Avatar: The Last Airbender Book One “Chapter Eighteen: The Waterbending Master”

You know, I think we’re getting into endgame for this Book One.

And no one snapped anything.

It seems that after all that traveling, Aang and the others finally got to the Northern Water Tribe, and even though Sokka and Katara’s village looked more or less deserted, the Northern Tribe has a lot of people.

So many that Admiral Zhao, knowing where Aang is, realizes he needs as many people as he can get his hands on.  And since he has sole authority to take whatever he wants to get the Avatar, he claims Zuko’s crew too.  Iroh, and only Iroh, is given a choice to go or not.  Zuko isn’t invited.

Of course, Zhao also realizes Zuko was the Blue Spirit and he figures Zuko has gotta go.  So, he does the reasonable thing and has Zuko confined to quarters…OK, not really.  He hires those pirates from a few chapters ago to blow up Zuko’s boat with him on it.    Then, by episode’s end, with Iroh joining Zhao’s crew, we find out Zuko is alive and well and hiding among Zhao’s people.

You know, Iroh is still helping Zuko move against Aang, but at least he’s helping his poor nephew.

But then there are other problems.  Sokka spies a beautiful girl his age, and she’s a princess.  And, hey, Princess Yue seems interested in him, even agreeing to a date.  But then, she keeps running away crying, leaving Sokka miserable.  And yes, that is his default mode, but here we are.

As for the other two, Aang does find the best waterbender in town, an old man named Pakku.  And hey, Pakku is a bit of a crank but he will teach Aang.

But not Katara.  Girls don’t learn combat.  They only learn healing.  And when Katara goes to see the healer for training, she sees it’s just her and a bunch of really small girls.

Now, Sokka recommends Aang just teach Katara on the fly, but that doesn’t work when Pakku catches them right away, violating the traditions of the Northern Tribe.  And he won’t teach Aang without an apology.

Katara challenges him to a duel instead.  And though she doesn’t win, she does make some rather impressive moves.  The only thing that really stops Pakku is spotting Katara’s necklace, a gift from her mother.

The necklace was originally from Katara’s grandma.  And it’s a carving men give to their betrothed.  Katara’s grandma fled the Northern Tribe for the Southern one to get out of an arranged marriage because she didn’t love her fiance the way he loved her.

And Pakku was the ex-fiance.

Seeing the error of his ways, he opts to train Katara after all.

But then Sokka learns Yue is also arranged to be married, so maybe other people need to get past tradition too.

They might have to act fact.  Zhao is coming with an armada.

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