OR,

WLS co-editing with you was one of the best things about the fanon portal, and we're so lucky you brought the same spirit to the BSST! You are one hell of an author, and you've always been the most insanely awesome, unpredictable, and memorable user to work with. I don't think people understand how on earth our teamwork is possible, and tbh I don't think I'll try to either haha. But it works, and I'm so glad for the crazy things we've started here ...Ah, forget dramatic speeches. DASHED LINES!!!

- Minn

  • To my Deputy Editors,

ARG, OR, you guys are wonderful. The BSST would fall apart without you guys. We already knew this since the WLS days, but I'm so proud of our staff and so glad we're still killin' it here ;) You guys are the most epic users one can hope to work with for this demanding gig. Thank you for bearing with my chronic tardiness and rambling about codes in headquarters. Honestly, I'm really thankful you actually could take me seriously haha! You're the best!

- Minn

  • To our article writers,

You literally keep the BSST alive. We love you.

- BSST Staff xoxo

  • To our community,

Thank you all for your creative, snarky, and hilarious valentine submissions. It's clear that you love this place as much as we do, and it's been a great experience seeing what one can come up with under the cover of anonymity! You are all awesome!

- BSST Staff

Upcoming BSST Interview with Gene Yang
Hello, community! If you didn't already know, Gene Luen Yang - author of The Promise, The Search, and The Rift - is one of the kindest, most gracious people to reach out to. This wonderful author has answered our fan questions for almost all his Avatar comics before, and he's coming back to enlighten us about Smoke and Shadow next month! He's agreed to let me be the interviewer this time around, and I'd like to take a moment to emphasize how grateful I am for his generosity. As you fire away with your questions, remember to thank him, too!

With that said, I'm most definitely taking suggestions! We'll be focusing on the Smoke and Shadow trilogy for this questionnaire, although any inquiries about Avatar technicalities (age, timeline, inspirations, etc.) are fair game. I'll be watching for the most common topics you guys bring up in your suggestions to base the questions off of, and I'll also try to make sure that none of them have already been answered before in some shape or form. Don't hesitate to voice your curiosity; you might not be the only one who wants to know!

This interview will be featured exclusively in the March 2016 issue of The Ba Sing Se Times, so you're in the right place. The answers will all be gathered right before publish day (mid-March), so keep in mind that this means the final installment of Smoke and Shadow will be released around two weeks later, maybe less. Please try not to ask "what will happen in Part 3" type questions if you can, since you'd be finding out quite soon.

So! What do you want to know about Smoke and Shadow? Any loose ends in the Avatarverse you'd like to clarify? Let the editor know in the comments below!
Ship of the Issue: Bakoda
Ship of the Week is finally back, now in the form of Ship of the Issue! For this issue, I am going to be talking about Bakoda, which is the ship between Bato and Hakoda. It is alternatively known as “Water Tribe Husbands.”

Bato and Hakoda have been best friends for a long time. Their friendship goes all the way back to their childhood as they played pranks on people, including Hakoda’s mother Kanna. Hakoda did marry a woman named Kya at one point and had two children with her but she was eventually murdered. It is unknown if Bato ever was ever married. The two are still great friends even well into adulthood. They are seen fighting side by side throughout the series. Bato also mentions that Sokka is just like Hakoda.

I did not ship Bakoda for a long time because I found it to be overrated and I preferred the canon pairing Hakya. However, I eventually remembered that Kya is dead and that remarriage after being widowed has already happened in the Avatar universe. If Kanna is allowed to get remarried, then Hakoda should be allowed to love again as well. I do like Bakoda now but I can also see them just being friends. We don’t even know if either of them are even attracted to men. While I personally would like to see them together, I don’t see any evidence pointing at them being together romantically.

Pros: • Bato and Hakoda are very close and enjoy being around each other.

Cons: • The two have never shown signs of a romantic attraction to each other. • Hakoda ended up with Kya and had two children, even if she is now deceased.

While I ship Bakoda, I admit that there is nothing to suggest romance between them as they seem to just be close friends and nothing more.
Avatar Face-Off: Azula v. Kuvira
Duke of Skibbington
Anyone familiar with my Avatar Colosseum would know that this is the first battle I wrote. I'm curious as to your opinions.

Azula is the fierce firebending daughter of Fire Lord Ozai and rival of her brother, Zuko. Kuvira was raised and trained by Suyin Beifong before going rogue. They are two of the only people to take down the Avatar in combat - Azula in the Crystal Catacombs of Old Ba Sing Se and Kuvira outside the gates of Zaofu.

Azula is a powerful firebender, perhaps the only one to ever use blue fire. She is a deadly and precise lightning bender. She is very agile and nimble, being able to avoid most of even the Avatar's quickest attacks. She is a natural leader, being able to inspire and terrify her men (and women) into following her. Although being a formidable opponent, she often relies on her friends to help her out of precarious situations. In Book 3, Azula wears metal armour, while she does not wear any armour in Book 2.

Kuvira is a powerful earthbender, skilled in metalbending. Unlike that of a typical earthbender, her bending is precise and calculated. She uses whips and shards of metal with which she can bind people and lift them as though she were a bloodbender. Kuvira controls a massive army but is often a more independent fighter, owing to a different upbringing. Kuvira is clad in metal on her shoulders and back. She too is a brilliant leader. Having persuaded the Zaofu security force to embark on a journey to stabilise the Earth Kingdom, she restored order to Ba Sing Se and all of the Kingdom in but three years.

In a battle between them, Azula's superior agility would give her a slight edge in the battle but Kuvira's use of neutral jing and perfect timing may overcome this. While Kuvira's armour may be a lightning rod, Azula's armour would also make her extremely vulnerable to the metalbender's attacks; all the same, Azula doesn't always wear the armour. I think that Kuvira's superior brute strength and her use of a more versatile sub-element would make her win, considering she is accustomed to fighting fast foes while Azula is only experienced with slower earthbenders. This can be seen when Aang and Zuko easily out-paced and defeated her.

If you wish to share your opinion, please write in the comment section below. I should very much love to see a healthy discussion based on it.

Who do you think would win in a fight?

The poll was created at 10:28 on February 15, 2016, and so far 41 people voted.
White lotus tile icon
White lotus tile icon
Hello there! Bomochu the bombchu here with his first ever BSST article! Hurrah! *Throws confetti*

Anyway, as you may have guessed from the lame title of this piece, I thought it would be cool to write a short article about the genre of fanfiction known as ‘OC’, or ‘Original Character’ fanfiction.

So before I came to this wikia (and I still do this now) I always found myself coming up with new characters for whatever series I was watching. From Avatar to The Walking Dead, I would enjoy coming up with original characters, wondering how they would interact with the others and what direction the story would take. And so after a while I decided to try my hand at writing my very own OC fanon.

But after reading a bit on, it became apparent that in some fandoms OC was not a popular genre. Actually, in many fandoms it was unpopular. I even recall reading one story where there was a warning saying “Warning; this fanfiction is OC,” almost as if it were an equivalent warning to “Warning: Rated M contains mature content and offensive language.”!

So why does OC have such a bad rep in some places to the point that authors have to warn readers that their story is OC? Especially when OC can be a really fun genre to write for and to read? Well, I am still fairly new to the world of fanfiction, though after doing a bit of searching and including some of my own thoughts here are four points which perhaps begin to answer this question of why OC fanfiction can be unpopular, and these are also some things to consider when writing your own OC fanon:

1. The Mary-Sue/Gary-Stu effect

Any author who has written OC probably loves their characters. I mean, it’s like creating a whole new person and watching them grow; the character starts as a faceless individual, though slowly as you work with them and create them you soon find they become your best friend. That’s why it can be hard sometimes to create a character who is flawed, or has some area of their character that they need to grow in. We like our characters so much we just want them to be perfect.

But the fact is that perfect OC’s are boring OC’s. And annoying. Remember that one kid in class who wasn’t just a brain-box but could run fast, paint beautifully, and sing like an angel? Well, this is why the ‘Mary-Sue/Gary-Stu’ effect can occur in OC fanon; a perfect but bland OC who is unrealistic, the best at everything and immediately worshipped by all the canon characters. So when writing OC, make sure your character has some sort of depth to them or struggle to work through, not that they have to be a blubbering mess over something wrong with themselves each chapter, but maybe just make them not the best at everything. Maybe they aren’t the best firebender? Or maybe they are because they’ve spent years training and neglecting their relationships with others to do so? With OC, it’s all about being realistic, so make sure your character isn’t just the best thing to ever walk the earth and steal the spotlight from the other canon characters.

2. And... Who are you?

When writing for canon characters the main issue is keeping them in character. But with OC’s the reader really knows nothing about them. That’s why it is important to know who your characters are and introduce them in a way that is relatable. You don’t want to have your readers trying to feel sad when your OC is weeping because they lost their pet jackalope. But that will happen if your readers know nothing about your character and can’t really care about what happens to them. So give your OC enough of a backstory so that readers will know who they are. You want your OC to be liked, and this can partly be done by giving the readers enough information about them. Your readers need to know who your OC really is before they can actually care what happens to them.

3. Like Oil and Water

One of the fun things about OC fanon is seeing how the new character fits in with everyone else. However, like the Mary-Sue issue this can be one of the biggest problems with OC, especially when it comes to romance. Don’t have a new female character fall in love with Sokka at first sight because she loves boomerangs, devours meat like a tigerdillo, and lives for witty sarcastic comments. I don’t know about you, but if I met someone exactly like me I would be rather creeped out. But also don’t have Sokka fall in love with an OC air acolyte, and then suddenly he becomes a vegetarian and never utters a syllable of sarcasm again.

The idea with either OC/canon romance and the OC’s interactions with all of the canon characters is to make them relate realistically. Don’t change a canon character’s personality to fit with the OC’s. We know who the canon characters are, and as readers we just want to know how the OC will mix with the others. That doesn’t mean they all have to get along straight away either. It could even be more realistic say if your OC really gets on well with Asami but argues with Mako every five seconds. Just don’t have your OC descend from the clouds in bright light with everyone bowing to them, nor have all of Team Avatar hurl stones at them and tie them to a post to be burned. Find a middle ground. Maybe people are distrusting at first? Perhaps your OC is really likable until someone gets too close and finds out something dark about them? Not every canon character has to like your OC, but your aim should be for every reader to like them, and having your OC interact realistically will help with this.

4. The Plot Thickens

Another thing to consider when introducing an OC is how they will contribute to the ‘big picture’. Your character will be far more likable not only if they interact with the other canon characters believably, but also have some sort of part to play in the grand scheme of things. A useless character is like an extra leg growing from your knee cap; while it may look interesting at first in reality it is really cumbersome, and simply gets in the way of any real movement. In the same way, a useless OC who contributes nothing to the main plot will hinder any exciting story, so make sure your OC has a better reason for being in your fanon besides ‘#YOLO’.

So there you have it; four things to consider when writing an OC fanon. Again, I am no expert on writing OC and I’m sure there are many more things to keep in mind when introducing an OC to a story. Though it may seem daunting creating a whole new character, the most important thing is to have fun with it! I suppose the key is just to make sure above all else that your OC is realistic in who they are, how they are introduced, how they relate to others, and why they are there. OC is a really cool variety of fanon, and I hope that even though the Legend of Korra TV series has ended, there will be many eager authors out there who will be able to create their very own characters to keep Avatar alive. :)
Romance Around the
Fanon Portal

Hey, portal dwellers! Though you probably didn't notice (or feel like answering, sure) the little note at the bottom of this blog, I'd asked the fanon portal as a whole for any authors who were willing to share a little of what's going on with their stories in terms of romance. There's hearts everywhere on this page, for crying out loud! Made me wonder how many of you guys actually incorporate love into your fanons. So how does the average author see it? What are they up to?

The universal question asked was:

"What is the current state of your fanon protagonist's love life? Does s/he have one, and if not, why?"

Author of The Callgirl

"Asami's love life is... difficult. After she found out that her last girlfriend was only using her for her money, they promptly broke up. This event four years ago has had a catastrophic effect on her trust, though. She always forces herself to second-guess people who get close to her romantically, and Korra is no exception. In fact, Korra has it even more difficult than most, given the nature of her profession... As a prostitute."

Author of Dragons, Sieges and Volcanoes

"Ratana's tried for a long time to be a loner, but it hasn't worked out for her. Now, she's fallen for a forbidden love interest who is part of the enemy army threatening everything she holds dear. Thus, her love life is eating her from the inside out like quicksand in that it gets worse as she struggles against it."

Author of Spirit of the North

"Miki's love life? Hah. Given her reputation and her shy nature she hasn't exactly made much progress. Her sister Saskha on the other hand has dabbled in romance, particularly with her childhood sweet-heart, Kesuk. Being the sons and daughters of councilmen there's always been talk of an arranged marriage..."

Katrinasforest and Raptorrowan,
Coauthors of Powers Saga

"In Hidden Powers (Book 2 of Powers Saga), Bolin's love life isn't going so well. When Opal says she never wants to see his face again, that's a pretty sure sign that it's over. He really shouldn't be getting involved with anyone again so soon... especially a combustionbender who may or may not be planning to assassinate the Firelord."

Lady Lostris,
Author of Heiress of the Nile

"Seraphine will hate me. And Lostris already does. Oh, and then there is Taita who loved Amanra, who loved Tamose more, but then he died ... and then later she died ... so yeah, there's that. Oeps."

Author of The White Lotus

"Yoriko doesn't really think about romantic love at all. Apart from being adopted by a single woman after a spirit killed her parents, she also needs to be focused on mastering the elements in preparation for things to come. Additionally, she's focused on trying to find a way to cleanse the Avatar Spirit, who has been corrupted. She has a lot to deal with, in essence, and the last thing she needs is romance."

Omashu Rocks,
Author of Crossfire

"Well, Nalia's love life is virtually nonexistent, for the moment at least. I suppose that's what happens when lovers become nemeses. To paraphrase a line from everyone's favorite tea-loving uncle, 'Hmmm, old [boy]friends that aren't trying to kill me....'"

Author of Fire, Song and a Snowstorm

"Elsi and Mihoshi have been friends since they were very young, and have loved each other since then, though they didn't really realize it was love until they were both trapped in Aira's fortress. Though, I think they subconsciously knew of their feelings for one another, as Elsi had this feeling of not wanting to let Mihoshi down, and they've always been protective of each other (Elsi especially, she's protective of everyone she cares about).'"

Let's hear it for these epic authors! Truly a variety of romance we have here in our fanon community. And though I may not be able to represent the entire fanon collection in this article, you can be sure that those above happen to be among the good ones ;)

*NOTE: There are new submissions pending for this article, because the editor was a fail in the invitation blog and used a faulty email form. Be sure to stick around to hear from the incoming romantic authors!
50 50
Epic Rap Battles of
Fanon:Round 2

AvatarRokusGhost, Omashu Rocks
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the second installment of Avatar Wiki's insane hottest new column, Epic Rap Battles of Fanon!

This is a live battle between two original characters from the beloved works of our fanon portal. Each OC is written authentically by his or her respective author, no differently than how you would encounter them in their fanons. The parent authors have taken turns responding to each other's literary attacks, adapting and adjusting to strike back with anything their writer's imaginations can come up with! It's an epic war, a clash of authorship and swag! And today, we present:

The Ghostly AvatarRokusGhost
Omashu Rocks the Politician

As you read on, keep track of who's writing by following their ID color! (AvatarRokusGhost writes in green, and Omashu Rocks red... Also, a certain host is in purple.)
Let the Battle...BEGIN!

Sharp, thin jets of fire and large, rounded chunks of earth flew back and forth across the field of battle between the opposing forces of the Fire Nation and the Earth Kingdom. Meanwhile, the nonbending warriors of each nation hurled their spears and swung their swords and axes, the buzz of grunts, clashes and yells deafening in the air around them. The all-out efforts of both sides, however, were proving to be in vain, as neither one of them was ready to give in before the other was completely crushed and exhausted. Once this became apparent, a ceasefire was called and a pair of negotiators were brought in to mediate from both sides.

The blonde negotiator from the Fire Nation side rode to the center of the battlefield atop an elephant to greet his counterpart from the opposing side. "You who associate yourself with the ghost of Roku," he began, "do you not know that the former Avatar was from the Fire Nation?"

"Aye," the red-haired negotiator from the Earth Kingdom said as he drifted over. "What of it? The city of Omashu is part of the Earth Kingdom, is it not? And yet here you are, representing the Fire Nation today."

"Let's get down to business," the Fire Nation negotiator suggested as he hopped down from his elephant. "Neither of our sides can take this much longer."

"Indeed," said the Earth Kingdom negotiator. "The solution is simple. Let both sides call forth a champion to settle it once and for all."

"Capital idea," said the Fire Nation negotiator, his lips curling. "I call forth Nalia, firebending prodigy and skilled assassin of the elite Shepherds!"

"And I call forth Ratana of the Terra Team, renowned captain of their forces and master earthbender. Let us have a match to the death!"

The Fire Nation negotiator hesitated. "Well..."

"Well what?" asked the red-haired ghost. "Are you having second thoughts? Do you doubt your champion's abilities now?"

"No, it's not that," said the blonde elephant-rider. "Believe me, my champion would crush yours in a battle any day, but I feel like I've watched or written these kind of fight scenes dozens of times before, and they blend together after a while, don't they?"

"I suppose so," agreed the Earth Kingdom negotiator. "Do you propose some alternative?"

"I do," said the Fire Nation negotiator. "We'll have a rap battle."

The ghostly Earth Kingdom negotiator clapped his hands together. "Excellent!" He turned to the confused earthbender and firebender before them. "Let the rhythm be your guide, challengers."

"Nalia, you go first," said the Fire Nation negotiator.

WHAT'S UP, Fanon Portal?! This is Agent Minnichi, your host and commentary for tonight!

It seems like things are getting heated between the Ghost and the Politician! Before we begin, a brief note on last round's winner: A tie between Yuhan and...cabbages. *cries in a corner* Ahem anyway, you can be sure that the two tough girls competing tonight will best that vegetable! The REAL question is... Which girl is tougher? ♪ Suspenseful music ♫

What do you think, Nalia?!

Shhhh. Can you hear that? The sound of defeat!
Only Verse One, but I already have you beat!
Listen well Ratana, cause when I'm through with you
I know for sure my fire won't be the only thing thats blue!

Don't you know who I am? If not then let me tell you!
I'm the chick who kicks your scrawny *ss if I even smell you!
I'm a member of the Shepherds, so don't you even try.
I've killed men with my bare hands since before you were alive!

Yeah I'm bad to the bone. I'm the worst of all the b*tches!
But when this thing is over, you're gonna need a hundred stitches!
I'll cut you, I swear! I'm messed up in the head!
Go cry to one of your comrades before they're all dead!

Go home, little girl, before you get hurt.
Have fun in the Earth Kingdom, rolling in the dirt!
I heard your disguise as a man didn't end so well.
Are you wearing it now, cause with that face, I can't freaking tell!

OH SNAP! Shots fired! Shots of blue fire! What does our noble earthbending captain have to say to such a vicious attack at...everything that could possibly be attacked?!

Watch out , guys, here comes Ratana!

Nalia girl, please! Fighting, on you I've got years!
Only one way to end, and for you that's tears!
Little girl, you ain't fit to be my cheerleader,
In the end, you'll be one huge bleeder!

The ground beneath us I have merely to bend!
And far from this stage you I will send!
Just like I eat sleep and breathe I kill men from the Fire Nation,
Not tiny little dogs, for me, from fighting there is no vacation!

I've seen you kill, and why you kill so slow!
On the job is no time to play, go finish off your mortal foe!
Battle hard, battle to the end, that's the way of the Terra Team posse!
But posse I do not need, not to beat thee!

Smack talk me girl, all I hear is you groan and groan,
Gotta ask you, why you always wander so alone,
Terra Team Captain, I love my man like I love my dragon,
And Nalia, you can't even trust the man you shaggin'!


This earthbender's sent back a rocky avalanche of insults! (See what I did there? See? Hehe - eh...anyway.)

Are you gonna take that, Nalia?!

Don't bring up men, your love's an abomination!
You can't fall for the prince of an enemy nation!
All the boys chase me, week after week!
Get those hunks in my bed, and we never just sleep!

An earthbending woman? Not very classy.
But it's cute you even think that you can out-sass me!
You should give up, 'cause you don't stand a chance!
Even you can't bend these giant stones in my pants!

I've got a mask, a sword, and a cape just for show!
I've seen your style, and let me tell you, it blows!
Take a fashion tip, honey, that armor is out!
That's why you're losing this war, there is no doubt!

You know there's reason that I'm always alone.
People run scared once my powers I've shown!
I fill the biggest, the toughest, soldiers with fear!
And I'll do the same to you, so ready your tears!

Anddd she's back with another sizzling display of rapping prowess!

Can Ratana possibly keep up?!

Talk yourself up, in the end its all lies!
To beat you I need no plan, I'll just improvise!
Puh-lease, for your own good you gotta realize,
Anyone, anywhere that face me this way dies!

Face my classy bending, you'll be in a rockalanche!
Just give up, girl, and go back to the ranch!
Let me teach a lesson to you, young Shepherd!
Value your life, then you better not get me stirred!

Girl, you talk about my outfit, you must be blind!
Where I come from, that costume of yours is decades behind!
Your sad attempt to take our country is a 90-year drive!
Firebenders will never get Ba Sing Se, not while I'm alive!

I heard that a couple times you couldn't complete your own mission!
Yet Nalia, you stand here before me, you've got some ambition!
However, it must clearly be for your own self-demolition!
Because that's what I'll bring to you, that's my definition!

Uh oh, they're starting to drag their national duties into this! Shi...take shrooms gettin' real!!!

Which one of them will crack first? Nalia seems pretty sure it ain't herself!

Who taught you to rap, girl? Was it yo mama?
You just squeak like a mouse, that's why they call you RAT-ana!
I'm the superior rapper, you can't even touch me!
My rhymes are so hot, they'll burn down your whole country!

Yeah alright its true; I've had some roadblocks.
But I'm proud to be written by Om-a-shu Rocks!
My enemies are tough, they aren't no joy,
But you were deceived by some little boy!

One thing we have in common? A lot of men hate us!
Our ambition, our drive, our strength is what makes us!
Blue fire's my weapon. Vengeance, my motivation!
I'll win every battle, 'cause I'm my father's creation!

OUCH! Burn! (See what I - never mind.)

Anddd the first parent-author-card has been played! The crowds are going wild!

What does Ratana have to say to that?!

I'm a natural, need no Sifu to rap!
Nalia, I've never seen someone so often land in a trap!
That's clearly no way to go and rescue Ming!
Boy, oh boy, this is going to really sting!

All day and all night, I can hold of any siege!
Deceit for your comrades, Nalia where's your liege!
Get a dose of me once, getting rid of me all is too hard!
Must write me chapter after chapter, just ask ARG!

For both of us, danger lies in our lover!
Still we go head-on, we don't run for cover!
The earth itself is my extension, I fear no dead end!
When push comes to shove, I can always earthbend!

Is that a parallel I sense? What a phenomenal sight! Opposite ends of the bada** spectrum, clashing equally opposite against each other!

Or are they less opposites than we imagined? o_o

Our nations went back and forth for a century!
I'll protect my people!
I want my sister set free!
I've fallen for Lu Ten!
I'm coming for Sozin!
Betrayed, loner, outcast, we can't catch a break!
Count my blessings and improvise, do what I do best!
Focus on what's ahead, can't let Ming be oppressed!

WHOO, you go girls! I can't tell who won the crowds, it's so loud in here that the roof will blow any second!

...Wait, the roof is actually coming down. OH SH* -

(A loud explosion cuts off the sound of Minnichi's microphone. No one is sure if she survived, but they're too busy cheering on the rappers to care.)

As the dust settled the two warriors, out of breath but showing no signs of weakness, noticed the hoards of Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom soldiers alike crowded around them in a circle. Many were cheering, more were jeering, and some had been reduced to tears by the epic showdown that had taken place before them. Both women, having left it all on the field, joined together and simultaneously dropped one microphone each on the ground. With such strong showings from both sides, the stupefied crowds could not possibly determine a winner, and so it was decided that the champion would be voted upon by the mysterious "users" of the Avatar Wiki.

Based on the fanon series Dragons, Sieges and Volcanoes by AvatarRokusGhost, and Crossfire by Omashu Rocks


The poll was created at 10:33 on February 15, 2016, and so far 15 people voted.
Want to own the stage in your own rap battle? Challenge any active author of your choice in the comments below simply by typing "I challenge (username)!" There are no rematches, but one author can challenge as many as s/he wants, if the other accepts.
On My Radar:
Spirit of the North

Omashu Rocks
Happy Valentine's Day fellow Avatar Wikians! I hope you all have a special someone to celebrate the day with, but chances are that's not the case if you're wasting your time on the internet. Regardless, the rest of us loners users can come together and commemorate the anniversary(?) of St. Valentine's brutal martyrdom. Love is in the air, and so are the tears of Carolina Panthers fans.

Speaking of the Super Bowl, I also hope everyone had a fun-filled Sunday watching American hero Peyton Manning, who has never been in seen in the same room as the Batman, end his career on a championship win all thanks to Papa Johns, Nationwide, and Budweiser. Nothing's wrong with advertisement, folks, just like there's no harm in the free publicity of my now-regular On My Radar installments.

This issue, we will be traveling to the North Pole, a place with an average temperature of -40 degrees Farenheight (also -40 degrees Celsius) but yet somehow warm enough for Aang to war his normal monk clothes and not freeze to death. There, the story of a well-meaning young bloodbender girl named Miki unfolds, thanks to author and serial Zelda weapon misspell-er Bomochu. Miki has the misfortune of being born in a time long before the events of Avatar: The Last Airbender, and also before the rare skill of bloodbending was understood or even known. After a tragic incident results in Miki discovering her newfound abilities, her villagers determine she has been cursed by a spirit and cast her and her family out of their once-honorable position in society. Wanting something more for her life than to waste away in her family's sad state of affairs, Miki sets off for the journey of a lifetime and a quest for independence, knowledge, and purpose.

Friends, this fanon has everything. For starters, this plot is entirely original. It's hard to come by unique stories nowadays, but I've never seen any concept quite like this developed in this way. To add depth to an already-promising storyline, the author fleshes out character development quite skillfully, with enough strong character moments in just the first few chapters to get readers attached. I genuinely found myself rooting for Miki, and rooting for her family to dig themselves out of their sorry situation. Minor characters are also enjoyable from the start, notably a lovable librarian by the name of Junetsu. Improving upon the strong emotional attachment invoked by the interactions of these people is a backstory that Bomochu introduces early on in the story that forces readers to become fully invested in Miki's future. The fanon even has a truly wonderful animal character in the form of Ulva, Miki's wolf friend.

The aforementioned elements are always key to the creation of an entertaining and captivating fanfiction, but they are merely the backbone of this soon-to-be titan. What brings the tale to life is the "old school" adventure feel that gives Spirit of the North such character. The writing brought me back to the days of ATLA, when I watched the characters I loved grow, struggle, and overcome monumental obstacles on their unbelievable journey. This fanon may only be eighteen chapters deep thus far, but it has the makings of another legend, and it is clear to me that the author has a detailed plan in his mind to finish what he started.

Have you subscribed yet, or is the page still loading because you're on Internet Explorer for some reason? Seriously, add your username under the list of subscribers before Miki comes to your house and compels you to do it via bloodbending. It will be just like the time she used her ungodly powers to force me to rob that bank. At least, that's what I told the Forsyth County police department.

If you want more twists and turns than the 2016 American presidential election primary season, start reading Spirit of the North today! To borrow a phrase from a certain egotistical real estate mogul, it's gonna be huuuuuuuuge!
FRS Review - Avatar: A New Age, by Sokkafan99
This review was conducted by the Fanon Review Squad and reflects our best judgment.

Greetings again everyone! It's a new year and we've all got new resolutions. Mine is to be more productive and spend my time better, nice and simple. Today I bring you the BSST edition of your friendly neighborhood ghost review, and I will be taking a look at Avatar: A New Age, by Sokkafan99.





Long ago my predecessor, Avatar Korra, stopped Amon and the Equalists. Amon may have died but his cause did not. A large exodus of nonbenders fled to the new country of the People's Democracy. Eventually, the days where benders and nonbenders lived together was nothing but a memory.

The people's democracy thrived and isolated themselves from the bending world. Many citizens believe the old tales of bending and the Avatar to be just that, stories.

Meanwhile in the bending world, Avatar Korra ruled with an iron fist and kept the peace in the nations until she died peacefully at 115. Then I, Avatar Suki, was born, and I was a failure.

Due to my favoritism to my own nation, the world plunged into chaos. Because of this, the spirits split the Avatar into four people, one from each element, and all of them were born in the People's Democracy. Avatar Korra gave me a world of peace which I made a world of chaos. Now I give these four new Avatars a world of chaos which I hope they will turn into a world of peace.

So this is one of a growing number of "distant future" fanon stories, and has a modern feel one might find within a dystopian novel, coupled with no small amount of action. How well does this work here? Let's check it out!

Plot - 6.0: The plot is clear, and the action moves along reasonably. As I pointed out, the overall setting is something new. In this story, you'll also find familiar elements in the Avatarverse, such as the Kyoshi Warriors, who play a very different part than they did in the canon show. They resemble orcs or stormtroopers, basically a boundless army of bad guys for the main characters to battle time and again, and are under the command of Chancellor Lin, the mother of one of the heroes fighting them. The heroes here consist of the four Avatars, one bender of each type, and those who fight alongside them. At this time what the plot is suffering from is that it has a very "Point A to Point B" flow to it, and some slowing down and explanation is warranted in many places. When a story is rushed, the overall picture becomes more simplistic than it ought to be. Sometimes a Kyoshi Warrior or group of Kyoshi Warriors will jump at them out of nowhere, and it's unclear where they came from. Then, in chapter six there is talk of doing the "jobs" they were supposed to do, but what jobs are they talking about? They don't seem to have been given any jobs. At times that seem too convenient, like when they're all in the same cell after being arrested for some similar and some random reasons, it seems contrived, and the hand of the author can be felt, disrupting the story experience. Ideally, every character should be behaving as a real person would act in a given scenario, and everything should be believable. But, more on that later.

There was also a supposed big revelation when Chancellor Lin declared her intentions in private, to make herself the supreme ruler of the People's Democracy (at least that's what the country is called). As chancellor, we've seen her issue any decrees she wants, arrest people as she sees fit and it becomes difficult to imagine what power she will have as supreme ruler that she does not already as chancellor, given that she already behaves like an absolute dictator.

Execution - 6.7: The main story idea was carried out well at pivotal times, such as the confrontation in chapter six. Granted, it could've been more believable, but after reading it, one does become invested enough to care about what happens next. Particularly at these high intensity scenes that serve as focal points in the story, it's good to provide some action that the reader will want to see, instead of rushing through it. Instead of rushing through a scene after another, perhaps you could try a different approach, like reorganizing the events into having a curiosity-inducing snapshot, followed by the main story. The character introductions all happened at once, one after another, and both the character background and the main story did not benefit the most from this approach. The characters, because the background was too rushed, and the story, because it got delayed in the process. Pacing of events should be slower, more in tune with the characters, and not slip past key details. The current pace of the fanon is choppy and also confusing at times. In the beginning, characters seemed to jump around in ages, and later on one character all of a sudden, can't swim, and another separate character is "in trouble", both at once. Furthermore, there was the time when Chancellor Lin said something "randomly", but how was it random exactly? No matter what the case, you should always make events as clear as possible, and not confuse the reason.

A minor note - no additional points were deducted for it - but you also mentioned Prime Minister and Chancellor as possible titles for a Head of State. Commonly, those are used in the real world to refer to a Head of Government, which is not always the same. Of course, it might be different in your universe.

Proper Writing - 4.2: There were a sizable quantity of errors that dragged the score down in the proper writing category. A majority of such were relating to punctation, such as missing periods, missing commas, missing quotes, missing question marks and a lack of space between sentences (one or two spaces can both be argued for, but zero cannot). To iron out some of these mistakes, keep in mind that periods are used at full stops, usually to end sentences, where they are required. Commas come in at partial stops, and also where quotes form a part of a sentence and the spoken line ends before the sentence does, unless it is a question or explanation. Quotation marks come at the start and end of what a person is saying, and they need to be included every time.

Sometimes, the wrong word was used in a given place, and the correct word is similarly spelt or sound similar. For instance, "he" was used in a spot where "the" was clearly intended. Other examples were "taking" which ought to have been "taken" and "became" which out to have been "because". There is also no consistency with numbers, and 20 or twenty are both used multiple times, swapping back and forth indiscriminately. The capitalization of terms like "Old World/old world" must likewise be consistent. Above all, so must the tense, as it is a noticeable shift when the story told largely in past tense sometimes drifts into the present tense. You might try reading the chapters aloud to yourself before posting, as that often helps make everything right after an earlier draft.

Creativity - 6.5: Much of the plot is new territory in general for a story on the portal, though with the four Avatars now being one of each kind, it does seem like they're all normal benders. It's good to create a plan for your ideas ahead of time, as some details were rushed into the story without ever having been mentioned before and it seemed fairly off, and makes it more difficult for a reader to immerse themselves in the story. Some of the details suddenly brought in are original, but others seem to be too parallel to the show without distinguishing themselves, like the case where the prisoners all "escaped" by "catching pentapox". On other occasions, the series universe seems to be taken for granted. Even though those reading your story will have watched the show, something like a dragon, for instance, deserves a little more explanation than none at all. Giving it more attention and exposition would help us to see how your fanon characters, for instance, perceive the sudden arrival of the dragon. Most of all, its important that all your ideas on paper/screen be fully formed and consistent, and every time you rush through something which should be expanded, it is a lost place where there was room for more creativity.

Description of Action - 6.9: The amount of time spent on describing the actions taken in the story is often minimal. The conversational tone makes the story nice and intimate for the reader, but the choppy timing provides for some confusing action that is difficult to picture. It would be nice to see the more crucial parts of what's going on shown through your language, and not merely told about. The lack of much description makes it read like a history rather than narration, which is why its important to include more exposition for what the characters are doing. Some of the major fight scenes had some more time spent with them, which is appropriate. But there were other times where the description was glazed over, at one point almost to the point of nonexistence. "Soon, the [entire group] was fighting and they eventually won the battle." That's a direct quote from the story which suddenly ends everything in what appeared to be the middle of an escalating fighting sequence.

Description of Setting - 7.2: Just like with description of action, the main point is to show and not tell. The settings don't get very much time or detail in the story, and the scene stays choppy and hard to picture as a result. Also, the characters themselves are the same way, with little to no physical description at any point in time, aside from some of Lee's clothes. Regarding the dialogue, right now it does not flow naturally, and the hand of the author can be felt when it seems to serve the story more than it seems believable. In other words, the characters are saying what they need to say for the sake of moving the story along versus what they would say in a given scenario. Again, I would try reading it out loud to see how it could flow more naturally, and not come off as too convenient or choppy.

Realism - 5.8: During some of the more crucial times for the story, the behavior of those involved is believable, like the confrontation in chapter six and the child's reaction in the first chapter. Other points are either not believable because of how static the characters' are in their actions or lack of explanation as to why or how. The latter can be remedied by showing rather than telling, and not rushing through any of the scenes. It seemed farfetched that one of the characters kept her firebending gift and training a secret for years without delving at all into how she did so, and Koda's sudden change in attitude a couple chapters afterwards didn't feel like a real person's reaction to the events he was part of. Again, though, it's not always necessarily because such a twist in events cannot take place, but that it requires more explanation for it to be believable. The same goes for the dialogue, as I said before. Other examples include how quickly the rebellion seems to take shape and how one woman showed no hesitation in allowing her house to be burnt down if it was necessary. Even if it was the only option, I'd expect more of a reaction from her in that case than a seeming "whatever, if it's for the greater good".

Character Development - 7.5: The main cast of characters and their personalities can be fairly refreshing at times, and carry the story for much of the ride. Of course, the rushing and the telling instead of showing impedes their development as it does for six out of the other seven categories. The shipping of some of them later on provides for some interesting twists and lines of dialogue. However, at other times, some of the relationships are too rushed and underdeveloped. The priest Shang, a secondary villain and also the father of one of the Avatars, gets cliched bad guy treatment. In Avatar: The Last Airbender the relationship between Zuko and his father is developed throughout the show. First he's trying to capture the Avatar to restore his father's favor, he struggles along the way, then he regains it, then he grows conflicted with getting what he wants and confronts his father, and his father shows no hesitation in fighting back. Here, it's like any possible development was skipped over at Shang jumped straight to the end the moment he discovered his child was an Avatar. Chancellor Lin, the main villain and the mother of another Avatar, thankfully shows more depth, but it takes until the end of the first book for most of it to be revealed.

SCORE: 6.35

Constructive Criticism: Expand the scenes and details significantly enough that it is not rushed. Also, work on your description so that you're showing what you want the readers to see instead of merely telling. Other scores, like proper writing for instance, should increase naturally as you pay more attention to detail.

To whom I would recommend: Someone looking for a quick read with a fresh cast of original characters.
Letter from an Alumni

My name is BlackMonkey. In the spring of 2011, I joined the Avatar Wiki and was very active in the community. I wrote and completed a fanon called The Avatar Rhythm, served as a rollback user, and was involved with a handful of different groups and projects. It was a really fun time. Some older users may remember me, however the majority of you won’t. Pretty quickly after I finished Rhythm at the end of 2012 I fell out around here. I tried to come back a few times the next year but didn’t have it in me. Since that point I have been thoroughly inactive and continued with my life.

Click here to keep reading!

Nowadays I’m looking towards college and have inevitably become nostalgic about my teenage years, which in retrospect I understand were synonymous with this site. The other day on my computer I stumbled upon the Avatar Wiki and felt strangely compelled to look back at my past contributions and the current state of the wiki. I spent hours reading fanon chapters, blog posts, user pages, etc and what I found most striking was realizing the sheer amount of time and effort I deposited here. I have no recollection of ever writing the majority of the things I found and know I only scratched the surface of all my contributions. To me, it’s better not to remember everything, I don’t need to. But I did disappear from the wiki pretty suddenly and never had the chance to do this place, or more importantly, the people here, the justice they deserve for having been such a significant chapter of my adolescence. Hopefully this column serves as some sort of testament to what the Avatar Wiki has done for me.

First off, I need to rightly honor The Avatar Rhythm, which I still hold as the largest creative accomplishment of my life. The fact that I legit wrote a book as a teenager is pretty crazy. I reread a lot of chapters the other day, which was really fun, nostalgic, and at certain points embarrassing. :) Aside from occasionally deplorable grammar it still holds up well. Looking back, that project was such a huge learning experience for me, both in my growth as a writer and as an all-around ambitious person. I don’t really care if people read it now, at this point that isn’t really too important to me. In general, I’m just proud that I had the drive to begin a project, come through and actually finish it.

I was involved in a lot of things outside of my own story as well. I was a rollback, a Fanonbender, ranted a lot on the forums and pretty sure on a Fanon Awards Council at one point. For some period of time I was actually a Deputy Editor of the BSST, which is kind of cool. If you look through the records I actually posted one of the issues, which if I remember correctly 888 was none too pleased about… Hahahaha. Perhaps my biggest accomplishment here was starting the Fanon Review Squad. I founded the FRS on a whim back in the day, so it was a pleasant surprise to see they are still pumping out reviews. In fact, I suppose I pioneered the whole idea of a user group with members’ schedules to sign up on, the format that I believe the Fact Finders and the illustrator group later took up. Good to know I made some lasting contribution here. (because my fanon sure didn’t, hahaha)

Lastly, I have to mention the community. I spent a ton of time on the IRC, blogs and comments and still value the wiki friends I made in my days here. The community was really booming back in my most active days and it was just a really fun group to be a part of. Shoutout to Rhythm readers. I lost a bunch towards the end due to long hiatuses between my last chapters, but for a time I had a solid group of the best fans in the world. Thanks to everyone here for being so awesome. I hope the new guys today can have the same sort of experience.

This April will be my five year anniversary of joining. I guess you could call me an Avatar Wiki veteran, but as I look back, I think a more appropriate term would be an Avatar Wiki alumni. I put in a lot of time here, valued the experience, and continued on with my life.

I have no intention to become active here again. I have far moved on. However, I feel the need to honor this place for being such an instrumental part of my youth. And to thank all the people here. I wasn’t planning on posting this in the context of Valentine’s Day, but I suppose it’s appropriate.

*blushes* I love you guys.

Avatar Polls

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