Death Note is so funny, actually, because the entire first half is just L going, “So, I think you’re a serial killer. It just seems likely.” And then Light goes, “Would you still say that if I did – THIS?” *performs a bunch of social cues that make himself seem trustworthy* And L, who is incredibly autistic and only has to interface with as much of this as he feels like analyzing manually, is like “…Are you done?” And Light’s like, “What? I mean, I guess.” And L goes, “Great. As I was saying –” Meanwhile everybody fucking else is in the background going, “NOW HANG ON, MAYBE WE SHOULD HEAR LIGHT OUT.”
I love how people’s explanation for liking Zuko is usually “the bad boy aesthetic” but if you think about it the real bad boy is Aang
- got imprisoned and trialed for murder
- solved a 100 year feud between two clans by lying, wasn’t even sorry about it
- scammed the crap out of a random town in the fire nation
- nearly destroyed the entire city of Omashu while illegally using the mail system as a slide
- destroyed someone’s merchandise multiple times
- actually ran away from home, Zuko’s pathetic excuse of an emo boy just got banished
- stole farmlands to build a zoo in broad daylight
- lied to an all knowing spirit and IT WORKED
- entered ba sing se illegally (he didn’t have a passport)
- lifted the robe of the Earthking’s advisor without permission to find a bite mark
- FUCKING BROKE INTO THE EARTHKING’S PALACE IN BROAD DAYLIGHT BY FIGHTING LITERALLY ALL THE GUARDS
- was an undocumented citizen of the fire nation the whole time they were undecover
- broke through the fire nation’s blockade twice, once completely by himself when he was wounded
- cheated in an earthbending tournament to defeat the champion and win money (and a fancy belt)
- illegally entered a fire nation school, uncovered certain things about the fire nation that way, got into a fight, had to have a parent/teacher meeting, organised a secret dance party, got discovered and fled with the help of his fellow students, and at the end earthbent in front of them nearly blowing his cover
- DESTROYED AN ENTIRE FIRE NATION FACTORY IN ONE NIGHT WITH KATARA’S HELP ALONE
I could probably think of other things but my point is Zuko is pathetic and weak and stupid and only Aang has the true bad boy aesthetic you’re welcome
Zuko’s profound understanding of Katara
I won’t lie, the ATLA live action announcement revitalized my interest in this show and this fandom. Unfortunately, it also reminded me of the existence of some of the most unbalanced, borderline conspiratorial interpretations of canon I’ve ever come across. Katara is my favorite from this show and one of my favorite characters in general, and I’m so bored of seeing her character butchered to accommodate shipping preferences.
Anyway, I just wanna tackle the incredibly fallacious argument that CoD displayed Zuko’s “profound” understanding of Katara.
1) “You’re the fire lord’s son…spreading war and violence and hatred is in your blood.”
Katara is, justifiably, furious when she finds herself trapped with Zuko in the catacombs. It’s like, you’re being held captive, you realize the last stronghold on earth against an imperialist aggressor is now being infiltrated, and on top of it all, you’re stuck with the guy who blasted fire at you because you tried to heal his uncle.
But of course, Zuko is a complicated person. He has in fact been severely abused, and that experience shapes most of his personality. He is not a mustache twirling villain, but rather a boy around Katara’s age who has experienced tragedy in his life, and arguably the most formative tragedy in his life mirrors the most formative tragedy in hers - losing his mother. Zuko and Katara were both left without their primary protectors, leaving Zuko vulnerable to psychological and physical abuse from his father for years on end, and forcing Katara to become a caregiver to not only her family, but her entire struggling village.
The two tragedies are, of course, not quite the same. Katara still shares a positive relationship with her father and her sibling, despite strain due to the responsibilities placed on them all because of the war, while Zuko is abused by both his sister and father. On the other hand, Zuko still has his basic needs taken care of, receives bending education, solid shelter, steady supply of food that he doesn’t have to provide/cook, and physical protection - he even receives these things well into his banishment, although this changes after the siege of the north.
Still, the somewhat shared experience is there, and Katara realizes this when Zuko reaches out to say “I’m sorry, that’s something we have in common.” It’s true that Aang, Toph, and Sokka have never taken a moment to reach out in that sense to Katara, although they support her in other ways. I don’t deny the popular ZK shipper argument that Katara acts as a caregiver to her friend group the same way she did with her village.
I do disagree with the conclusion that Katara wants a pillar of strength to lean on, or that Zuko could be that for her, however. Let’s take a look at the subsequent events.
2) “It’s just, for a long time, when I pictured the face of the enemy, it was your face.”
Katara reaches out, awkwardly, to apologize. I’m not sure why she is apologizing, nothing she said about Zuko’s behavior is incorrect. The additional information that his mother is gone does not change his history of attacking, kidnapping, and destroying villages. Still, Katara is an empathetic person and finds it hard to continue being cold to him when he is visibly in pain.
The following conversation is not about Katara. It is about Zuko’s pain. Which is fine, but does not subvert the pattern of Katara acting as a caregiver to others, as many ZK shippers claim. After she explains that she sees him as the face of the enemy, he says “my face…I see.” That definitely is not what she meant, but Zuko is an insecure and abused person. It’s not ooc for him to assume that is what she means. Still, this alters the course of this conversation towards his life and his pain.
He explains that he feels cursed, that he is confused, that he is considering making his own path. Katara wants to aid him in this process in a substantial way, obviously catching the implication that his banishment/duty and his scar are linked, and she generously offers the most precious possession she owns to help him move on. This is no small act of kindness, especially considering the kindest thing Zuko has said to her is “I’m sorry, that’s something we have in common.” It’s that phrase against months of literally terrorizing her and her friends. That’s his profound understanding?
But it is a positive interaction, and if this episode had ended here, I would understand why people so adamantly claim that Zuko could be a comforting presence to Katara. This is usually where posts analyzing this scene end, but it doesn’t make sense to analyze this scene without the context of the momentous, game changing events following it.
3) “I thought you had changed!” “I have changed.”
I once saw an argument that Katara was in the wrong for assuming Zuko was “on her side” simply because he had exhibited moral complexity and humanity, and that he had never betrayed her because he never owed her anything. I disagree. Katara didn’t assume Zuko was “on her side”, she simply assumed he had developed the moral backbone and restraint necessary to not hunt a 12 year old, even if capturing him would significantly improve your life. She assumed the kindness she had just shown him would convince him not to endanger her and her friend. She was wrong, and it was the most costly mistake of her life.
The fact that Zuko had a glimpse into Katara’s life, admitted that he shared her pain, empathized with her as a human being for the first time in the entire series, and still betrayed her undercuts the argument that CoD exhibits a special understanding between Zuko and Katara. You can argue this about future episodes, though I disagree with plenty of those points too, but it makes zero sense to convince yourself that this moment displayed a profound connection that Katara could not share with anyone else.
Zuko saw her break down in tears over her mother’s death, and replicated the trauma of that moment within the next few hours by aiding his sister in murdering her best friend. That in itself shows you just how “deep” Zuko’s empathy for her truly ran. How important her pain really seemed in the grand scheme of his life. Katara had Azula and would’ve taken her down, had Zuko not intervened, and that intervention lead to Aang’s temporary death.
As late as TSR, Zuko has not appreciated the gravity of his actions or the lasting effect they had on Katara. That’s why he demands to know why she can’t forgive him “when everyone else has” and why he goes to visit Sokka after that conversation, still declaring “she hates me, and I don’t know why.” He hasn’t put two and two together that Katara linked the near death of her best friend at the hands of the FN with the actual death of her mother at the hands of the FN - a pretty instinctive connection to make, if you ask me.
So no, Zuko does not have a profound understanding of Katara. He does not have deep, lasting respect for her until the literal finale of this series. CoD was written by Aaron Ehasz btw, kind of weird for a supposedly secret zutarian to write the episode that shot down every trope fans had constructed for the ship. You can still ship it, but let’s stop insisting this was somehow the objectively healthiest ship.
❗AVOID THESE PEDOPHILES AT ALL COSTS! ❗
I was scrolling through Tumblr and came across a post of KNOWN PEDOPHILES ON TUMBLR (many of which have or want to rape actual children/minors)
THERE ARE ACTUAL PEDOPHILES ON TUMBLR TRYING TO GET IN TOUCH WITH MINORS ON TUMBLR
PLEASE SIGNAL BOOST THIS LIST AND KEEP OUR MINORS SAFE
Katara just has to ask Aang and if he doesn't aprove...she will be like ,,What did you say?!" and everything will be okay after that. 😂😂👊👊👌👏💕💞 That's how it works.
If you think that Katara somehow became a powerless, stay-at-home mother under the harsh control of Aang despite plenty of evidence against that, then maybe you don’t actually know Katara.