The Legend of Korra is coming to New York Comic Con!
It’s just like San Diego Comic-Con, minus the hyphen! It has been a long time since we made it out to a convention other than SDCC, and we know that fact bums out a lot of non-SoCal/SoCal-accessible fans. We wish that we could venture out more, but even just prepping for and visiting San Diego once a year takes a lot of time out of our jam-packed production schedule, so traveling even further for conventions is usually not an option. But we’re going to make it happen anyway for NYCC, and we’re really looking forward to it!
Unfortunately Mike can’t make it, but Joaquim and I will be joined by some special guests at the panel Saturday, October 12th at 11:00 am. Lots of cool stuff in the works for the presentation. We’re putting together a signing on that Saturday too, so I’ll update with more info when I have it.
See you East Coasters soon!
Someone please bring up that thing about how there are no women leaders and why isn’t Katara head of the Water Tribe. Please.
I can answer these for you now. There are women world leaders in the Avatar world during Korra’s present: Zuko’s daughter is the Fire Lord, and there is an Earth Queen ruling the Earth Kingdom.
As for Katara, there is no separate chief in the Southern Water Tribe: both tribes are officially ruled by a royal descendant (currently Unalaq), residing in the Northern Tribe. Prior to the Hundred Year War, I think there was more of a link between families in both tribes feeding into this ruling family, but the tribes have drifted apart and the chief residing in the North isn’t much more than a figurehead to the South. For the Southern Tribe, we always imagined there is a sort of “Council of Elders,” consisting of women and men, who jointly govern the South. I can imagine Katara takes part in that council, and I can also imagine she isn’t interested in being the chief of both tribes anyway.
While we’re on the subject of world leaders, I saw a comment on my dashboard after the Barnes & Noble signing from someone who was dissatisfied with the fact that we didn’t continue the Equalist plot in Book 2 and wrote something to the effect that we were just keeping the bending oppressors in power and sweeping the plight of the oppressed non-benders under the rug. This is definitely not the case. Our idea was that the Equalist revolution forced the United Republic Council (Tenzin included) to face the fact that the majority of the population was not being represented. As a result, they disbanded the council and held open elections, and Raiko, a non-bender, was elected as the president of the United Republic. Looking back, I do think we could have made that clearer, but I think we were probably trying not to bog down the premiere episode with what we refer to as stuff that’s getting too “Trade Federation-y,” since there was plenty to pack into that episode as it was.
See you there!
Breaking the rule of Show Not Tell since the universe was young.
I’ve been trying not to say anything about and trying and just - NO. Breaking up a council of equal representation instead of putting on say two non-bender members (who could have been chosen via general elections) to have a single president is not only a very USA idea, thus Western idea as to the solution to having democracy having to look a certain way.
It doesn’t change the possibility of imbalance of powers.
Look at OUR current reality; look at the US disenfranchising people; look at Mako threatening a non-bender with burning his face off and I’m to believe come election time that SOMEHOW, things will work out fair? That there won’t be enthusiastic benders ‘promoting’ their candidates via threats? Implied sly or outright?
I’m to believe having a single head of state as a vulnerability in such a universe; where before one had to try and control an ENTIRE COUNCIL if one wanted to push things through - is a better state of affairs?
I’m meant to conclude that tribal councils on the whole are inferior to a single president and call that progress and improvement?
Miss me with that ish.
All it does it show an incredibly lack of knowledge on the realities of the oppressed within a dominant oppressing system.
Making a sweeping institutional change that provides a veneer of progress without addressing the underlying issue seems exactly like something a bender-dominated government would do. (At least, we see that reflected in our own histories and our own stories.)
In that sense, I totally see the Council of representatives patting themselves on the back and saying “yeah see, we made it fair, so why are nonbenders still complaining, you have a President who represents you now, don’t you?” without taking into account history or systemic oppression.
Everything you speculate on—the bender intimidation, manipulation of President Raiko, the risky consolidation of power in one elected individual (in a six month span?)—is (to me) believably occurring in the political underbelly of Republic City. The verisimilitude lies in the fact that groups with privilege often do all of these things and then “call it progress and improvement” with a complete lack of knowledge on “the realities of the oppressed within a dominant oppressing system.”
The trade-off is supposed to be that when these inequities are replicated in a fantasy setting, it is supposed to be thought provoking and allow the viewer/consumer to be able to build insight and critique on both the fantasy world and our own world. It becomes problematic if the creators are unable to recognize the complexities or the oppression as they replicate it on screen.
tl;dr - I’m okay with the idea of the Republic City Council hastily reorganizing and the resulting non-bender president and calling it progress, Equalist problem solved, because that seems like a realistic move for a government that ruled for so long without recognizing such a glaring imbalance in power. I am uncomfortable if the writers of Korra believe this along with their fictional characters—because changing a dressing is not the same as healing a wound.
All of the above, bless the folk responding to Mr. Konietzko.
Seriously though. These off-screen, unnamed, invisible-to-the-audience and unmentioned-by-the-actual-narrative women being in the universe achieves nothing until they actually make it to screen. Actual women in the narrative are continually being kind of sidelined — no lines, no apparent effect on Korra’s life (or an effect that is continually minimalized and downplayed). Lin’s disappeared to the point that it doesn’t sound like we’ll be seeing her again this season. Asami seems to have been more or less shipped off, and we never really got to a point where the narrative actually showed Asami and Korra as friends — their last interaction was more designed to drive a larger rift with Mako ditching Asami for Korra under stressful circumstances that would make Asami look bad for speaking up about. Pema (as a mother) is presented primarily as a baby factory and source of bad relationship advice. That’s it. I don’t know that she has any interests or other character. The show reinforces that you can be a bad ass or you can be motherly, you cannot be both at once. Katara has little effect on the story (which I would be happier about for sake of not retreading ATLA if she weren’t one of the few women in Korra’s life). A family story and argument happened where Senna (Korra’s Mother) had no lines, no input, and barely made it on screen. We keep only actually seeing men teach her (you can hint Katara teaching her, but it still didn’t make it on screen), men deciding her fate, men manipulating or being the center-point around which she makes her decisions. It’s a problem. Did the actual episode even mention that the new president was a non-bender? I think I missed that.
Authors’ notes on a tumblr blog to assure us there is representation in the Avatar world are all fine and dandy, but what doesn’t make it into the narrative still doesn’t make it into the narrative. The handling of these points and representation isn’t actually there if it isn’t making the transition from creator brain to TV screen.
I hope the rest of season two handles some of this stuff because so far the show has felt passable, but not memorable save in the conceptual, with execution feeling like a practice in missed opportunities and textbook examples of telling instead of showing your story.