Thursday, October 17, 2013

Finding Balance with Korra

Legend of Korra has started this new season a little slow.  The conflict is subtle with increasing tension in the plot and characters.  Something that sets the characters of Korra apart from the original team Avatar is the average age.  In Avatar: The Last Airbender, the average physical age was 11 or 12.  (Yes, I know Aang is 111 years old.  I took off 100 years because he's basically 11.)  The average age in Korra is closer to 16.  Because of this, you have a lot of unexplained teenage angst and emotions.  Although this is probably a weak point of the show, it is also realistic and raises a few thoughts.

I remember when I was a teenager I used my hormones and emotions as an excuse.  "I'm feeling depressed, it must be hormones."  "Dang, she's really mean today, she must be on her period."  Never mind the stresses of finding yourself, high school grades, navigating the social sphere, and other possible challenges like discovering same sex attraction or domestic trouble.

Anyone notice a character change in Korra this season?  I can't help but feel like she's stressed out, overly emotional, and far more illogical then how she ended the first season.  So is she just being a normal teenager with the pressure of being the world's Avatar or is there a deeper issue for her?

Let's look at the ending of the first season and the first few episodes of this season.

Korra defeated Amon, she unlocked her ability to airbend after he took away all of her other bending powers, her powers were restored in full by Aang's spirit, and she entered the Avatar state for the first time.  The first few episodes we see Korra misusing the Avatar state and seems to be a weaker Avatar state then what we saw with Aang.  Korra can practically access the Avatar state at will but not to same level of power as Aang.  Which makes sense because Aang's strengths were in the spiritual side of being the Avatar.  Korra's strengths lie in the actual physical performance of being the Avatar.

The reason why Korra has been doubtful and emotional lately is because she's still not fully connected to her spiritual side.  She's taken the sacred and immense power of being the Avatar and has used it to win a race.  She'll enter into the Avatar state without fully understanding it's purpose.  She feels out of balance in her soul creating walls between her and Mako.

I've noticed that a big theme in Korra is connecting to spirit.  Korra is impressed by Unalaq's ability to pacify dark spirits and sees him as a spiritual guide for her.  Unalaq debates for true ideas about spirituality while at the materialistic Glacier Spirits Festival.  Imagine her hurt and confusion when she sees Unalaq's true intentions.  The irony is that Unalaq wants good things.  He wants to spiritually restore the Southern Water tribe but in a very manipulative and evil way.

The southern water tribe get's help from Verrick, a water tribe business mastermind, to fight back against the powerful northern water tribe.  Mako discovers manipulation from this end as well.  Verrick is motivated by money.  He's also a filmmaker with a typical fake Hollywood attitude.  At first, he's charming and likable.  We soon discover his true intentions and what the civil war of the northern and southern water tribes is really about.

It's a war between materialism and spirituality.  It's a war of external power and inner focus.  The southern water tribe has grown accustomed to wealth and modern conveniences.  Just watch a few episodes of the original series to see the difference between now and 72 years ago.  The southern water tribe never had a palace and now they do.  This is the same war going on inside of Korra.  She isn't just dealing with being a teenager.  She's trying to find balance with her spirit.

For me, I've found that my life has been out of balance.  I'm finding that I have the same battle that Korra is having.  Getting my life back into balance has meant deactivating my facebook account for the time and refocusing on school.  This absence is only temporary.  Tools like facebook, the internet, television, and blogging are wonderful tools to give me a recharge, relax, and even share the gospel.  If I focus too much on school, I could neglect my own needs and spirituality.  If I focus on my social needs, I could forfeit the future of my career.  If I focus too much on my spirituality, I could become prideful and fanatic.

Balance is difficult to achieve.  It may mean taking a break from regular activities, friends, and good things.  I've seen that it can even mean sacrifice for me.  In the end, only we can know what can give us the balance we need.  What have you done before to help you find balance?


1 comment:

  1. I feel the same way. I think that how Korra has been portrayed this season is completely true to her character.