[legend of korra spoilers] YES I’M POSTING AGAIN because i want to alienate everyone i love/lose all my friends/die alone in a puddle and the puddle’s my tears and i deserve all of it
anyway, i don’t agree with the consensus that korra’s characterization thus far in the second season is inconsistent with her characterization in the first season or that she’s a brat/a bitch/what-have you. (i discussed the latter issue previously here — i’ll try not to rehash it too much.)
korra is by her nature an active person; she works through her emotional problems by either confronting them head-on or by shoving them down and using, say, pro-bending or something physical to ignore them. this is something i love about her, but it’s also at times a big weakness for her: she ignores things she shouldn’t, she snaps at people, she doesn’t understand her own emotions now and then, because she has such a difficult time expressing herself in ways that aren’t upfront, that aren’t physical. for korra, everything is clear-cut; but everything isn’t clear-cut, so she still struggles with stuff that’s morally, emotionally, or spiritually complicated.
and i think absolutely her situation growing up didn’t create this aspect of her personality, because clearly this is rooted in who korra is, period, but rather exacerbated it: she’s chafed for years under the white lotus’ “protection,” so she takes strong umbrage to anything resembling that same sort of patronizing for-your-own-good isolation. this is why she has such constant problems with tenzin. tenzin approaches teaching korra as he does teaching his children, and he expects korra to respond to him as his children respond to him; but he isn’t korra’s father and she isn’t a child. when he commands her (instead of advising her) or when he withholds information from her, she feels shut down and shut out, which is the same thing people have done to her for eleven years (“for her own good”).
korra’s issue with mako in the first two episodes is directly derived from a similar place: that feeling of being shut out, of being — not communicated with. when she asks for mako’s opinion on the situation re: tenzin vs unalaq, she wants his opinion, so when he says that she should just do whatever and he’ll support her in that, she feels like he isn’t taking her seriously; he isn’t listening to her; he’s not communicating with her. he isn’t shutting her out but that’s how she feels anyway; and yes, it’s irrational, but yo… people are irrational. and this isn’t a ~me making excuses for the writing~ situation. this is a deliberate choice. she’s already confused and frustrated because she’s at odds again with tenzin, because she’s just learned that he and tonraq had her isolated and then lied to her about it (and tenzin was going to leave her there in isolation for however long it took for him and the council to deal with amon, waiting for him to come back to train her), because tenzin and tonraq and unalaq were all telling her what to do and fighting over her, because now, when she does want someone else’s opinion — mako’s opinion — she doesn’t feel like he’s taking her seriously.
so, yeah, when she snaps at mako at the festival, it’s not really mako’s fault. but i like that. it’s one of the reasons why i’m enjoying korra/mako so much more in just these two episodes. they’re awkward and they grate on each other a little and they’re having to work at this steady relationship thing. their problems aren’t because of external forces or ~romantic drama,~ but stuff that’s arising more naturally from their personalities.
korra was locked up for eleven years, told what to do, told to stay put, told to wait for other people to come to her, wait to assume her responsibilities, wait for everything. so yeah, she gets angry when she feels like people are locking her down, shutting her out. she spent eleven years of her life ostensibly training to be the avatar, but only now that she’s out of that compound and the little area around it she was allowed is she actually learning what it means to be the avatar.
and i just… really love her a lot. she’s mad and she’s brash and she’s stubborn and she’s cocky and she’s presumptive and she doesn’t understand her own feelings half the time and sometimes she stomps on other people’s feelings and she loves fiercely and gruffly and she’s struggling to be the avatar, to really be the avatar, and half the time she feels like she’s alone because nobody actually trained her for this, nobody told her what it meant to be the avatar. she’s been trying to prove herself in one way or another for her whole life. sometimes she’s still trying to do that even when she doesn’t have to.
On the other hand, this is another good post to think about.
Because yes, criticisms about the writing/tone/pacing/character arcs are valid. Or the “telling but not showing”.
But not when a main character lead, who is female, tends to just get sexist slurs thrown at her bcs people don’t quite like the writing.
As another poster said: “If Korra was a shounen hero in an action anime, she wouldn’t have this problem”
I don’t feel Korra’s inconsistent in this season at all either, this thing is something she’d do! maybe it’s because a lot of the character arcs that weren’t resolved in Season 1 are still in the air.
And I think a lot of people also feel antsy about children and teens tending to yell at old people in this series, it’s always been a bit headscratchy in ATLA, where in Asian culture (from my background in a general sense) is steeped in respect for elders, that sort of thing is not tolerated. So it feels uncomfortable for those of us in that culture???