Perhaps Avatar‘s most notable quality is its range in audience; both young and old viewers delight in the show. In its short and exceptional three seasons, Avatar gave great pieces of wisdom for everyone to think on. Here are some of the best quotes to prove ATLA is one for the ages.
10 “The Past Can Be A Great Teacher.”
As the avatar, Aang is constantly full of patience and insight. He is connected to past lifetimes of other avatars, and they are able to help guide and teach Aang in his most needed moments.
His quote both alludes to how he is taught from past avatars, but, more importantly, how a person’s past can influence their future. Yet, the past also forms experience, and experience is a key element to wisdom. This is an important lesson for Aang to remember as he prepares for difficult times in the future.
9 “It Is Important To Draw Wisdom From Different Places. If You Take It From Only One Place, It Becomes Rigid And Stale.”
While Uncle Iroh explains to Zuko the foundation of each of the elements, he emphasizes why it’s important to learn from all the elements. Iroh doesn’t want Zuko to only be one-dimensional from the Fire Nation’s teachings. For Zuko to achieve becoming his own person, it’s necessary that he looks beyond his culture to draw authentic wisdom, which viewers proudly see Zuko do later in the series.
8 “The Strength Of Your Heart Makes You Who You Are.”
While taken as prisoner by the Fire Nation, Katara attempts to empower the rest of the imprisoned Earthbenders to revolt and fight back. Although she was initially unsuccessful, this quote from her short monologue stands out as an insightful takeaway.
Viewers understand this lesson well, as Katara, along with Team Avatar, have strong hearts and confidence in their remarkable quest to defeat the Fire Nation. If they didn’t constantly hold on to the hope of victory, they would have never been successful.
7 “Life Happens Wherever You Are, Whether You Make It Or Not.”
In his medley of enlightened quotes, Iroh again gives Zuko a terrific lesson. After fleeing and renouncing their allegiance to the Fire Nation, Iroh and Zuko end up as refugees to Ba Sing Se.
Accustomed to a life of royalty, Zuko complains that he doesn’t want to make a life there as a lower-class citizen. Iroh asserts that they don’t need to make a life anywhere, because life always is happening. His words serve as an inspiration to look on the bright side and make the best of their situation.
6 “But I Know Now That No One Can Give You Your Honor. It’s Something You Earn For Yourself By Choosing To Do What’s Right.”
Zuko’s redemption story is undoubtedly among one of the best in TV and movie history, and this quote is the essence of what Zuko needed to learn before joining Team Avatar. After what-feels-like-a-lifetime of searching for the avatar to restore his honor, Zuko, with the help of Uncle Iroh, realizes he wasn’t doing what made him happy. He wasn’t doing the right thing in his eyes.
So, in the episode “The Western Air Temple,” Zuko swallows his pride and trusts his heart by deciding to help the avatar. He explains to Aang how he was misguided but now knows how to earn his honor, something he’s sought since being embarrassed by his father.
5 “Some Friendships Are So Strong They Can Even Transcend Lifetimes.”
Avatar Roku offers this piece of insight to Aang, as he must learn about some details of the war’s beginning. It mentions the connection that avatars share with their past lives, and this will be a consistent theme in Avatar‘s sequel series The Legend of Korra.
Yet, a lesson Avatar emphasizes is the connectedness that everyone shares, not just the avatars. So, Roku’s words here give a special meaning to friendships and how powerful they are.
4 “It’s Easy To Do Nothing. It’s Hard To Forgive.”
In the heat of Katara’s conflict in accepting her mother’s tragic fate, Aang tells her that forgiveness will heal the wound rather than vengeance. On the other hand, Zuko advises Katara that she should avenge her mother’s death, and, when Aang pleads with her to forgive, Zuko says that forgiveness is the same as doing nothing. Aang corrects him with this quote.
Aang’s words resonate all the more when viewers remember how Aang struggled to forgive Zuko a few episodes prior. He proves that forgiveness is tough because it’s the right thing to do.
3 “Pride Is Not The Opposite Of Shame, But Its Source. True Humility Is The Only Antidote To Shame.”
Zuko has encountered a lot of shame throughout his life, particularly from his father and sister, so Iroh’s advice resonates with his lifelong quest to find the Avatar and restore his honor.
Early in the series, shame drives Zuko’s actions until he actively works towards helping others before himself. If he wants to overcome his shame and defeat, pride and arrogance are not the solution, but humility to others and his situation will give him true freedom and happiness.
2 “I Know Sometimes It Hurts More To Hope And It Hurts More To Care. But You Have To Promise Me That You Won’t Stop Caring.”
Throughout the ATLA series, viewers recognize Katara as Aang’s rock for patience and optimism. After Appa gets taken away, Aang needs Katara like never before, and she offers him some positive words.
What makes Aang so special is how deeply he cares for those around him, and Katara doesn’t want to see him stop. Katara reminds Aang and viewers that apathy won’t lead to success.
1 “You Must Never Give In To Despair. Allow Yourself To Slip Down That Road, And You Surrender To Your Lowest Instincts. In The Darkest Times, Hope Is Something That You Give Yourself. That Is The Meaning Of Inner Strength.”
It’s no surprise that Iroh is a cornerstone for the show’s wisdom, and this is another of his many thought-provoking quotes. Viewers typically see Iroh’s great lessons when he is trying to advise Prince Zuko, and here Iroh explains to Zuko how he must remain hopeful despite all the negative happening to him. If Zuko can give himself hope, he will have true mental strength and conquer all that life throws at him.
NEXT: 10 Ways The World of Avatar Changed Between The Last Airbender & Legend of Korra
10 Ways The World Of Avatar Changed Between The Last Airbender & Legend Of Korra
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