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These characters are the mentors to Team Avatar.
The four Avatars that came before Aang, listed in descending order. Even after their deaths, they serve as Spirit Advisors for the current Avatar, and can lend Aang their power through the Avatar State. Since Roku is the one that came directly before Aang, he does most of the advising.
- Roku is a Fire Nation Avatar and the one directly preceding Aang. He blames himself for the war, and with good reason -- he was close friends with Sozin and was unwilling to kill him in order to prevent the war.
- Kyoshi is from the Earth Kingdom and the founder/creator of Kyoshi Island. She is best known as the creator of the Dai Li and the inspiration for the Kyoshi Warriors.
- Kuruk is a member of the Water Tribe, and didn't take his job as Avatar too seriously. This came back to bite him when Koh took his wife from him to punish him for his irresponsibility. When not advising Aang, he spends his time searching for Koh for vengeance.
- Yangchen is an Air Nomad, and can give Aang insight the others can't due to their shared heritage. However, she believes that Aang's pacifism is detrimental to his job as Avatar. Case in point, her tenure as Avatar was so successful it allowed for multi-generational peace; the reason Kuruk had all that time to take it easy? HER.
- Ascended Extra: Both Yangchen and Kuruk first appeared in a tie-in online game. They made their show debut during the finale.
- Arrogant Kung Fu Guy: Kuruk was one to the point where Koh had to kidnap his fiancee to remind him of his duties as an Avatar.
- Badass Beard: Roku
- Brutal Honesty: Kyoshi, if the two instances in the series involving her are anything to come by. Such as blatantly admitting to the crime that could get Aang killed if he was declared guilty and flat-out mentioning her opinion about how to deal with Ozai by killing him right then and there.
- Casanova: Kuruk.
- Dragon Rider: Roku.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Roku is the Avatar seen bending all 4 elements in the opening then vanishing.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Ironically for a Four-Element Ensemble, none of them match. Roku is Phlegmatic, Kyoshi Choleric, Kuruk Sanguine and Yangchen Melancholic.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: Goes with the territory.
- Iron Lady: Kyoshi fits it to a T.
- It's All My Fault: Roku regrets not killing Sozin when they fought, as doing so would have prevented the war.
- Ladykiller in Love: Kuruk.
- Lady of War: Kyoshi. So, so much. Arguably, Yangchen as well, from her demeanor. It appears all female Avatars are implied to become these eventually.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Roku is the great-grandfather of Prince Zuko.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Aang's firebending accident with Katara came about as the result of Roku manifesting before Jeong Jeong and strongarming him into training Aang. This may have been because Aang needed a blunt lesson in the dangers of uncontrolled firebending.
- Kyoshi created the Dai Li. We all know how that turned out.
- Then there was that time that she admitted guilt for the crime that almost gets Aang executed.
- One-Man Army
- Person of Mass Destruction
- Physical God: Or Goddess as appropriate.
- Shoot the Dog: Kyoshi and Yangchen are proponents of this when it comes to Aang killing Ozai. Yangchen, the last Airbender Avatar before Aang, was especially supportive of the option, much to Aang's chagrin.
- Spirit Advisor
- Statuesque Stunner: Avatar Kyoshi is a very tall woman.
- She also has very big feet. It's actually a Plot Point in "Avatar Day".
- Tragic Hero: Roku.
- Wizards Live Longer: Avatars normally enjoy an extended lifespan, such as Kyoshi (230). Averted with Roku (70, in a volcanic eruption) and Aang (chronologically 166 but biologically 66).
- Women Are Wiser: Yangchen has the most successful tenure of the four and Kyoshi ended her's without regrets. On the other hand, Kuruk is still making up for his mistakes three generations later and Roku is riddled with guilt.
- However Kyoshi does regret how the Dai Li turned out.
"Aang, I'm not going to let them take you away from me."
Aang's guardian at the Southern Air temple. He frequently tried to keep Aang from working towards his Avatar duties, preferring what was best for Aang over "what was best for the world"; while he was trying to look out for Aang's well-being, this might have made Aang more reluctant to face his destiny.
- Badass Grandpa: The skeleton of a pacifist monk, lying on top of a PILE of fire soldier skeletons. Note that when said pile of skeletons were living and breathing, they were powered up a hundredfold by Sozin's Comet. Airbending is also never shown to have any inherently lethal abilities over the course of the series, so this is impressive indeed.
- Cool Old Guy: In the first flashback he appears in, he uses airbending to pie some stern-looking monks.
- I Just Want Him To Be Normal: Towards Aang. No, it's not like that, he just wants this because he knows that's what Aang wants and thinks that would be better for him.
- Mentor Occupational Hazard
- One-Man Army
- Parental Substitute: Implied
- Posthumous Character
"Who are you calling old? ...Okay, I'm old."
Calling himself a mad genius, Bumi was a childhood friend of Aang. After Aang got frozen in the iceberg, Bumi grew into an old man and became King of the Earth Kingdom city of Omashu. With Aang now free and accepting his quest, Bumi uses his unorthodox teaching methods to train his old friend for the trials ahead. Also a member of the White Lotus.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: He's the king of Omashu and its most powerful bender.
- Badass Beard
- Badass Grandpa: Easily one of the two strongest Earthbenders alive (a duel between him and and Toph ended in a draw) and the only other person in the series that could surpass him was Avatar Kyoshi.
- Most Earthbenders (like most benders in general) need to use complex arm and/or leg movements to bend. Bumi? He can bend with his face.
- Cloudcuckoolander: His actions and words sound crazy and weird but, if you think about it, they actually make sense. See The Wonka.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Invoked as part of his lessons. "I look like a frail old man but I'm actually the most powerful earth bender you'll ever meet."
- Dishing Out Dirt
- It Amused Me: The reason he put together a series of dangerous tests for Aang instead of telling him who he was outright.
"It's pretty fun messing with people!"
- Meaningful Name: in a number of South- and Southeast-Asian languages (for example, Hindi and Indonesian) Bumi - sometimes, Bhumi, is the word for Earth ...rather appropriate no?
- Though a minor case of Did Not Do the Research since it's generally a female name.
- Apparently, Sokka was actually onto something with his "He's an Earthbender, his name must be Rocky!" thing.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: He initially appears to be a half-senile stooped old man, but quickly reveals himself to be the strongest Earthbender in the world.
- And half-senile.
- Offhand Backhand
- Old Master: Over a hundred years old, and still able to back up his boast that he's the greatest Earthbender that Aang will ever see.
- One-Man Army: During the eclipse (which only a mere eight minutes), he took back Omashu and chucked out the Fire Nation (for good) by himself. Even Toph was astounded.
- He apparently was not even aware of the effects the eclipse had on the firebenders too.
- And what about fighting the Powered-up Fire benders in Ba sing Se alongside Iroh and other members of the White Lotus?
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Action variety and apparently a good law maker.
- Sweet Tooth: He loves that rock candy.
- Trickster Mentor: His favored method of teaching.
- Troll: Spends an entire episode dicking around with Aang before revealing himself as a Trickster Mentor. Sure it was to teach him a lesson, but Bumi still enjoyed every second of it.
- The Wonka: He appears to be a crazy old king and Katara mentions that "His crown is a little crooked" but his brand of logic makes sense if you think about it. "You gotta keep your mind open to the possibilities."
Voiced by: Victor Brandt
"You want to learn to fight so bad? Study closely!"
One of the greatest Waterbenders in the world, and well aware of it, Pakku is a Waterbending teacher from the Northern Water Tribe. In his youth, he was engaged to a woman named Kanna. Though he loved Kanna, she was put off by his arrogance and fled to the South Pole. Since then, Pakku has been bitter towards women in general, believing that female Waterbenders should stick with healing. Naturally, he came into conflict with Katara. While Pakku was ten times the bender Katara was at the time, Katara "won" by unknowingly revealing that Kanna was her grandmother. Pakku changed his mind enough to give some Waterbending lessons to Katara and Aang. Also a member of the White Lotus.
- Badass Beard
- Badass Grandpa: One of, if not THE, strongest Waterbenders alive and not afraid to show it off. Also became literal when he married Sokka and Katara's grandmother.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Early-Bird Cameo: He's one of the benders in the opening sequence for the show.
- He's the first of them in addition. This makes him the first character ever seen on the show, despite not actually being a part of the show until near the end of the first season.
- Foil: To Iroh. Both elderly master of their respective art, both have a strong (but ultimately not absolute) commitment to tradition, however, while Iroh forgives Zuko's every misstep, Pakku forces Katara to earn his respect. Iroh's Nice Guy contrasts Pakku's Jerk with a Heart of Gold almost as neatly as fire contrasts water.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He can be quite the Jerkass but is not unwilling to admit he is wrong and change his mind accordingly.
- Making a Splash/An Ice Person
- Noble Bigot/Stay in the Kitchen: Courtesy of Values Dissonance, as much of Northern Water Tribe culture follows the same paths. Kanna and Katara do not approve.
- Straw Misogynist: He refuses to teach the Avatar, who desperately needs the training to save the entire world, because Aang was passing on his lessons to Katara. That is true dedication to sexism.
- It's more like dedication to his tribe's traditions and rituals. He refused to teach Aang on the basis that he and Katara disrespected/disregarded his customs. Which they did.
- Politically Incorrect Hero: See Noble Bigot/Stay in the Kitchen above.
- Sink or Swim Mentor: Pun intended.
Voiced by: Keone Young
"Water brings healing and life. But fire brings only destruction and pain. It forces those of us burdened with its care to walk a razor's edge between humanity and savagery. Eventually, we are torn apart."
Once a legendary general of the Fire Nation and one-time teacher of Zhao, Jeong Jeong eventually realized the horror the Fire Nation had let loose on the world and deserted, becoming the first person in history to do so. Now a hermit living in the woods, Jeong Jeong believes that Firebending is a curse due to its destructive nature. On orders from Avatar Roku, Jeong Jeong gave Aang some rudimentary lessons on Firebending. Also a member of the White Lotus.
- The Atoner
- Badass Beard
- Badass Grandpa: The first guy to abandon the Fire Nation military and live.
- How badass? During the finale under the influence of Sozin's comet he was able to Firebend with enough power to fly. The only one shown to have been able to do that was Ozai, who's at worst the third most powerful person in the world. Even Azula can't truly fly, being just good enough for limited directional control.
- Cursed with Awesome: He's an amazing Firebender, but he constantly mourns having control over the most destructive element.
- Defector From Decadence
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: In an interesting parallel (foreshadowing?) to Zuko, a wanted poster for Jeong Jeong has his picture, presumably of his appearance before deserting, with his scar already present.
- Grumpy Old Man
- Homage: To Apocalypse Now. Jeong Jeong's situation mirrors Colonel Kurtz, and there's even slow boat rides down the river.
- Retired Badass
- Technical Pacifist
Voiced by: Robert Patrick
"The sword is a simple tool, but in the hands of a master it becomes the most versatile of weapons. And just as the imagination is limitless, so too are the possibilities of the sword."
A legendary swordsman/smithy of the Fire Nation, Piandao grew tired of the Fire Nation's ways and went into retirement. He regards swordsmanship as an art, and often paints as a way of honing it. Although he had been approached by many other students and dismissed them, he made an exception for Sokka due to his modesty. Supportive of his student even after learning of Sokka's Water Tribe status, he taught Sokka the way of the sword. Also a member of the White Lotus.
- Badass Beard
- Badass Grandpa
- Badass Normal
- Master Swordsman
- Meaningful Name: Piandao is a type of chinese sword.
- One-Man Army: Word of God says that when he retired from the army, the Fire Nation sent a force of a hundred soldiers to reclaim him. He sent them all back.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Piandao shows a great deal of patience with Sokka's antics during his training.
- Refuge in Audacity: He's a wanted army deserter who lives in a castle in the middle of the Fire Nation.
- Renowned Selective Mentor
- Retired Badass
- Warrior Poet
- Warrior Therapist
- Write Who You Know: Largely based on Sifu Kisu, the series' martial arts consultant.
Voiced by: Tress MacNeille
"We're the last Waterbenders of the Southern Tribe! We have to fight these people whenever we can, wherever they are, with any means necessary!"
A Waterbender from the Southern Water Tribe, Hama was one of many benders who defended her home from the Fire Nation. Eventually imprisoned and kept from all liquids, Hama was left to rot. She eventually realized that water is part of all life, and used this to create a deadly subset of Waterbending: Bloodbending, a dark art of manipulating the bodies of others. After using this to escape, Hama kept to herself in the Fire Nation countryside, and used her powers once a month to torment Fire Nation civilians. But she's not getting younger, so she intends to pass the art of Bloodbending onto the next generation. And no, she doesn't care what Katara has to say about that.
- The Bad Guy Wins: She succeeds in getting Katara to use Bloodbending at the end of "The Puppetmaster." She was arrested immediately after, but she didn't care.
- Being Tortured Makes You Evil
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing
- Blinding Bangs: In a flashback during her time in prison.
- Broken Bird
- Evil Counterpart: To Katara.
- Evil Mentor
- Fallen Heroine
- He Who Fights Monsters
- I Was Quite a Looker
- The Jailer: In vengeance on the Fire Nation for what they did to her, she uses Bloodbending to capture Fire Nation civilians and lock them away.
- Making a Splash/An Ice Person
- Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold: Subverted.
- Never, Ever, Ever, EVER Mess With Granny
- People Puppets/The Power of Blood: Bloodbending.
- Revenge Before Reason
- Stepford Smiler
- Touch of Death
- Wicked Witch: Her powers aren't unusual in the Avaverse, though, it's how she uses them...
Voiced by: Brian George
"I was a spiritual brother of your people, and a personal friend of Monk Gyatso."
One of the oldest people in the Avatar world (even older than Bumi), Pathik has been alive long enough to have known the Air Nomads. Seeking out the Eastern Air Temple after a vision, he patiently waited for the Avatar there. He encountered Appa while the sky bison had been separated from Aang, and used a special technique to locate the Avatar. He also attached a note to Appa's horn, promising that he could teach Aang to master the Avatar State. When Aang came looking to take him up on his offer, he instructed the young Avatar on how to unlock his chakras, pools of energy in the body that must be opened for the Avatar State to function properly. Aang was able to open all but the last one, because the process involved letting go of Katara. The last we see of Pathik is him warning Aang that if he leaves now, he won't be able to enter the Avatar state at all.
- Cool Old Guy
- Hermit Guru: Naturally.
- Lotus Position
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Last seen telling Aang that he needed to open his final chakra as Aang flew off to save Katara from danger. We don't hear about him after that.
- Technically he was last seen as a hallucination with six arms talking about how awesome banana rice pudding was so he is at least mentioned.