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Stef Animated? Anarchy in The Legend Of Korra series.


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18 replies to this topic

#1
Mags

Mags
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Posted Image
 
My sister and I just finishing watching the latest episode of 'Avater: The Legend Of Korra' (Season 3 episode 9). Check out this dialog between the so-far antagonist Zaheer, and the protagonist Korra:
 
Zaheer: "The idea of having nations and governments is as foolish as keeping the human and spirit realm separate. You've had to deal with a moronic president and a tyrannical queen. Don't you think the world would be better off if leaders like them were eliminated."
Korra: "No… I mean, I don't really agree with what they've done, but taking out world leaders isn't the answer."
Zaheer: "It wasn't too long ago that the air benders were nearly all wiped out thanks to the Fire Lord's desire for world dominance. True freedom can only be achieved when oppressive governments are torn down."
Korra: "But that wont bring balance. It will throw the world into chaos!"
Zaheer: "[knowing smile] exactly; the natural order is disorder. Do you know who once said 'new growth cannot exist without first the destruction of the old'  "
Korra: "No."
Zaheer: "The wise guru Laghima, an air bender"
Korra: "[Expression changes from defensive to surprised/questioning] "
-
Korra: "Zaheer please. As an air bender you could help make a positive difference in the world instead of destroying it."
Zaheer: "You are a very smart young women Korra, but you must realise that once change begins it cannot be stopped; even by the Avatar."
Korra: "Enough with your philosophical mumbo jumbo. -"
 
The Legend of Korra (IMDb) is a popular and acclaimed animated series. It's the sequel to another very popular series 'Avatar: The last Air Bender' (IMDb). I watched episode 9 here, this type of dialog begins at 17:57. My sister noticed that Zaheer even looks oddly like Stef; facial structure, baldness and the nose/mouth region isn't dissimilar. It's likely we are getting ahead of ourselves, and it's entirely possible the show will end up demonising/dismissing the idea of anarchy. Zaheer has resorted to violence to achieve his goals (AKA doesn't follow the NAP.) Regardless I'm just so excited that this idea was put forward; even if it is demonised at least it's being talked about.
Our reaction to this was embarrassing lol. We paused it several times because we couldn't contain our excitement. We don't like being touched but my sister clasped my shoulders and I had a big urge to hug her LOL. There was screaming. Our dog was anxious for us.
Other relevant stuff in the series is that parenting effects on some of the characters was acknowledged (the parents in question were main characters from The Last Air Bender). The tyrannical Earth Queen is currently being set up as a major villain in the series, and the president of 'Republic City' has been portrayed as mostly neutral so far. Another intriguing thing is that Zaheer is voiced by Henry Rollins. I don't know much about him, but half a year ago I had a look at some of what he had to say and I remember it was interesting, and didn't strike me as too leftist. I'm going to go on another Henry hunt for sure now. Zaheer also looks like Henry, so it might not be a nod to Stef after all haha; It would be fun if it was though. 
 
I wouldn't necessarily recommend this series. I appreciate the animation and grew up on it's parent show Avatar The Last Air Bender. I enjoy The Legend of Korra it despite some frustrations with the storytelling. I know it's not a show for everyone, but if it sounds like your cup of tea then go for it.  
 
Aug 8, 14, Update (episode 10): spoiler warning!
Zaheer "[whilst air-bending the oxygen out of the Earth Queen and making it so she cannot breath] You think freedom is something you can give and take on a whim, but to the people, freedom is just as essential as... air. And without it, there is no life-" 
It's unclear if Zaheer killed the Earth Queen or not. He then addresses the whole city saying
Zaheer: "-moments ago the Earth Queen was brought down at the hands of revolutionaries, including myself. I'm not going to tell you my name because my identity is not important. I'm not here to take over the Earth Kingdom; I think you've had enough of leaders telling you what to do. It's time for you to find your own path. No longer will you oppressed by tyrants. From now on, you are free. I deliver Ba Sing Se (the city) into the hands of the people"
His comrade magma?-bends down the wall which previously separated the poor (if I remember right) from the rest. Korra hears later over radio that: The Earth Queen's reign has come to an abrupt and violent end. Ba Sing Se has descended into chaos. Rioters and looters have overrun the palace.
 
After me and my sister's crayness evaporated we realised it's terribly unlikely the creators intentionally made Zaheer resemble Stef. Theres a tiny chance...
So far my hopes are that Korra will come in and guide the people (without force or establishing a ruler) and achieve a peaceful, voluntarist society (or less likely, Zaheer might). Of course if the hat is dropped on an uneducated people from an oppressive regimen (Like Zaheer seems to have done) then you'll get 'chaos' (like in Somalia.) I wonder what Zaheer is going to do next. He said his identity was unimportant; indicating he's not going to stick around and mediate the people of Ba Sing Se. That aside it was one of the best episodes yet for me. Maybe I'm just dispirited from the second season, which I liked the least and frustrated me the most (Varrick was awesome though). Zaheer is shaping up to be my favourite villain in the whole series (he's really badass). Sorry for the fan talk haha. 

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#2
DaVinci

DaVinci
  • 238 posts
Usually the 'bad guys' say stuff like this though. They want to tear down order and have everything be "anarchy". This is how you end up with characters like the Joker trying to cause trouble for everyone and why people find the idea of no rulers to be chaotic.
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#3
Mags

Mags
  • 26 posts

Usually the 'bad guys' say stuff like this though. They want to tear down order and have everything be "anarchy". This is how you end up with characters like the Joker trying to cause trouble for everyone and why people find the idea of no rulers to be chaotic.

You have a point now that you say it. I don't know much of the Joker but I know of what your talking about. I have encountered villains who seem to want chaos just for the hell of it (I cant remember any of them; to me that was always an cop-out reason), but Zaheer and the Joker have an idea behind it. Can you list some other notable villains? I'm interested in the topic now haha. 

Me and my sis didn't expect it to crop in a show such as Avatar, and he used such direct language: "The idea of having nations and governments is as foolish as-". Although as far as the ideas of Anarchy go Zaheer could have said better things than he did. Regardless I cant wait to see where the show goes with all this.


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#4
Pepin

Pepin
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I love this. It doesn't seem like they are going somewhere dumb. They might, but it is more likely to a grey area, with all sides having done wrong. I am going to guess that they may will end on the concept of a republic, but I am not sure what their message will be exactly. Linn's sister may have a somewhat ararchic city, which may be the ideal the white lotus are pushing for, as there are hints that she is conspiring with them. That city seems not really to have a government, though I could see it being argued it does. Republic City is the US, a Ba Sing Se is China. Not sure the appearance is Stefan related, but it is possible. Anyway, the spirit world is in anarchy, and there is going to have to be some tie in with this. There is an explanation of the origin of government in the last season, and it may be possible that harmonizing with the spirits entails a form of anarchy. It is true that the reason for government no longer exists in context to the show. I may be too hopeful, but there are many possibilities.
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#5
luxfelix

luxfelix
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I haven't seen the new season yet, but I do hope this is the case.  :turned:


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#6
Mags

Mags
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I updated the post commentating on episode 10  :teehee:

Reply to Pepin: So far Avatar usually doesn't go painfully dumb with political messages, so I'm excited and optimistic. Two of the main characters are in the police force, so I don't know what that could turn into. Lin's sister theoretically should play a big role in the events to come (controls a whole city and has a powerful family of benders.) I was agreeing that It's likely she could be in league with Zaheer, but I thought later that Zaheer 'killing' her underling (nose-ring guy) would indicate she probably isn't. We can theorise forever though haha. 

Reply to Luxfelix: I hope so too  :happy: so far I like this season better than the last at least. 


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#7
DaVinci

DaVinci
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You have a point now that you say it. I don't know much of the Joker but I know of what your talking about. I have encountered villains who seem to want chaos just for the hell of it (I cant remember any of them; to me that was always an cop-out reason), but Zaheer and the Joker have an idea behind it. Can you list some other notable villains? I'm interested in the topic now haha.  Me and my sis didn't expect it to crop in a show such as Avatar, and he used such direct language: "The idea of having nations and governments is as foolish as-". Although as far as the ideas of Anarchy go Zaheer could have said better things than he did. Regardless I cant wait to see where the show goes with all this.

I can't think of too many other villains who want "chaos" as much as the Joker. Most villains are usually just taking the idea of order to the extreme. I think a lot of fictional villains of the past 60 years are being influenced by Hitler and other leaders of totalitarian type governments.
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#8
Pepin

Pepin
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The show is so complex in its presentation. Reflects a lot of current dynamics, or at least how they are typically thought of. Zeheer is not exactly bad, but not exactly good. His stated goals and actions lure in others, but the question the show is exploring is if the motives are misguided.

 

It mirrors revolutionists in other countries such as Libya, except the aim is "anarchy". A large greyness is created through the conundrum of who is good, and who is bad. Many found themselves cheering when the rebels killed Gaddafi, yet also felt sick as there was little reason to support the rebels. Gaddafi was obviously a bad guy, the rebels are also bad guys with good motives (according to the narrative), and seeing them collide in this way causes such an odd feeling.

 

More so, it reflects communist thought on reforming society. Violence as a means of ending oppression is contained in much of the thought, though the focus is always on high class people, as all of the workers are seen to be allies who simply need to be free'd.

 

To comment on the earth queen's demise... She is dead. Why they don't just say it, even in that monologue Zaheer gave is because it isn't something kids shows can really do. They have to skirt around the word for some reason. In TLAB, death was more implied than anything. Here it was pretty blatant, just not made explicit.


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#9
luxfelix

luxfelix
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I started watching the series and am up to episode 6.

 

I can definitely see the dynamics of parenting on characters in the series (and maybe even the suggested defoo-ing of Mako and Bolin's father...? Also, they're grandmother revered a picture of the Earth Kingdom Queen all "Kim-Jong-Il-North-Korean-Style"... especially creepy considering she is also aware of the kidnapping of their airbender neighbor...  :huh:).

 

From what I understand of the Metal Clan city, Zaofu, was previously-unsettled land purchased by Suyin.

 

She's initially introduced as "the matriarch" but there's no real indication so far that she runs a state and I haven't heard any other character address her as "the matriarch" since then (as a dance company director she seems as an equal among peers with a nominal title of honor as the city's founder). In fact, she expresses considerable repulsion with the Earth Kingdom Queen as being outdated and needing to evolve (as in renouncing the throne?). She also describes the other residents (living on her land or having purchasing sub-divided lots?) as having many interests, and I would imagine they also share her entrepreneurial spirit. In general, Zaofu reminds me of some sort of Galt's Gulch from Atlas Shrugged or the real world example of economic free zones in places like China or described in this topic: https://board.freedo...vate-own-towns/

 

Also interesting to note: I found a brief origin behind the name of the city, Zaofu, to be a character in Chinese myth (also a constellation) who, in one myth, brings an emperor to heaven as a charioteer, and in another myth, brings a king to the Goddess of the West (herself associated with the Silk Road trade with the West...) and returns where the king rewards him with a city. Good name for the city in the series, eh?  ;)

 

To go deeper (Inception-style!), I understand a bit more of Stefan Molyneux's comments about how anarchy (-ish) is the mode of operation for those atop social hierarchies (making deals, logrolling, etc. with minimal force against their peers), and have found that autonomous zones and free-cities like Zaofu are not recent developments, but have rather occurred throughout history and throughout the world as eyes in the storms of global statist domination.

 

I'm likely to make more connections as I watch more of the series.  :turned:


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#10
luxfelix

luxfelix
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So I came across this and thought I'd post it here:  :D

 


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#11
Pepin

Pepin
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I am a bit disappointed they did not go deeper into the villains in season 3, but the finale was still awesome. Can not wait for Oct. 3rd.
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#12
luxfelix

luxfelix
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True, I can relate to the feeling Mags described in the original post about wanting a deeper look at the ideas Zaheer presents, but it ended up as the violent "propaganda of the deed" variety that is historically accurate (as far as the show's reference material goes) but ultimately unsatisfying on an intellectual level.

 

From the series 4 trailer, it looks like we'll see more of the Metal Clan city, Zaofu, and perhaps the results of the Earth Queen's assassination; and maybe (just maybe...) the series will delve deeper than the surface good vs. bad.

 

It feels like that's a direction the writers want to go in, and since it's not being broadcast (as far as I know), theoretically they'll have more flexibility in what they present in the series.


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#13
PetrKL

PetrKL
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Wow, I had very similar ideas while watching the show.

 

I also believe that one of this season's main goals was to further infect its viewers with the idea that having a government is essential and unquestionable. Like when Zaheer killed the queen and then there were all these people running around in the palace looting everything they could. When asked by some of the other characters what's going on, one of the looters said something like "Don't you know? The queen is dead! We can do and take whatever we want!". As if the only thing holding everyone back from becoming animals is the ruler.


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#14
luxfelix

luxfelix
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Well, Chess does teach us that the game ends with the defeat of the monarch... ;)
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#15
Burgundy

Burgundy
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Korra season 3, started out really well, the Zaheer character was quite solid till around halfway and then they degraded him into a sad generic villain instead, even though they had, in his bio information, listed him as a skilful warrior, who had mastered mind and body, not to mention his tactical awareness, I thought he was to be, a blend between Sun Tzu and Socrates, but they never committed on it, and in the end they couldn't keep that logic flowing, otherwise they he was bound to completely win in both debate and battles . His philosophical lines in first chapters were quite decent, and I hoped for them to continue build on him, but they sadly didn't. Shame, he became a master of air bending in short time, who achieved what only another person, Guru Laghima, had done centuries(millennia?)  ago.


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#16
David Ottinger

David Ottinger
  • 219 posts

The story told is simply a reiteration of the nobel lie.  Rulers are needed for there to be order even if they're not perfect.  "I don't agree with what they did, but ending them is not the answer."  It's a metaphor for their title/position in the statist hierarchy, not the actual individual.  They're presenting that as a virtuous stance, i.e. the acceptance of a necessary evil is good.  In constrast, anarchy is associated with chaos, sociopathy/psychopathy, and overall destruction/death.  Zeheer represents freedom without restraint and they villify that by associating that with the aforementioned qualities. 


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#17
Pepin

Pepin
  • 918 posts

Season Finale Spoilers!!!

 

I loved it. Loved it so much. It was the perfect end to the series and everything just made so much sense. But to delve into one aspect a little further...

 

The theme of the season is family bonds. That between Toph and Lin, Asami and her father, Korra and her friends and family, Suyin and Baataar, Suyin and Kuvira. Opal and Bolin, the airbender siblings and so on. Kuvira is the only one without a family, and is unable to restore any ties, so she sets out to become the "Great Uniter" and to create her own family. This is echoed in various lines, but in particular, when Baataar said "Kuvira is my  family now" in the episode before the finale.

 

Though the idea is downplayed, the lack of family connection is demonstrated very well artistically. In many ways, the uniting of people and provinces is similar to becoming a dictator in IFS. She is very calculating and in control of herself, and having no real internal family herself, she externalizes her family upon the external environment to create a psychological unity. Due to her controlling nature, she expects voluntarism from others, but often resorts to force and coercion to achieve unity, outcasting those who do not bend to her will.

 

The choice of Kuvira being a metal bender from a city whose focus is defense makes far too much sense, as it is symbolic for her psychological defences. She rips apart her home of Zuofu to turn what used to be a defensive mechanism, into a weapon. Worse, she finds a way to channel spiritual energy into a very destructive force. Her controlling the giant mech from the inside, making decisions about who lives and dies, is analogous to the relation between her and her body. She is able to attack from the inside, because her outer shell is nearly impenetrable.

 

I could go on with these ideas, perhaps many not being so good, but I think there is a lot of symbolism and subtext to Kuvira. I wrote up this sort of prediction on a few videos a week or two ago, and it seems to line up as true.

 

Also... Korrasami!!! This is one of the first times I've ever shipped something, and I am so glad it happened.

 

EDIT:

 

To add this I found posted on reddit:

 

The explanation that she projected herself into her nation. She felt just like she was uncared for and felt vulnerable, her nation - the earth kingdom was first colonized by Fire Nation and then torn apart by corruption of the Earth Queen, and then thrown into chaos by Zaheer. She wanted the Earth Kingdom to rise up from the ashes.

 

This actually co-incides with Hitler's motivation as well. During Hitler's youth, Germany was defeated and torn apart after the First World War, and most Germans had a sense of shame and resignation about the fate of their country. And Hitler came in as a messiah, who would unite the wounded country and re-instill a sense of cultural and national pride.
 
Kuvira really wanted Suyin to take over the Ba Sing Se in a paternal guiding role and rebuild the kingdom. But when Suyin refused, Kuvira felt Suyin was orphaning the Earth Kingdom, the same way her parents orphaned her. That was the precise moment she had a change of heart and turned evil.
 
That to me suggests that the projection goes deeper. Since the state is a projection of the family, it is only natural for Kuvira to see Suyin's refusal to take care of the kingdom as a refusal to be a parent. Kuvira steps in to play the role, fearing that she would be abandoned again, only to encase herself in her own defenses.

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#18
Mags

Mags
  • 26 posts

I liked the finale too! Varick and Zhu Li was just too funny, as usual. The action was pretty good. I didn't know how to feel about the heavily implied Korra/Asami; I suspected they were doing it solely to be progressive, but then I thought that there's nothing wrong with that. Korra and Asami's personalities fit really well, plus their conversations in this season have been great. I'm a shipper. I originally wished for Korra and Bolin, because I couldn't stand how predictable it was that she went with Mako in the first two seasons lol. I could tell immediately from Mako's character design, then it was confirmed by how he acted towards her. I'm really glad they decided to downplay the romance and get rid of the Korra/Mako drama in season 3 and 4. 

I like Kuvira as a villain, probably my second fav behind Zaheer. He's still my favourite despite the way he began acting. Sorry that I didn't stay active on this topic to comment about it back when it was happening. My memory isn't that good but I certainly wasn't impressed. 

 

the Zaheer character was quite solid till around halfway and then they degraded him into a sad generic villain instead

That sums it up nicely. I still loved it when Korra visited him in S4E9, shame they didn't get to interact more.

What else do I have to say about the finale? Nothing really. I don't have anything smart and analytical to say. Other posters here are outshining me by far. You guys got it covered.  


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#19
luxfelix

luxfelix
  • 299 posts

Indeed!  :D

 

I had a feeling that taking down Zaofu's shields was important; that Kuvira turned them into a colossus to fight with does match her psyche.

 

There were parts where I thought they were going to explore the obsolescence of the Avatar further.

 

I also had a feeling that Wu was going to step down, but not for any noble reason as he suggested. Looking to the Earth Kingdom even in Aang's time, the monarch seemed to be a puppet of the Dai Li, and it's unlikely that Wu would be able to reduce the autonomy of the provinces to run his government (even the previous Queen couldn't efficiently collect taxes). Wu stated something along the lines that he wanted to model it after Republic City with elections etc., but what about Zaofu? If I remember correctly, it's Suyin's private property (or leased/sold parcels to others?) and follows an anarcho-capitalist structure?


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