Can I take a moment to talk about that structure there? It’s that shrine-looking thing at the end of LoK/episode 12 where Korra gives Lin her bending back.
That up there looks uncannily like a Buddhist stupa, a type of structure found throughout Asia that often houses relics of the Buddha and the bodhisattvas. There are are relic stupas, object stupas, commemorative stupas, symbolic stupas, and votive stupas, each having its own purpose.
The first thing that’s so very strange about it is that it’s surrounded by large, standing rocks. And the second thing that’s really strange about it is that Korra gives Lin back her bending at this specific spot.
It’s in the middle of the South Pole. Why are there stones around it? Why is it colored with earthen tones, rather than the whites and blues of the Water Tribe?
That leads me to believe that it isn’t just some random shrine.
I personally have begun to think it’s Toph’s grave, a relic to her memory and probably where she’s buried. That is, it is a stupa commemorative stupa (and perhaps even a relic stupa, if she is indeed buried there). And if that’s the case, that makes Lin getting her bending back at that particular spot especially poignant and touching because Lin is the carrier of her mother’s legacy and what better place to receive the greatest gift her mother gave her back?
There’s also a few other things that are ridiculously striking about this. According to Wikipedia, there are 8 different kinds of stupas, each symbolic of a different moment in the Buddha’s life. This stupa in particular is bell-shaped and has no extra ornamentation. That is supposedly symbolic of the Buddha’s ascension to Nirvana.
The stupa is also supposed to represent the four elements in total harmony as well as enlightenment:
- the square base represents earth
- the dome represents water
- the spire (or the steps) represent fire
- the lotus on the top of the spire of the stupa represents air
- and the steps can be said to represent the ascension to enlightenment.
And enlightenment in Korra’s case (within context, of course)? Connecting with the Avatar Spirit and realizing that she is the Avatar and that no one can take that away from her.
So whoa. You’ve got both Toph and Lin’s relationship represented here, as well as Korra’s realization of being the Avatar.
That’s how Bryke intended to end the series. And damn, that’s pretty mind blowing.
In the Avatar State, you are at your most powerful.
I agree with all this, but I’m going to play devil’s advocate for a sec here, just because I want this to make sense so badly.
Maybe the reason Aang was triggered into the Avatar state by pain, anger, and other such strong emotions is because those sensations were so foreign to him. They came from the childish, underdeveloped aspect of his psyche and he had to master that before he could master himself. Korra, on the other hand, readily accepts and exhibits those kinds of emotions. They stem from the dominant aspect of her personality, as she is used to dealing with her environment from an emotional standpoint. In other words, the feelings that can turn Aang’s world upside-down are the feelings that Korra embraces on a daily basis. So when she or her loved ones are in life threatening situations, those emotions are on the surface; they don’t connect all the way down to her subconscious. What does reach her to her core are feelings of isolation and failure. She absolutely does not know how to deal with those kinds of feelings. If you look at it that way, it makes sense that her “Avatar State” triggers would be different from Aang’s. Perhaps they are less emotionally satisfying for us viewers, but maybe it makes sense.
^ You are right. Remember, Aang and Korra are essentially two different people even if they are basically the “reincarnation” of each other. It would have been severely plain to have Korra reach the “Avatar State” in the same way Aang did, because when it came down to what drove them to this state: they are two very different people. Also, think of the circumstances. Aang was 112 and mastered all four elements within a year: of course he wasn’t really perfect. Versus Korra, who’s been immersed in bending since she was little. Korra has the advantage of being very familiar with the elements at her older age than Aang did 70 years ago. And yes Korra went through some conflict, a little different from Aang’s, but conflict nonetheless. Don’t compare the two. It isn’t fair to both individual characters.
Also, please don’t complain so much about a show that took basically three years to complete. I hate when I see fans complain over something that numerous amounts of people, Mike and Bryan of course included, spent a good portion of their lives doing. All that work to make something as awesome and as well down as The Legend of Korra was. At least give them some slack and appreciate the fact that we had a continuation of this world in the first place. We do not know all there is to know of this world, and we’ll never know anything more until we get more of it in seasons to come. I loved the ending, I loved every bit of the season finale, and I adored the series as a whole with its flaws (if it ever had any) and its strong points.
Here is the final press art I did for the upcoming 1-hour finale of The Legend of Korra, which airs on Saturday, June 23. Thanks for all of the kind words and support as I posted some of the in-progress elements along the way. I was sick and exhausted through most of the process, so the positive vibes were more than welcome. Amon’s mask received a minor nose job since I posted that layer last week: he has less of the signature Konietzko schnoz now.
This is so beautiful and awesome and flawless and I can’t wait for the season finale!