I Fell in Love With Katara (And I’ll Probably Always Love Her): A meta on the Zuko/Katara relationship, Katara’s hero’s journey, and how that fits into canon.
First off, let’s get this out of the way: I’m not trying to argue Katara and Aang’s marriage and children were not endgame, nor am I stating the contrary re: Mai and Zuko’s relationship. They happened. It’s over and done with.
…And yet, when Dante Basco posted this (and he’s made it no secret he likes Z/K) it got me thinking on the nature of Zuko’s relationships, Zuko’s feelings towards Katara, and in the end, why Zuko and Katara had a completely different dynamic than what we ended up with.
I think if you ask a Zutarian shipper for an honest, critical assessment of where they think Kataang didn’t meet their expectations, it would be in one place: Katara’s half of the narrative had to be secondary to Aang’s. In the end, Katara is part of Aang’s story. This in and of itself isn’t necessarily bad or wrong, but it’s standard fare, and the pacing of season three dropped the ball on elaborating on Katara’s feelings with the due attention it needed. Is Katara a “prize” to be won by anyone? No. She isn’t. But in retrospect, with Katara ending up with Aang, the narrative feeds “Aang is a hero. Aang has the girl. Aang’s story goes on, and Katara keeps up Aang’s story after his death.” Not her own, but Aang’s. Yes, TLOK shows that Katara has moved to the South Pole and has taught students there but the focus of her presence is as Aang’s wife, the mother of Aang’s children, etc. We don’t see a single flashback of her, and moreover, we don’t get references of what she did with herself outside of Aang’s story. Toph’s significant other is never even shown and to be honest, whomever he was is irrelevant because Toph was the Chief of Police, and a famous Sifu in her own right.
Aang being with Katara forces Katara’s narrative to include him, which is not unusual or wrong, but is a bit imbalanced. Zutara basically is an idea that that concept can be subverted; it’s a “romance” [and I use the term in a loose, non-physical sense] of two hero’s journeys, rather than just one.
5 months ago