February 27, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Avatar: The Last Airbender Book Two “Chapter Four: The Swamp”

The Aang Gang gets separated in a swamp where all kinds of eerie things happen.

Apparently, the spirits can talk to the Avatar and tell them to do stuff, but I think we knew this.

Also, there are some guys living in a swamp that sound like cartoon hillbilly types.

Aang needs an earthbending teacher.  Those things are maybe difficult to find since Aang’s top choice proved…unavailable.  But that doesn’t mean he can’t get involved in other crazy shenanigans in the meantime.  Starting with the fact that he hears someone calling to him from a large swamp.  And this swamp, well, it’s a bit too crowded with plant life for Appa to fly through.  Consequently, he and Momo have their own adventure where the animals attempt to evade a pair of hunters and eventually get caught.

But that’s not the real problem because, well, Appa and Momo are not going to be anyone’s dinner because this isn’t that kind of show.  Plus, the hunters are comically dumb, so they’ll be defeated somehow before they can even get a fire going.

So, what does that mean for our heroes?  Well, they’re separated from Appa and needs to walk through the swamp.  Sokka, the closest this series has to an atheist, thinks Aang is hearing things and spirits talking to people is a fantasy and there’s no such thing as magic.  Then the trio gets literally ripped away from each other by moving vines.

And they see…people.  Mostly people they know.  Sokka finds Princess Yue, and she shouldn’t be there.  He’s creeped out.  Katara finds her mother.  And in a nice symbolic way of depicting this character we’ve only ever heard about, the audience doesn’t get to see her face.  One minute, she’s there with her back to Katara, the next she’s a tree stump.  Sucks to be those two.

Aang sees…a girl he’s never met before.

Now, it turns out this whole thing was something of a test from the tree at the center of the swamp, also known as the swamp because it’s the entire tree.  The swamp was under the protection of an heretofore unknown bunch of members of the Water Tribe, and after explaining that the swamp sends people visions of important people from their respective pasts or futures, Aang realizes the girl he saw is the earthbending master he needs to find.  Also, he finds out the animals are in danger, and the hunters are more or less fine with their regular meal that actually tastes a lot like the stuff Sokka normally eats at the South Pole.

So, moving on from there, it may also be worth noting Iroh and Zuko have been reduced to begging and even singing for their suppers.  Iroh doesn’t mind, even when a guy threatens him with some swords to make the old man dance.  Zuko, however, is a different story, and he apparently remembered his Blue Spirit mask when he went on the run.  So, don’t be a jerk to beggars who might also be ninjas, ya hear?