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1. They are the parents of the little group: Katara has always taken on the role of the mother, ever since Kaya (Kya) died and Sokka needed her. Zuko is the father (responsible and good with kids, even if he doesn’t particularly like them). I also see him as the other parental role, mostly because of how he doesn’t NEED Katara. For example: Sokka has always looked to Katara as a mother and she has always taken care of him.
Sokka: “But honestly, I’m not sure I can remember what my mother looked like. It really seems like my whole life Katara’s been the one looking out for me. She’s always been the one that’s here. And *now* when I try to remember my mom, Katara’s face is the only face I can picture” (Season 3 Episode Seven, ‘The Runaway’)
Toph looks to Katara as a mother (whenever she needs someone to lean on or TRULY WANTS Katara to take care of her- when she’s not being fiercely independent), even Aang sees Katara as a mother. She’s always there for him, calming him down, making sure that he stays safe. But for Zuko (and Suki), she never had to do any of that. He knew how to take care of himself and DIDN’T NEED HER like the others. (Also a reason why Kataang didn’t appeal to me)
2. The concept and emotions behind their characters: Yes. I love their yin-yang, opposites attract idea. That is all about that part though. I love their history though as well. They began as enemies, reached a level of understanding only for their small moment to shatter when he made his mistake. They meet again when he tries to make up for his wrongs and goes so far to help her find her mother’s killer to earn her forgiveness. They become closer and work so perfectly together and he even saves her life (Non-romantically (at the time). It’s because he cares so much and it’s a knee jerk reaction. But it still shows that, even after hating her for so long (most likely his whole life, if not for her, but her people and birthplace) he would still willingly give his own life to save hers). The way that, even being so different, they have so much in common and have seen EVERY SIDE OF THE OTHER. Zuko has seen Katara as a weakling who only got in his way (when he ties her to a tree), he sees her as a strong opponent, an enemy worth fighting (the North Pole), a girl who lost her mother and would offer her enemy compassion and kindness (Crystal Catacombs of Ba Sing Se), the strongest waterbender he ever met (Southern Raiders, bloodbending and being able to resist killing Yon-Rha, see below), and as the girl who was able to defeat his maniac of a sister and the one person who could-and did-save his life after he almost lost it to save hers.
3. Southern Raiders:
It’s apparent that Katara is still sensitive about her mother’s death (which confuses me because the writers never really touched on her anger about it before (not including Ba Sing Se. I’m talking about after Zuko joins the gaang)) and blames Zuko because he’s a firebender. He cares about what she thinks of him and talks to Sokka about it, determined (Zuko never gives up without a fight) to earn her forgiveness and set things right. Zuko understands her anger towards him for her mother’s death (he’s lost a mother to the hands of the Fire Nation as well) and knows how much this is affecting her and wants to help. He waits for her all night, just so he could tell her whenever she woke up, whether it be at 3:00 AM or 11:00 AM. They try to leave on Appa and, even after Aang tries to stop them, he still goes with her.
Aang: “This is a journey you need to take. You need to face this man. But when you do, please don’t choose revenge. Let your anger out and then let it go. Forgive him.”
Zuko: “Okay, we’ll be sure to do that Guru Goody-Goody.”
(Book 3 Episode 16, ‘The Southern Raiders’)
Aang tries to get Katara to forgive THE MAN THAT KILLED HER MOTHER IN COLD BLOOD. I understand that Aang is a monk and has grown up being taught to forgive. But this is Katara; she will DESTROY anyone who messes with someone she loves. Zuko may have been slightly callous to Aang, but he also knows how hard it is to forgive someone, and how harder it is to BE forgiven. Aang is also still young and doesn’t quite understand how hard it is to WATCH THE PERSON WHO MEANS THE ENTIRE WORLD TO YOU DIE AND BURN. Now, I’m not trying to brush off Aang’s people being decimated; that is a HORRIBLE, TERRIBLE THING and I get that he was emotionally scarred and hurt. But he had Katara and Sokka to lean on when it happened. Even Sokka was able to depend on Katara’s strength during their mother’s death. Zuko and Katara didn’t really have anyone. Katara because she was the rock and Zuko because no one really cared about him (besides Iroh but he was still in Ba Sing Se when it happened). The point is, Aang had a shoulder to cry on when he found out; Katara and Zuko- the two people I believe are the least likely to forgive (in MY opinion (at least about this topic (mother’s death/disappearance)))- had NO ONE. They had to be their OWN rocks in such a difficult time. They were very young as well. Anyways, Zuko and Katara go off to find Yon Rha and he supports her every decision. He doesn’t push her or try to control her decisions. He lets KATARA decide what she wants to do and follows her, standing back to lend a hand or catch her when she falls.
He sees her at her strongest when she stops the rain and when she bloodbends the soldier. Zuko knows what she’s doing (he may not KNOW that she’s bending the blood, but he sees how powerful and dark it is) but he never tries to stop her or tell her that it’s wrong. He follows her lead and makes the man talk. He sees her at her weakest (presumably after the confrontation). And the main thing I DON’T like about this episode is the ending when Aang tells Katara that forgiveness is the answer. It WASN’T. Katara did not forgive Yon Rha for what he did; she showed him mercy, but that’s it. She found him as empty and cold and pathetic. She knew that he wasn’t worth her time or strength and SHE decided not to kill him. AANG wasn’t the one affecting her decision; Zuko didn’t do anything either. He stood back and was ready to fight Yon Rha to BACK UP Katara, not fight Yon Rha to PROTECT Katara. By the end of the episode, I still don’t think that Aang understood the concepts and actions of forgiving someone after an ordeal like that. The monks taught Aang that you HAVE to forgive someone and he tries to practice that. But look at how he reacted when the sandbenders took Appa; I honestly don’t believe that he ever forgave them for doing something so heartbreaking to him and, even though he let go of his anger, I don’t think that it was the same thing as forgiving them. But, Katara did forgive Zuko and, yes, I was extremely happy.
4. The Lightning; Do I really have anything to say about this besides ‘HE SAVED HER LIFE’? But, to be honest, I don’t think it had anything to do with romance. Zuko would have done the same exact thing to anyone in their little family- Toph, Aang, Sokka, even Suki. But it’s still a tribute to both his character and his relationship with all of his friends-Katara included-and how much he is willing to lay down for their own safety. The reason why I put this under Zutara is because it really shows their selflessness. Zuko’s support for that is the lighting and the fact that he left everything (his home, what little family he had left, his girlfriend, his friends) only to help the avatar while Katara’s selflessness is shown through, well, the entire series (helping the people as the painted lady with no regard to her own safety and continuing to help those COMPLETE STRANGERS just because they needed her; how she became the mother of her family/group because they all needed someone to be responsible. In doing so, she gave up what little freedom and fun childhood had to offer).
AND ANOTHER POINT I WANT TO MAKE that doesn’t really have its own section:
Katara and Zuko have seen each other at their bests and their worsts; they have known each other as both bitter enemies and good friends. I believe that that is very important in a relationship. It’s important to know the entirety of someone, rather than just seeing what you want to see. For example, Aang never knew Katara as a bad person. He saw her bloodbend, but he never saw her do it out of pure anger or spite like she did to the captain of the southern raiders. I think that Aang holds Katara on a very high pedestal, expecting her to be the sweet, perfect girl that he fell in love with when he came out of the iceberg. It’s not good to only know the good side of one person, because if they have even the smallest lapse in behavior, they will be judged by their blind companion and it would lead to fights and misunderstandings and not good things. Of course, all that relationship stuff is from my own opinion though. So, think what you may.
*TAKES A DEEP BREATH* Okay that’s about it! There are some other things that I’d like to point out, but they aren’t so important to have included in here. It’s mostly stuff like, they fight really well together, or Katara would not be appreciative of being known as ‘The Avatar’s Girlfriend’ (she worked too hard for the tile, Master Waterbender, to be pushed down to that position), etc. so, hope you liked it, Anon! :)