Better Character: Toph or Zaheer?

Avatar image for cocacolaman
CocaColaMan

16110

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Poll Better Character: Toph or Zaheer? (58 votes)

Toph 34%
Zaheer 57%
Results 9%

No Caption Provided
 • 
Avatar image for mantraxsp
MantraXSP

11143

Forum Posts

12397

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 1

#2  Edited By MantraXSP

No Caption Provided
Avatar image for geekryan
geekryan

15855

Forum Posts

43

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 1

Toph, but I'm a big fan of Zaheer as well and he was my favourite villain of LOK

Avatar image for azronger
Azronger

4805

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I'll say Toph but this is really, really close for me.

Avatar image for indomitableregal
IndomitableRegal

23918

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#5  Edited By IndomitableRegal

Dude. Seriously. Remove me. -_-

And Toph, though Zaheer is one of the better LoK characters. 2nd or 3rd best LoK villain behind Kuvira and maybe Amon imo.

Avatar image for byondeon
byondeon

12789

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@geekryan said:

Toph, but I'm a big fan of Zaheer as well and he was my favourite villain of LOK

This is blasphemous against Unalaq and Amon and Kuvira and Pl'i and Ghazan and Ming Hua and Tarrlok..

Avatar image for boc
BOC

5254

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Toph. Never been a big fan of Zaheer.

Avatar image for aystarr
Aystarr

4421

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Ouch, this is close, I'm going with Toph but I can go with Zaheer too.

Avatar image for deactivated-60c7ec0cc5374
deactivated-60c7ec0cc5374

1217

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@byondeon said:
@geekryan said:

Toph, but I'm a big fan of Zaheer as well and he was my favourite villain of LOK

This is blasphemous against Unalaq and Amon and Kuvira and Pl'i and Ghazan and Ming Hua and Tarrlok..

Unalaq and Kuvira are a mistake to fiction, the ywre probably an accident. Zaheer is incredible.

Avatar image for byondeon
byondeon

12789

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@byondeon said:
@geekryan said:

Toph, but I'm a big fan of Zaheer as well and he was my favourite villain of LOK

This is blasphemous against Unalaq and Amon and Kuvira and Pl'i and Ghazan and Ming Hua and Tarrlok..

Unalaq and Kuvira are a mistake to fiction, the ywre probably an accident. Zaheer is incredible.

With them you could actually feel they were a threat. They are the only ones you feel are the only ones that can actually suceed with their plans. Which makes them great. Not to mention they have the 2 single best battles in the franchise.

Avatar image for deactivated-60c7ec0cc5374
deactivated-60c7ec0cc5374

1217

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@byondeon said:
@haikyuu444 said:
@byondeon said:
@geekryan said:

Toph, but I'm a big fan of Zaheer as well and he was my favourite villain of LOK

This is blasphemous against Unalaq and Amon and Kuvira and Pl'i and Ghazan and Ming Hua and Tarrlok..

Unalaq and Kuvira are a mistake to fiction, the ywre probably an accident. Zaheer is incredible.

With them you could actually feel they were a threat. They are the only ones you feel are the only ones that can actually suceed with their plans. Which makes them great. Not to mention they have the 2 single best battles in the franchise.

I didn't feel any of thta, I wonder why not?

Avatar image for geekryan
geekryan

15855

Forum Posts

43

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 1

@byondeon said:
@haikyuu444 said:
@byondeon said:
@geekryan said:

Toph, but I'm a big fan of Zaheer as well and he was my favourite villain of LOK

This is blasphemous against Unalaq and Amon and Kuvira and Pl'i and Ghazan and Ming Hua and Tarrlok..

Unalaq and Kuvira are a mistake to fiction, the ywre probably an accident. Zaheer is incredible.

With them you could actually feel they were a threat. They are the only ones you feel are the only ones that can actually suceed with their plans. Which makes them great. Not to mention they have the 2 single best battles in the franchise.

I didn't feel any of thta, I wonder why not?

Unalaq only became a threat after merging with Vaatu. Kuvira wasn't a threat without the Colossus and army.

Avatar image for mo_ali
Mo_Ali

1426

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#14 Mo_Ali  Online

I absolutely loved Toph she was amazing, but she was my least fav team avatar member. Zaheer on the other hand was a fucking bad ass villain. He was one of my fav in both Lok and ATLA. Perhaps only Azula and Ozai above him. But Zaheer was almost equal to Ozai for me. Plus his posse too was amazing

Avatar image for deactivated-60c7ec0cc5374
deactivated-60c7ec0cc5374

1217

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@geekryan said:
@haikyuu444 said:
@byondeon said:
@haikyuu444 said:
@byondeon said:
@geekryan said:

Toph, but I'm a big fan of Zaheer as well and he was my favourite villain of LOK

This is blasphemous against Unalaq and Amon and Kuvira and Pl'i and Ghazan and Ming Hua and Tarrlok..

Unalaq and Kuvira are a mistake to fiction, the ywre probably an accident. Zaheer is incredible.

With them you could actually feel they were a threat. They are the only ones you feel are the only ones that can actually suceed with their plans. Which makes them great. Not to mention they have the 2 single best battles in the franchise.

I didn't feel any of thta, I wonder why not?

Unalaq only became a threat after merging with Vaatu. Kuvira wasn't a threat without the Colossus and army.

Oh thank u, and i agree 100% w/ both.

Avatar image for deactivated-60c7ec0cc5374
deactivated-60c7ec0cc5374

1217

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@mo_ali said:

I absolutely loved Toph she was amazing, but she was my least fav team avatar member. Zaheer on the other hand was a fucking bad ass villain. He was one of my fav in both Lok and ATLA. Perhaps only Azula and Ozai above him. But Zaheer was almost equal to Ozai for me. Plus his posse too was amazing

Zaheer is pog.

Avatar image for deactivated-60c7ec0cc5374
deactivated-60c7ec0cc5374

1217

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@haikyuu444 said:
@geekryan said:
@haikyuu444 said:
@byondeon said:
@haikyuu444 said:
@byondeon said:
@geekryan said:

Toph, but I'm a big fan of Zaheer as well and he was my favourite villain of LOK

This is blasphemous against Unalaq and Amon and Kuvira and Pl'i and Ghazan and Ming Hua and Tarrlok..

Unalaq and Kuvira are a mistake to fiction, the ywre probably an accident. Zaheer is incredible.

With them you could actually feel they were a threat. They are the only ones you feel are the only ones that can actually suceed with their plans. Which makes them great. Not to mention they have the 2 single best battles in the franchise.

I didn't feel any of thta, I wonder why not?

Unalaq only became a threat after merging with Vaatu. Kuvira wasn't a threat without the Colossus and army.

Oh thank u, and i agree 100% w/ both.

Sry, thought u were talking to me.

Avatar image for edgelord91
Edgelord91

6051

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Toph. Zaheers return ruined him for me

Avatar image for animefreak1
AnimeFreak1

10120

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Toph easily a better character

Avatar image for deactivated-60c61163e3626
deactivated-60c61163e3626

97

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

This shouldn't even be a debate; it isn't even fair, and it is wrong to compare characters in which one has development more than the other. Now look what you did. You made Near angry. SMH.

*Angry Near*
*Angry Near*

Avatar image for viking1205
Viking1205

4485

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Zaheer

Avatar image for anthp2000
ANTHP2000

38091

Forum Posts

150

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#22 ANTHP2000  Online

Toph.

Avatar image for bigdreamer48
BigDreamer48

1827

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

While I found Zaheer to be more "interesting", I think Toph has gotta be my favorite of the two.

Avatar image for azronger
Azronger

4805

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Toph. Zaheers return ruined him for me

Why? I thought it added to him. It showed that nothing he did in Book Three was personal; he was purely ideologically motivated. And if helping the Avatar the next day even though they were enemies the previous day is in his interest, he'll do it.

Avatar image for eslay03
eslay03

6562

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#25 eslay03  Online

I’ll give it to Toph by a hair.

Avatar image for evyhl
EvyHL

67

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Toph may not have the best arc in Atla , but I liked her better than Zaheer.

Avatar image for anthp2000
ANTHP2000

38091

Forum Posts

150

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#27 ANTHP2000  Online

@azronger said:
@edgelord91 said:

Toph. Zaheers return ruined him for me

Why? I thought it added to him. It showed that nothing he did in Book Three was personal; he was purely ideologically motivated. And if helping the Avatar the next day even though they were enemies the previous day is in his interest, he'll do it.

I agree. It pretty much showed that he was not a hypocrite, which plenty of the villains were.

Avatar image for azronger
Azronger

4805

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#28  Edited By Azronger

@anthp2000: I think it also made him more three-dimensional as a person. He realized he'd made a mistake, so he set out to correct it. I get the feeling that after that encounter with Korra in prison he wasn't as extreme in his ideology, or at least no longer of the opinion that assassinating world leaders was the right way to bring about what he sought. It's rare when a villain is willing to re-examine and adjust their views for the better. The scene made Zaheer more human.

Avatar image for anthp2000
ANTHP2000

38091

Forum Posts

150

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#29 ANTHP2000  Online
Avatar image for edgelord91
Edgelord91

6051

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@anthp2000: it was great for his character but the fact that korra was so quick to trust him when he could’ve easily betrayed her and hadn’t given her an actual reason to trust him just gives me rwby volume 7-8 vibes

Avatar image for nathanthecynic
nathanthecynic

751

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I'll never understand the Zaheer love, honestly. He was an idiot with a terrible philosophy that created the very thing he hated.

The scene with Korra and Zaheer is also pretty creepy. I can't imagine going to the person who paralysed me and gave me crippling PTSD and needing their help to get over the trauma they inflicted on me. Zaheer isn't even remorseful for what he did and acts as if Korra is blaming him to avoid moving on when that isn't the case at all.

Avatar image for deactivated-60c61163e3626
deactivated-60c61163e3626

97

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

LOL at the poll.

Avatar image for cocacolaman
CocaColaMan

16110

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Did the poll get rigged?

Avatar image for deactivated-60c61163e3626
deactivated-60c61163e3626

97

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Okay, I will have to say this. Toph is a better character than Zaheer. Toph is very iconic and feels like a realistic and breathable character who anyone can laugh at her jokes and her dialogue. Toph also has a unique fighting style and the greatest earthbender in the world. Toph made history as well, while she was being carted back to her family in a metal chariot. For the longest time, it was accepted that metal was a great way to contain earthbenders, such as that ocean platform that housed helpless earthbenders. She's not an anarchist like Zaheer, but then again, she is quick to resist if someone tries to place physical or mental walls around her or the people she cares about.

Avatar image for futureisbest
Futureisbest

895

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Avatar image for korraalone
KorraAlone

515

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I like Toph more, but Zaheer is the better character in terms of writing

Avatar image for azronger
Azronger

4805

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@nathanthecynic

He was an idiot with a terrible philosophy that created the very thing he hated.

Yes, that's sort of the point with all the villains in LOK: they're extremists. Zaheer, like the others, raises valid points, but takes it too far - that's where the conflict in the narrative comes from in the first place. The narrative then demonstrates where Zaheer was wrong by showing the consequences of his actions in causing an even worse dictatorship to rise in place of the old one he dismantled. So, if he wasn't "an idiot with a terrible philosophy," there would be no story. That's kind of a redundant way to critique a character, especially a villain.

The scene with Korra and Zaheer is also pretty creepy. I can't imagine going to the person who paralysed me and gave me crippling PTSD and needing their help to get over the trauma they inflicted on me.

It's not uncommon for a victim of trauma to confront their abuser. You can find videos on YouTube of people calling their school bullies years later and reconciling. I've done it myself in real life (not with a bully, but with someone who nonetheless caused me great pain in the past), and it was relieving. Or, if you want a direct example from Avatar, here.

And Korra didn't go to Zaheer to get help from him. She went in there, in her words, to "look you in the eye and tell you that you have no power over me. I will no longer be scared of you." He simply happened to be cooperative. There's nothing inherently creepy about it.

Zaheer isn't even remorseful for what he did

Of course he's not. If you recall Guru Pathik's teachings to Aang, letting go of his guilt and shame were required to unlock his chakra, with the final step in the process being able to let go of attachments. Zaheer is several steps above even that. He's not weighed down by his emotions, although he does still feel them. Even back in Book Three, he empathized with Korra's anguish over believing to have lost her father, despite being the direct cause Tonraq's supposed demise. But he didn't feel guilty over it, just like he doesn't feel guilty for torturing and crippling a teenage girl, because guilt is an earthly tether, and he has none. He is, however, willing and able to help Korra recover the same way he's unburdened himself: acceptance.

and acts as if Korra is blaming him to avoid moving on when that isn't the case at all.

That was 100% the case. It's, again, not uncommon for a victim of trauma to anthropomorphize their suffering to make bearing it easier. Korra even does it in the very same scene: "No, my problem is you. You poisoned me! You ruined me! People used to think I was unstoppable, but now they don't think I'm capable of anything!" Regardless of how true that is, that sort of behavior won't make the suffering go away. Even if Zaheer could have expressed remorse, validating Korra's scapegoating would have been pointless and counterproductive when the goal was her rehabilitation. He was right to call her out on it and offer better advice.

I'll never understand the Zaheer love, honestly.

To close off, I enjoy Zaheer as a villain because he and the Red Lotus manage to be an imposing threat in the narrative who capably challenge the main cast and impel growth in the protagonist. The third season also deliberately portrays two bad world leaders in Raiko and Hou-Ting to validate their ideology, and Zaheer cites the Fire Lords from ATLA as further examples.

The Red Lotus also have personalities beyond their function in the narrative. Zaheer, in particular, has a girlfriend that he loves, is adept at dealing with children, is willing to admit his mistakes and change his viewpoint, and shows a lot of emotional intelligence. And, unlike Amon, Tarrlok, and Kuvira, who were, at the end of the day, all acting out personal insecurity more than anything else, Zaheer is entirely sincere in his beliefs and has no emotional baggage; in short, he's not a hypocrite, which the scene in the prison demonstrates. Honesty is an attribute I value highly in people, which is a big reason why I gravitate towards him.

Lastly, I really like Zaheer's fighting style. He partakes in some of the best fight scenes in the franchise, three of which are some of my absolute favorites: the battle at the Northern Air Temple, the showdown on top of Laghima's Peak, and his final battle with Korra. I also love how he carries himself like an alpha, even in conversations, and the scene where he enters the void really cemented him for me as a certified badass.

Avatar image for korraalone
KorraAlone

515

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@azronger said:

@nathanthecynic

He was an idiot with a terrible philosophy that created the very thing he hated.

Yes, that's sort of the point with all the villains in LOK: they're extremists. Zaheer, like the others, raises valid points, but takes it too far - that's where the conflict in the narrative comes from in the first place. The narrative then demonstrates where Zaheer was wrong by showing the consequences of his actions in causing an even worse dictatorship to rise in place of the old one he dismantled. So, if he wasn't "an idiot with a terrible philosophy," there would be no story. That's kind of a redundant way to critique a character, especially a villain.

The scene with Korra and Zaheer is also pretty creepy. I can't imagine going to the person who paralysed me and gave me crippling PTSD and needing their help to get over the trauma they inflicted on me.

It's not uncommon for a victim of trauma to confront their abuser. You can find videos on YouTube of people calling their school bullies years later and reconciling. I've done it myself in real life (not with a bully, but with someone who nonetheless caused me great pain in the past), and it was relieving. Or, if you want a direct example from Avatar, here.

And Korra didn't go to Zaheer to get help from him. She went in there, in her words, to "look you in the eye and tell you that you have no power over me. I will no longer be scared of you." He simply happened to be cooperative. There's nothing inherently creepy about it.

Zaheer isn't even remorseful for what he did

Of course he's not. If you recall Guru Pathik's teachings to Aang, letting go of his guilt and shame were required to unlock his chakra, with the final step in the process being able to let go of attachments. Zaheer is several steps above even that. He's not weighed down by his emotions, although he does still feel them. Even back in Book Three, he empathized with Korra's anguish over believing to have lost her father, despite being the direct cause Tonraq's supposed demise. But he didn't feel guilty over it, just like he doesn't feel guilty for torturing and crippling a teenage girl, because guilt is an earthly tether, and he has none. He is, however, willing and able to help Korra recover the same way he's unburdened himself: acceptance.

and acts as if Korra is blaming him to avoid moving on when that isn't the case at all.

That was 100% the case. It's, again, not uncommon for a victim of trauma to anthropomorphize their suffering to make bearing it easier. Korra even does it in the very same scene: "No, my problem is you. You poisoned me! You ruined me! People used to think I was unstoppable, but now they don't think I'm capable of anything!" Regardless of how true that is, that sort of behavior won't make the suffering go away. Even if Zaheer could have expressed remorse, validating Korra's scapegoating would have been pointless and counterproductive when the goal was her rehabilitation. He was right to call her out on it and offer better advice.

I'll never understand the Zaheer love, honestly.

To close off, I enjoy Zaheer as a villain because he and the Red Lotus manage to be an imposing threat in the narrative who capably challenge the main cast and impel growth in the protagonist. The third season also deliberately portrays two bad world leaders in Raiko and Hou-Ting to validate their ideology, and Zaheer cites the Fire Lords from ATLA as further examples.

The Red Lotus also have personalities beyond their function in the narrative. Zaheer, in particular, has a girlfriend that he loves, is adept at dealing with children, is willing to admit his mistakes and change his viewpoint, and shows a lot of emotional intelligence. And, unlike Amon, Tarrlok, and Kuvira, who were, at the end of the day, all acting out personal insecurity more than anything else, Zaheer is entirely sincere in his beliefs and has no emotional baggage; in short, he's not a hypocrite, which the scene in the prison demonstrates. Honesty is an attribute I value highly in people, which is a big reason why I gravitate towards him.

Lastly, I really like Zaheer's fighting style. He partakes in some of the best fight scenes in the franchise, three of which are some of my absolute favorites: the battle at the Northern Air Temple, the showdown on top of Laghima's Peak, and his final battle with Korra. I also love how he carries himself like an alpha, even in conversations, and the scene where he enters the void really cemented him for me as a certified badass.

All of this x1000

I wish I could get this branded on me but i think ny back is too small lol

Avatar image for bigdreamer48
BigDreamer48

1827

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Avatar image for mrmonster
mrmonster

22340

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Toph

Avatar image for cocacolaman
CocaColaMan

16110

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I'm almost positive this poll has been rigged, the other polls have half these votes.

Avatar image for anthp2000
ANTHP2000

38091

Forum Posts

150

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#43 ANTHP2000  Online

I'm almost positive this poll has been rigged, the other polls have half these votes.

I don't want to believe anyone cares enough about Zaheer to do this.

Avatar image for geekryan
geekryan

15855

Forum Posts

43

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 1

Avatar image for nathanthecynic
nathanthecynic

751

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#45  Edited By nathanthecynic

@azronger said:

Yes, that's sort of the point with all the villains in LOK: they're extremists. Zaheer, like the others, raises valid points, but takes it too far - that's where the conflict in the narrative comes from in the first place. The narrative then demonstrates where Zaheer was wrong by showing the consequences of his actions in causing an even worse dictatorship to rise in place of the old one he dismantled. So, if he wasn't "an idiot with a terrible philosophy," there would be no story. That's kind of a redundant way to critique a character, especially a villain.

The thing with Amon and Unalaq is that they didn't genuinely believe in their chosen philosophies, they just hid behind them to achieve their own personal desires. The difference with Zaheer is that he actually believes in his philosophy or at least a teenager's interpretation of it. The issue with this is that Zaheer's ideas are too stupid to be taken seriously. We're supposed to think he has a point but he doesn't because any good point he made was immediately invalidated by him saying that chaos was the natural order and his moronic decisions. Zaheer SERIOUSLY BELIEVED that freedom would be achieved in the Earth Kingdom if he just took out the Earth Queen as if some relative or someone else wouldn't come in and take over. He is braindead and he fails at properly representing his political philosophy because (as with the others) the writers don't have a deep understanding of what anarchism actually is. There's a great video that goes into this.

It's not uncommon for a victim of trauma to confront their abuser. You can find videos on YouTube of people calling their school bullies years later and reconciling. I've done it myself in real life (not with a bully, but with someone who nonetheless caused me great pain in the past), and it was relieving. Or, if you want a direct example from Avatar, here.

There's a massive difference between confronting a school bully and confronting the man that gave you crippling PTSD comparable to that of a war veteran. I'm not sure why Zuko is being brought up here. It's a completely different situation and far better done I might say. That scene demonstrates to the audience that Zuko has absorbed the lessons from Iroh and is finally putting them into practice. Confronting Ozai was just one (albeit important) step on Zuko's journey. His problems weren't immediately over after confronting Ozai whereas Korra's PTSD is immediately erased thanks to Zaheer.

And Korra didn't go to Zaheer to get help from him. She went in there, in her words, to "look you in the eye and tell you that you have no power over me. I will no longer be scared of you." He simply happened to be cooperative. There's nothing inherently creepy about it.

It's creepy because it's framed as if Korra's only option was to accept Zaheer's help. Zaheer says this in the scene!!!! If they knew Korra would need a guide to get into the spirit world to reconnect with her Avatar spirit, a number of other characters could've fulfilled that role. Korra did not need her abuser's help to overcome the trauma that he was responsible for causing. It would've been far more compelling to see Korra overcome that trauma by getting support from the people closest to her. Part of the reason that scene bothers me so much is that the writers clearly understood this earlier in the season with Korra's amazing moments with Toph and Katara but then they threw it all away to vindicate their terrible villain.

That was 100% the case. It's, again, not uncommon for a victim of trauma to anthropomorphize their suffering to make bearing it easier. Korra even does it in the very same scene: "No, my problem is you. You poisoned me! You ruined me! People used to think I was unstoppable, but now they don't think I'm capable of anything!" Regardless of how true that is, that sort of behavior won't make the suffering go away. Even if Zaheer could have expressed remorse, validating Korra's scapegoating would have been pointless and counterproductive when the goal was her rehabilitation. He was right to call her out on it and offer better advice.

He wasn't right. He was deflecting so that he could be seen as some sort of wise character. No matter how it is spun, Zaheer is responsible for Korra's condition and she has every right to be mad at him for what he did. It is not as if Korra was avoiding recovery, she was actively trying to get better but she couldn't because PTSD can't be wished away unless you take a trip to the spirit world evidently. As I mentioned earlier, the scene isn't just about Korra's recovery, it's also about vindicating Zaheer so Korra has to appear as if she's in the wrong for being mad at him. Zaheer has to be the one to help Korra here so the story bends over to facilitate it.

To close off, I enjoy Zaheer as a villain because he and the Red Lotus manage to be an imposing threat in the narrative who capably challenge the main cast and impel growth in the protagonist. The third season also deliberately portrays two bad world leaders in Raiko and Hou-Ting to validate their ideology, and Zaheer cites the Fire Lords from ATLA as further examples.

It doesn't validate their ideology though. The Earth Queen and Raiko are proven to be better than the chaos Zaheer brings about. I always find it hilarious how he uses the Fire Lords to justify his stupidity and then threatens to wipe out the Air Nation.

The Red Lotus also have personalities beyond their function in the narrative. Zaheer, in particular, has a girlfriend that he loves, is adept at dealing with children, is willing to admit his mistakes and change his viewpoint, and shows a lot of emotional intelligence. And, unlike Amon, Tarrlok, and Kuvira, who were, at the end of the day, all acting out personal insecurity more than anything else, Zaheer is entirely sincere in his beliefs and has no emotional baggage; in short, he's not a hypocrite, which the scene in the prison demonstrates. Honesty is an attribute I value highly in people, which is a big reason why I gravitate towards him.

I do appreciate that he's not a liar like Amon and Tarrlok. I still feel like Kuvira is a better villain than him. They knew (for the most part) how to handle her in a better way than the other villains because she was more simple.

Lastly, I really like Zaheer's fighting style. He partakes in some of the best fight scenes in the franchise, three of which are some of my absolute favorites: the battle at the Northern Air Temple, the showdown on top of Laghima's Peak, and his final battle with Korra. I also love how he carries himself like an alpha, even in conversations, and the scene where he enters the void really cemented him for me as a certified badass.

Fairs

Avatar image for azronger
Azronger

4805

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0


@nathanthecynic

The thing with Amon and Unalaq is that they didn't genuinely believe in their chosen philosophies, they just hid behind them to achieve their own personal desires. The difference with Zaheer is that he actually believes in his philosophy or at least a teenager's interpretation of it. The issue with this is that Zaheer's ideas are too stupid to be taken seriously. We're supposed to think he has a point but he doesn't because any good point he made was immediately invalidated by him saying that chaos was the natural order and his moronic decisions. Zaheer SERIOUSLY BELIEVED that freedom would be achieved in the Earth Kingdom if he just took out the Earth Queen as if some relative or someone else wouldn't come in and take over. He is braindead and he fails at properly representing his political philosophy because (as with the others) the writers don't have a deep understanding of what anarchism actually is. There's a great video that goes into this.

I don't really know what to make of Unalaq (he just seemed kind of insane to me), but with Amon, I actually disagree with you that he didn't believe in his cause. Sure, he was just acting out his childhood trauma, but his conviction in the alleged evil of bending was genuine. However, this thread's not about Amon, so I'm not going to go into him further. We can agree to disagree for now.

Regarding Zaheer, and LOK villains in general, there is this misconception that they are meant to be perfect analogues for certain real life political philosophies. There are undeniably definite parallels, but some people take these and jump to overly specific conclusions that aren't supported by other evidence, and then, when viewing the entire character/story through this restrictive lens, deem them poorly written because they fail to meet criteria the show itself didn’t set - they did. Nobody (informed) is denying that Zaheer's ideology is essentially just a caricature of anarchism, but the writers aren’t failing at representing political philosophies because they aren’t doing political commentary in the first place. The point of the villains of the show is that, while they champion untenable beliefs, at the core of those beliefs are ultimately good ideas that have been twisted. Zaheer’s is that oppressive, tyrannical governments are a negative influence in the world and should not be allowed to exist, which is in no way invalidated by anything else he says - a faulty conclusion doesn’t diminish a valid premise. You aren’t supposed to agree with his entire message, but that one good point he makes still remains a good point no matter what.

But all of this is sort of sidestepping the initial point of contention, which is that you don’t understand why Zaheer is so liked due to his dumb belief system. The answer to that, at the end of the day, is quite simple: it doesn’t bother anyone in that they don’t see it as a writing flaw. People in real life, contemporary and historical, believe in all sorts of far-fetched, inane ideas even if they aren’t mentally deficient in a neurological sense - there’s a difference between intelligence and rationality. Characters in stories being the same way doesn’t make me dislike them by default. It’s your prerogative to feel otherwise if you do, but that’s stepping into the realm of opinions, where there’s really no point to arguing.

There's a massive difference between confronting a school bully and confronting the man that gave you crippling PTSD comparable to that of a war veteran. I'm not sure why Zuko is being brought up here. It's a completely different situation and far better done I might say. That scene demonstrates to the audience that Zuko has absorbed the lessons from Iroh and is finally putting them into practice. Confronting Ozai was just one (albeit important) step on Zuko's journey. His problems weren't immediately over after confronting Ozai whereas Korra's PTSD is immediately erased thanks to Zaheer.

My point is that confronting an abuser is a common way to alleviate one’s trauma - it doesn’t matter whether it’s a school bully, a bad parent, or an enemy combatant as the general idea is the same even if the intensity varies. I simply brought up Zuko’s scene as an analogous example from Avatar itself (Ursa confronting Ozai in the comics is another one, or Asami meeting with Hiroshi) - whether you think it’s better than Korra’s or not isn’t germane to that point. Not really sure what the relevance of your response is as the reason for Korra choosing to confront Zaheer is pretty self-evident regardless of whatever nitpicks you may have. If you want to label her PTSD disappearing for good as a flaw, then it’s a flaw in Korra’s arc, not in the scene itself or in Zaheer as a character (even then I’m not sure I agree with you (at least as far as Book Four is concerned) given the very limited episode count and that in-universe the season finale only takes place less than two weeks afterwards).

It's creepy because it's framed as if Korra's only option was to accept Zaheer's help. Zaheer says this in the scene!!!! If they knew Korra would need a guide to get into the spirit world to reconnect with her Avatar spirit, a number of other characters could've fulfilled that role. Korra did not need her abuser's help to overcome the trauma that he was responsible for causing. It would've been far more compelling to see Korra overcome that trauma by getting support from the people closest to her. Part of the reason that scene bothers me so much is that the writers clearly understood this earlier in the season with Korra's amazing moments with Toph and Katara but then they threw it all away to vindicate their terrible villain.

If you think it would have been more compelling to have Korra fully heal with aid from her friends instead of her nemesis then that’s simply your opinion on what you would have liked to see, not a universal truth the writers “understood” earlier but “threw away” later. Her time with Katara, Toph, her parents, etc. are still an integral part of her recovery process, so I quite frankly don’t get where you’re coming from here at all. The reason going to Zaheer is framed as Korra’s only option is because she wasn’t comfortable talking about her struggles with Mako or Bolin, she viewed Tenzin and others as having lost faith in her, Asami isn’t exactly knowledgeable on spiritual matters even if they could have had more scenes together, and it was Zaheer who appeared in a vision when she tried to enter the Spirit World - not to mention the fact that they were running out of time with the vines going rogue and Kuvira planning her attack. Zaheer was the logical choice, and as far as my opinion goes, we already saw plenty of Korra getting support from her friends, so it was very compelling to see the same from the villain. If you don’t think so and somehow view it as creepy, I doubt I can change your mind on that.

He wasn't right. He was deflecting so that he could be seen as some sort of wise character. No matter how it is spun, Zaheer is responsible for Korra's condition and she has every right to be mad at him for what he did. It is not as if Korra was avoiding recovery, she was actively trying to get better but she couldn't because PTSD can't be wished away unless you take a trip to the spirit world evidently. As I mentioned earlier, the scene isn't just about Korra's recovery, it's also about vindicating Zaheer so Korra has to appear as if she's in the wrong for being mad at him. Zaheer has to be the one to help Korra here so the story bends over to facilitate it.

If you don’t think he was right then show how he wasn’t. Saying Korra has every right to condemn her tormentor is beside the point as that wasn’t helping her recover. Zaheer was absolutely on the money with that point, and it’s not mutually exclusive with him being responsible for her condition, him not being remorseful, or Korra trying to get better. The same advice could have been any other character and it would have been just as true. If you’re endlessly fixated on the person who caused you harm in the past, no matter how justified the blame may be, then you’re not moving on from it. The story doesn’t “bend over” to facilitate making that point.

It doesn't validate their ideology though. The Earth Queen and Raiko are proven to be better than the chaos Zaheer brings about. I always find it hilarious how he uses the Fire Lords to justify his stupidity and then threatens to wipe out the Air Nation.

Poor phrasing on my part. What I meant is that the presence of Raiko and Hou-Ting in the narrative serves as the foundation for Zaheer’s initial claim: the world would be better without oppressive and myopic leaders, which is something I imagine most people can agree on. What pushes him into the role of the antagonist and where the narrative proves him wrong is in forcefully removing these leaders and inciting mayhem in the streets in the hopes of granting the people their freedom, and also with threatening to kill the airbenders as you've pointed out.