Avatar: The Last Airbender – Roku’s Limited Use of Firebendingby Savvy marco Savvy Marco
“The Avatar and the FireLord” is one of the best episodes in Avatar: The Last Airbender. It gives a flashback into the life of the previous Avatar, Roku, and demonstrates his mastery over elements and his tempestuous relationship with Fire Lord Sozin. His conflict with Sozin ultimately led to the Hundred Year War. The episode gives the audience a chance to understand Roku more and witness what his life was like.
But the episode reveals an intriguing aspect of Roku’s life and his fighting prowess. It is revealed that he very rarely uses his native element, which is strange since all Avatars usually rely mostly on them. This might hint at his relationship with the Fire Nation, and his elements do add a depth to his otherwise complex character. But it is not far-fetched to believe that Avatar Roku hated firebending.
It is expected from the Fire Nation Avatar that he would be comfortable in firebending. Even though Avatars are destined to master all four elements, most are usually more comfortable using their native elements. This was true for Aang, who used his airbending to assist his movements, and even in combat, he relied heavily on it. It was the same with Kyoshi, who was seemingly more dexterous in using earthbending while Yangchen and Kuruk mostly used their native elements as well. Even the first Avatar, Wan, relied more on his native element, even though he could bend many other elements.
Therefore, Roku’s revulsion to use firebending is an anomaly, and no other Avatar before or after him has been reluctant to rely on their native element. Korra was the only exception since she could bend three elements from a very young age. Her limited use of waterbending is because other elements are more suited to her offensive style. But in Roku’s case, it’s not about being strategic, and he has only firebend twice outside his Avatar state. One of those two occasions was when he was displaying his mastery over four elements, and threw huge consecutive fire waves. This was the peculiar nature of Aang’s predecessor, which was at odds with the usual demeanor expected from an Avatar.
The only other time we saw him firebend was when he was training with his friend Sozin. They were just casually sparring with each other when Sozin took advantage of Roku’s unstable base and defeated him. Even then, it can be observed that he didn’t enjoy firebending, and his tumultuous relationship with Sozin may have shaped his strategy that resulted in his future reluctance in using it.
By the time he had become the Avatar, he was much more comfortable and skilled in using earth and air than fire. He used both of them in his fight with Sozin when he gave the ultimatum for the war. He employed them very heavily in his battle against the volcano. What is interesting about Roku is the fact that his favorite elements are the ones that are tied deeply to his friendships. Air Nomad Gyatso was a lifelong friend of Roku, and it was said their friendship was so strong that it could even transcend lifetimes. Even his earthbending master was his lifelong friend, while on the other hand, nothing much was said about his waterbending master, and it is no surprise that he uses it just as rarely as firebending.
It seems that Roku preferred to use elements that were tied closely to his relationships. Since his firebending friend Sozin ended up becoming his worst enemy, it must be tough for him emotionally to be comfortable using it. Since he was an Avatar, one can’t doubt his skills as a firebender; there seems to be no other reason that might have led to his minimal use of firebending throughout his life. But then again, most of his life is shrouded in mystery, and nothing much is known about his personal struggles, there is a good chance that he might be one of the most exciting Avatars of all time if his story is ever told.
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Created on Sep 22nd 2020 02:07. Viewed 52 times.