Even in high school, I could identify that there was an emphasis on their interaction for a reason. There was areason these two, very complex characters have faced off in the past. My little Sophomore thinking brain was like, “Dude, this is going to come and bite us in the ass later,” because the inevitability that they would meet again, under some grave circumstances no doubt, was actually something I was looking forward to not as a shipper but as a person wanting to know what’s going to happen next.
At this point, with zero interest in shipping (and zero understanding of how Zuko x Katara was even a possibilityever), could I really have been considered a “crazy” Zutarian for thinking that this show might actually throw us a curveball?
I think one of the greatest things about Kataang was its subtlety on Katara’s part, but I also think that was also its greatest weakness. After the kiss in DoBS and the confrontation at the end of WAT, the amount of chemistry (that same spark of chemistry that you saw in CoD, whether you looked at it romantically or not) began to overpower the chemistry shared by Katara and Aang—and not because it was inferior at all. No—it was simply because, in the middle of season three, we were being bombarded with the sheer complexity of these two foes again. The unresolved conflict and dissention between them creates a very visible rift that completely overpowers the Kataang storyline and shoves it to the side as though it didn’t exist until EIP.
Now I’m not that way—this isn’t an argument trying to convince you that Zutara is canon, equal chances, 50/50, etc. No. No. No. No. I think it’s been very clear since the beginning that Bryke had always wanted Kataang to be a thing, and I identify and understand that. That’s not the point of this essay.
The point of this essay is actually to get people to understand how Zutara is not about the sex, or the hot character design, or the entire ideology that opposites attract so they belong together. This has absolutely nothing to do with that. The point of this essay is to allow others a chance to see it from a more rational perspective. Understand that the co-creators have always steered us away from Zutara—have made it clear they don’t like it, and have even gone so far as to say that it would never work because it’s just a dark and intriguing relationship ideal.
Was it because they knew they miscalculated? Not with shipping, not with Kataang at all… But with overpowering one character dynamic with another?
I’m sorry, Bryke, but no. I shouldn’t want one (FANON, guys, FANON) romance over the canon. That was my curveball.
There was no romantic chemistry between them, but the chemistry was there. The character similarities, the complexity, their parallels and their plight—these things define them and define their relationship through the process of redemption and understanding. They stand on equal ground, and have gone through the trials of overt development so that such a thing could last. When you cut it down to the wire and give the audience closure on their journey, is it such a bad thing that they would be cheering for a couple that wasn’t in the initial blueprints?
There is not a single doubt in my mind that if we wanted to say Zutara happened down the line (assuming LOK didn’t exist) it could have. It was not an impossible, dark, scary, sinful route to take, and it’s super irritating that people are still like, “OH IT COULD NEVER HAPPEN BECAUSE THEY WOULD JUST KILL EACH OTHER.”
I’m sorry fandom, but no. You severely misunderstand their companionship if you really honestly think that. And I’m not saying that because I ship Zutara—I’m saying that because I didn’t even start shipping it until we were so late in the game, I didn’t think it was even a possibility at that point.
Yes. Thank you.