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Avatar Aang, an Air Nomad, is the current Avatar, the manifestation of the world in human form, and thus the only person in the Avatar world who can use all four bending disciplines: Airbending, Waterbending, Earthbending andFirebending. He is also one of the few Avatars to learn Energybending, and the only one to use it during the series.
Before the beginning of the series, Aang was frozen in an iceberg for 100 years. He emerges, still biologically twelve years old, into a world engulfed by war. During his absence, the Fire Nation waged war with the other nations, and managed to completely wipe out the pacifistic Air Nomads. It falls to Aang, the last of his kind, to put a stop to the war by mastering the other three elements and defeating Fire Lord Ozai. He remains something of a goofy, kind kid at heart, despite the overwhelming loss of his people and the heavy burdens he has been forced to bear.
Aang was born to two unnamed airbenders in 12 BSC who gave him to the monks. As an Air Nomad, Aang had/has traveled extensively around the world. During his childhood, Aang was housed, raised and educated at his home in theSouthern Air Temple, under the custody of Monk Gyatso, who served as both a father figure and a counselor for Aang. According to Avatar Extras for the episode, "The Warriors of Kyoshi", as a child, Aang was a member of the "Air Scouts", the Air Nomad's version of the boy scouts, where, among other things, Aang learned to do many things like how to tie reins to a bison's horns with the "Bison Horn Knot". In the Avatar Extras for the episode, "The Waterbending Scroll", it says that Aang has always been able to come to grips with any new Bending moves he learns and it is stated that "at the age of 6, Aang was a better Airbender than kids twice his age, and at the age of 10, Aang proved to be a better Airbender than his own teachers".
While still a young boy, Aang had unconsciously revealed himself to be the Avatar when he chose all four of the Avatar Relics out of thousands of toys to play with as a child. Due to the signs of a possible war, Aang was told about his status as the Avatar at age 12, four years earlier than the usual age, after exhibiting prodigious talent with his native element. Aang felt burdened by his status, and came to spend more time practicing Airbending with the monks than playing with his friends, as he was used to. Monk Gyatso was the only one to show understanding to Aang's burden (having been friends with Avatar Roku, Aang's past life), and tried to help ease Aang through the transition from childhood to adulthood by providing Aang with balance through fun during the upheaval in his life.
However, after learning that he'd be sent to the Eastern Air Temple in order to complete his airbending training away from Monk Gyatso, who other monks thought to be too soft on him, Aang attempted to run away on his flying bison, Appa. Shortly after running away, Aang and Appa were caught in a storm, crashing in the water and being swallowed by the waves. Aang saved himself and Appa unconsciously by entering the Avatar State, freezing the two in a sphere of ice, by using a combination of Airbending and Waterbending.
Book 1: WaterEdit
One hundred years later, Aang is found and freed from the iceberg by siblings Katara and Sokka of the Southern Water Tribe. He quickly befriended them, and almost immediately attracted Prince Zuko's attention, who was to capture him, and Zhao's, a Fire Nation marine commander. The three set out to find a waterbending master who could teach Katara and Aang; evading Zuko's attempts to capture them along the way. While helping a village, Aang crosses over to the Spirit World, where he meets Fang, the pet dragon of his predecessor, Avatar Roku. He was instructed to visit an Avatar temple on Crescent Island during the Winter Solstice, so he could talk with Roku. Despite a run-in with most of the Fire Sages, who were now loyal to the Fire Lord, Aang managed to speak with Roku, who warned him about the arrival of Sozin's Comet, which would grant the Fire Nation enough power to win the War.
Roku urged Aang to master the three remaining elements before summer's end, when the comet would arrive. When Aang is captured by Zhao, Zuko comes to his aid under the identity of the Blue Spirit, freeing him so he could capture the Avatar himself. Upon the groups arrival at the Northern Water Tribe, Aang was displeased to learn that his teacher, Master Pakku, wouldn't teach Katara, due to the tradition of not teaching females Waterbending to fight. Katara is able to change Pakku's mind, and both begin to learn under him. The period of calm is brief, as Zhao, now an admiral, commands an attack on the Northern Water Tribe with numerous ships. Aang finds the situation overwhelming, and decides to seek guidance in the Ocean and Moon spirits, patrons of the Northern Water Tribe. Aang learns through a spirit named Koh that the spirits are in the mortal world, but not before his body is taken by Zuko. Aang's friends managed to rescue him, but not before Zhao arrives at the Spirit Oasis the lair of the spirits, and kills the Moon spirit, the source of power for all Waterbending. Determined not to fail the Water Tribe, Aang merges with the Ocean Spirit and proceeds to wipe out the rest of Fire Nation ships. After all is over, the group leaves the North Pole, Aang now learning Waterbending under Katara, whose dedication allowed for a quicker rise to mastery.
Book 2: EarthEdit
Aang and the others are left near an Earth Kingdom base, from where they're to be escorted to Omashu, to be taughtEarthbending by one of his living peers, King Bumi. Due to a misunderstanding with the general responsible for the base, who wanted to forcibly draw the Avatar State, the group decides to go to Omashu by themselves. Upon arrival they learn that the city has fallen under Fire Nation control. In a trade between the new governor's son, who accidentally left the city by followingMomo, and Bumi, Aang fights Azula, Zuko's younger sister, who also decides to capture him. Bumi tells Aang that he must remain in Omashu, and instructs him on who to search for as an Earthbending master: someone who waits and listens before attacking. While passing the Foggy Swamp, Aang has a vision about a laughing girl and flying boar. Upon reaching the city ofGaoling, they search for a supposed underground tournament, hoping to find a good Earthbender. After watching many rounds, they witness a fight between one of the popular contestants and the current champion, a little blind girl. During her match, Aang notices that the girl waits and listens before attacking. She easily defeats her opponent. Aang tries to talk to her, but she evades him.
The group later learns that the girl belongs to the Bei Fong family, whose symbol is a flying boar. They go to her estate and Aang announces himself as the Avatar. He learns that Toph, the earthbender, hides her ability from her family. After the two are kidnapped, Toph manages to fight the attackers off, and joins the group against her parents wishes. As Earth is the opposite element to Air, Aang goes through some difficulties while learning it, but eventually gets it. On their way to Ba Sing Se, the group finds Wan Shi Tong's Library in the middle of the Si Wong Desert, and learn valuable information on a solar eclipse, that will leave the Firebenders powerless, but lose Appa, who is taken by desert people and sold. After crossing the Serpent's Pass, the group comes across a giant Fire Nation Drill, which is trying to penetrate the walls of the city. The group manages to fight them off.
Finally reaching Ba Sing Se, Aang discovers that the city isn't like he thought; true power doesn't lie with the Earth King, but with his adviser, Long Feng, who controls the secret police, the Dai Li. After reuniting with Appa, they storm the palace and manage to tell the Earth King about the solar eclipse. Aang receives a message from Guru Pathik, telling him to go to the Eastern Air Temple, so he could teach Aang how to control the Avatar State. While there, he struggles when he learns he has to let go of his feelings for Katara. He has a vision about her being in danger and returns to the city. He learns that Azula and her friends have infiltrated the city. After freeing Katara, they fight Zuko and Azula in the crystal catacombs. Things take a turn for the worse when the Dai Li, now under Azula's command, arrive. Aang retreats and tries to use the Avatar State, but is then struck by lightning from Azula. Katara manages to help escape with him thanks to Iroh's help. The group leaves Ba Sing Se on Appa with the Earth King, and Katara uses a special water from the spirit oasis to heal Aang, who is now believed to be dead by the rest of the world.
For several weeks, Aang was unconscious as he recovered from his injury. Mentally, he spent this time in the Spirit World, but upon his awakening Aang forgot this journey. Team Avatar reached the Fire Nation and prepared for the invasion, planned during the Day of Black Sun. In the meantime, he was threatened by an assassin Zuko sent after him, Combustion Man. On the day of the eclipse, Aang, Sokka, Katara, and Toph go looking for Fire Lord Ozai, but Azula distracted them long enough that they didn't find him.
Afterward, Team Avatar and a few others went to the Western Air Temple, where Zuko appeared and wanted to join their group. Initially they rejected him, but when Zuko helped them defeat Combustion Man, Aang accepted him as his Firebendingteacher. Zuko and Aang sought out the Sun Warriors to learn the original source of firebending, and eventually underwent a trial from the dragons that increased both Firebenders' abilities.
Due to his belief in the sacredness of all life, Aang felt strong anxiety about the concept of killing Ozai. When he left for an island off the shore of Ember Island, he met the Lion Turtle, who taught him about Energybending. Armed with this knowledge, Aang went on to defeat the Fire Lord by taking away his Firebending. He vowed at Fire Lord Zuko's coronation to help him restore peace to the world. After Zuko's coronation, Aang is seen in Ba Sing Se with his friends, where he and Katara begin what is likely a romantic relationship with a passionate kiss.
In the following fifty-nine years later, Aang and Katara married and bore an Airbender son named Tenzin. At the end of these almost six decades, Aang passes away, causing a female Waterbender named Korra, of the Southern Water Tribe, to be born as the next Avatar. Since Korra is already a teenager seventy-five years after the end of The War, Aang must have died sometime in his (biological) late sixties or early seventies. According to Bryan Konietzko, the co-creator of the show, Aang's seemingly early death was the result of the one hundred years he spent in the iceberg. Currently it is unknown whether or not he will appear in the Spirit World to act as a mentor to Korra, but the possibility still stands.
Aang is fun-loving, somewhat naive and adventurous. He possesses a deep respect for life and freedom, refuses to eat meat, and is often reluctant to fight. He craves the stimulation of new people and places. His frequent off-course detours frustrate both allies and pursuers alike. Yet Aang has always prided himself on a complex social network of friends extending over all four nations, and war will not stand in his way. In addition, he looks forward to playing with all the exotic fauna in each place he visits. Whether it'spenguins, pig hog-monkeys or gigantic eels, no fit animal Aang sees goes un-ridden.
Within this carefree exterior however, Aang hides a great deal of guilt and mental burden in his duties as Avatar. Very much the reluctant hero, he wishes he had been there to help his people a century ago. This initially caused him to conceal his true identity from friends, and he still has a tendency to slack off in his studies of the Bending Arts, even though he naturally excels at it. He also tends to becomes very distressed when he sees destruction caused by the war, believing that as the Avatar, it is his job to prevent such events from happening. During "The Storm", Aang decided to stop dwelling on the past, however on several occasions his desire to end the war caused him to take desperate action such as attempting to induce the Avatar State or facing Fire Lord Ozai before he had fully mastered the elements.
Aang mocking Azula during the showdown Being the last Airbender and having no living peers (with the exception of the aged King Bumi and Guru Pathik), Aang has developed very strong bonds with his friends (particularly Katara) explained by Guru Pathik as a reincarnation of his love for his people. His desire to protect them however leads to violent emotional outbursts when they are threatened and he will even resort to deceiving and hurting others to keep the group together. In "Bato of the Water Tribe", Aang heard that Katara and Sokka might leave the group to visit their father, so Aang hid the map showing his whereabouts and lied about ever having it in the first place.
Aang prefers not to use his bending skill in battle due to his peaceful nature. He prefers to solve problems non-violently. Even when forced into combat, Aang typically holds back, fighting defensively and trying to subdue opponents without seriously hurting them, even if they are not human. This attitude was apparently common among all Airbenders, who were all vegetarians and taught that all living things are precious. The only exception to Aang's pacifism is when his friends are threatened; in which case, he gets very angry and relentlessly attacks his opponents, sometimes even entering the Avatar State. But even in these extreme circumstances he has never taken a life.
Recent events in the Earth Kingdom, however, have begun to take a toll on his care-free personality. Aang's attitude changed dramatically when Appa was captured. He became visibly enraged and hostile, particularly toward Toph, who was "keeping an eye on" Appa while they were gone. Despite attempts by Katara to calm Aang down, his anger continued to grow until finally he flew off to search for Appa alone. Eventually Aang returned to the group, but was still visibly upset. He violated the principles of Airbending when Momo was snatched up by a Buzzard-Wasp. He followed the creature and rescued Momo, but then unnecessarily struck it down with a powerful airbending move conjured with his staff. After Aang returned with Momo the group was confronted by the Sandbenders who had taken Appa. When one of the Benders revealed that they had sold the bison, Aang lashed out and smashed all their sand-sailors in a matter of moments using Airbending. He then turned his sights on the Sandbenders and entered the Avatar State. Aang's rage was only stopped when Katara grabbed hold of him and held him in an embrace until he finally calmed down and returned to his normal state.
Aang angry in the desert After failing in Ba Sing Se, Aang began to feel angry and upset with himself. He felt an urge to redeem himself, and refused to let the others fight in the invasion due to "his mistake." After leaving the ship in a violent storm, he was stopped in the water by the harsh tides. But spirits of Yue and Roku allowed Aang to see that his mistakes were not his fault, and to let others help him. He then returned to his lighter attitude soon after.
Four days before the invasion, Aang began to have nightmares about failing against fighting the Fire Lord. After each dream, Aang began to unravel, and chose to avoid them by not sleeping. This caused him to mentally fall apart even more, causing Aang to see intense hallucinations, blanking off into realistic day dreams. His friends, the night before the invasion, finally forced him to sleep, in which he finally defeated the Fire Lord in his dreams and came back to sanity.
During the invasion, Aang became extremely upset upon not being able to find Fire Lord Ozai, believing that he had lost his only chance to defeat him and end the war. However Aang later decided to face Ozai anyway, even though at this time the eclipse had passed and Ozai now had his powerful Firebending back. He was dissuaded, however, by Toph and Sokka who advised him to retreat and attack at a more advantageous time.
After the invasion, Aang was unwilling to face the reality of having to learn Firebending, and wanted to have some fun at the Western Air Temple. However with the arrival ofZuko, he once again began training in earnest. Although he had planned to wait until after the comet to face Ozai, upon learning of the Fire Lord's plan to burn through the Earth Kingdom, he decided to engage him anyway, even though he wasn't fully trained. However he became extremely conflicted upon learning that he would probably have to take Ozai's life.
As the current reincarnation of the spiritual entity known as the Avatar Spirit, Aang possesses the power and ability to bend all four elements, making him the strongest and most powerful bender in the world. Because the Avatar Spirit has mastered all the elements many lifetimes over, Aang has exceptional natural talent towards bending. Aang can also bend two elements at the same time, as demonstrated in "The Tales of Ba Sing Se." Though Avatar Roku says mastering the elements can take many years, Aang was able to attain great skill with, even though technically he did not completely master all four as stated by Zuko and Toph in "Sozin's Comet: Part 1." Most Avatars are not told of their status until they are sixteen years of age, but Aang had become a fully-realized Avatar by the end of the series, while he was biologically still only twelve years old, making him the youngest known person to do so. Conversely, because he is chronologically one hundred and twelve years old, Aang is also has the distinction of having taken the longest to achieve this status. Aang never demonstrated the special sub-sets of each Bending Art (such as healing, creating lightning, or Metalbending), however it is possible he learned these skills later, as his training was unconventional.
By the series beginning Aang is already an Airbending master, the youngest in history. Aang achieved his mastery tattoos when he mastered thirty-five of the thirty-six tiers of Airbending and invented a new Airbending technique, the "Air Scooter." Because air is his natural element, it is the one he utilizes the most in battle. Once Aang begins to learn the other elements, for tactical purposes he relies less on Airbending though it continues to remain his signature element. As a master, Aang's skill with Airbending is exceptional, being able to fight on-par with really strong and powerful masters or against large numbers of opponents. He has been shown to create tornadoes and currents of air strong enough to lift or deflect extremely heavy objects. Aang's skill with air is great, even perilous, though his pacifistic Air Nomad nature halts the use of air as a deadly weapon (unless he is enraged or in the Avatar State). Instead, Aang uses Airbending for pure defense, evasion or other round-about methods of combat other than aggression. When not in battle Aang uses Airbending in his everyday life, often for flying with his glider, or simply to augment his natural agility. While in the Avatar State, Aang's Airbending power is magnified to the point he can erode solid rock away with an unusually strong and powerful gust of air.
Though Aang was originally better at Waterbending than his fourteen-year-old friend Katara, or at least learned it quicker, once she trained under Master Pakku her skills developed rapidly. Katara was deemed a Waterbending Master and became Aang's teacher for the rest of the series. Aang has great skill with Waterbending, though it is one of his least used elements in battle, instead favoring other readily-available elements such as earth or air. He does not carry a water skin, preferring to bend from large sources of water such as rivers, lakes or oceans. By the third book, it is clear Aang has complete and total mastery over the element, capable of creating massive tidal waves (with the help of the moon spirit) or bending entire streams of water. He was even able to extinquish a powerful blast of fire from Ozai, then use the water to briefly put the Fire Lord on the defensive. While in the Avatar State, Aang can bend an entire ocean to rise, mimicking the moon pulling the tides. Unlike Katara, Aang does not learn the healing aspects of Waterbending.
Because Earthbending is the natural opposing art of Airbending, Aang had great difficulty learning the bending art. Airbenders rely on indirect methods of combat, while Earthbending requires a head-on approach. When Aang was forced to protect Sokka, he stood his ground rather than avoid conflict, showing that he had an Earthbender's attitude; he was able to Earthbend soon thereafter. For the rest of the series his Earthbending improves greatly, allowing him to utilize Air, Water and Earthbending in combat together effectively. Since Book 2, Earthbending has become Aang's second most used fighting style behind Airbending, due to its general availability. Aang is capable of bending large boulders, sending massive columns of rock flying or forming earthen armor around his body for protection. By Book Three Aang can fight and bend blindfolded, detecting things outside of his line of vision by using Toph's seismic sense. While in the Avatar State, Aang can manipulate massive columns of rock, compress boulders into pebbles, or send rocks flying at mach speeds, and requires no physical connection with the ground to Earthbend. Aang does not learn to bend metal, expressing interest in doing so only sarcastically while sabotaging the drill at Ba Sing Se, before the technique was developed by Toph. Despite the proficiency with which Aang used Earthbending in his fight with Ozai Toph had expressed an opinion that he could still improve, however it is unclear if she felt he had not yet mastered it or that he could improve a little more
In "Book One: Water", Aang is given the opportunity to learn Firebending early from Master Jeong Jeong, against the normal order of learning (Air, Water, Earth, Fire). While training, Aang's impatience to learn the basics of Firebending results in him harming Katara, an accident which caused him great shame. He swore from then on never to Firebend again, out of fear of losing control again. It isn't until the later half of "Book Three: Fire" when the Invasion plan fails that Aang seeks to learn Firebending. After accepting Prince Zuko as his teacher and discovering the true meaning of Firebending from the dragons Ran and Shao, Aang no longer fears Firebending and begins his training in the bending art. He is shown to be quite skilled, yet initially reluctant to show the aggressive attitude required for Firebending. Aang is capable of the ancient Dancing Dragon form, as well as highly strong and powerful kicks and blasts able to incapacitate a Fire Nation Airship with the help of Sozin's Cometwhich had greatly strengthened and enhanced his Firebending abilities to numerous power levels at the time. In preparation for fighting Fire Lord Ozai, Zuko taught Aang lightning redirection, a highly advanced and unique technique of Firebending that Zuko's paternal uncle Iroh invented by observing waterbenders. While in the Avatar State, Aang can create exceedingly strong and powerful and highly destructive streams of fire, as well as melt solid stone. Aang does not learn to bend lightning during the series.
Aang is also able to use a very unique and ancient form of bending called Energybending, which he used to strip Ozai of his natural Firebending abilities, leaving Ozai permanently drained and in a state of weakness. According to Lion Turtle, before the Avatar existed, people did not bend the four elements, but the life force energy within themselves. However, in order to bend another's life force energy, the Energybender's own life energy must be unbendable, or they could become corrupted or even destroyed. It has been confirmed that Aang is not the first Avatar to learn Energybending. There have been others. However, there are very few who have learned this particular bending art and even fewer who have used it due to its dangers. Having appeared in only one episode of the series, the full range and potential of Energybending is not shown. It might be possible (since Energybending can permanently remove a bender's innate bending powers) for Energybending to permanently grant people bending powers and abilities as well.
Aang is extremely agile and quick. Frequently, he can defend himself without needing to resort to bending by simply dodging and avoiding attacks. He sometimes uses techniques similar to the martial art Aikido, which is the pursuit of harmony in conflict situations, rather than destroying or defeating the opponent. This technique is shown in some fights with Aang and in the Fire Nation School against the student Hide. Aang defeats him, without even touching him, but instead just dodging his blows and pushing him when he is off-balance.
This behavior is matched by his airbending principles, which emphasise non-aggression. The martial art which airbending is based on, Baguazhang, consists of intricate foot and palm movements to dodge, walk circles around the enemy and strike unexpectedly as well as defend from all angles - all principles which Aang utilizes often.
Aang can use his glider staff too with great skill, using it sometimes for attack, defense, or bending.
As can be seen in the episode "The Headband", Aang is also an agile and extremely talented dancer, being able to perform somersaults in mid-air among other acrobatic feats and coordinate with Katara in a dance. His somersaults at that time did not seem to be aided by airbending, as he was in a public area surrounded by Fire Nation students and there was no sign of any air currents around him.