Aang is a young Airbender born to be the “Avatar” A being granted with the gift to control all four elements (Air, Earth, Fire, and Water) in order to have the power to enforce balance between all four nations which are named after the four elements. The Avatar is born on earth as a regular human being so that he/she can go through the same difficulties and challenges as anyone else, allowing him/her to deal justly and with empathy towards the nations for which The Avatar is responsible to care for.
Aang is a carefree happy individual who goes through several intense challenges throughout the show, later on he masters the “Avatar State” and all four elements, Water, Earth, Fire, and Air. This allows Aang to end a century long war and bring peace once again to the four nations.
Aang’s Early Years
Aang was born in the Southern Air Temple, where he found much love and support from fellow Air Benders, his father figure Monk Gyatso, as well as becoming inseparable from his Air Bison which he named Appa. Gyatso helped teach Aang the ways of the world and became one of his closest friends. Unbeknownst to Aang several head Air Bending officials already knew that Aang was the Avatar (a being sent to ensure the balance of the Airbending world). Aang had unconsciously shown signs of being the Avatar by his choice of toys as a baby, and his accelerated learning of Air Bending. In fact Aang had developed several new Air Bending Techniques before the age of 12.
Leaders of the Southern Air Temple were very worried about signs of war brought on by the Fire Nation, the previous Avatar (Avatar Roku) had been killed by Firelord Sozin leaving the world without a full grown Avatar. The current Avatar, Aang was seemingly too young to fulfill his duties as the Avatar and prevent the war from spreading, However in an act of desperation Southern Air Temple Leaders told Aang about his Avatar Status several years before a typical time period. They wanted to put Aang through intense training throughout the world, this training would separate Aang from his lifelong friend (Gyatso).
When Aang was told he would be leaving the Air Temple and leaving behind Gyatso he was understandably terrified. Aang did not feel ready for the great responsibility and decided to run away and hide until things settled down.
Aang In Hiding
Unfortunately for Aang, things did not settle down, and as Aang was fleeing he was spotted by troops in the Firenation Army who gave chase, when Aang was on the verge of being captured by the Firenation he untapped his hidden Avatar Powers and put himself and his Air Bison (appa) into an iceberg which put them in suspended animation, where they neither aged nor were seen for 100 years.
Without the Avatar in the way The Firenation Army set about conquering the Avatar World, completely eradicating The Northern and Southern Airtemples, killing all of it’s inhabitants, literally making Aang “The Last Airbender”. The Firenation also conquered several Earth Nation Cities, Towns, and Villages. Only a few major Earth Nation Cities, and the two remote Water Nation Tribes were left free after the 100 years that Aang was inside of the Iceberg.
The Avatar Revealed
In the Southern Water Tribe, Katara and Sokka were out on a trip just enjoying life (although they were still in constant fear of the Firenation) when Kataras’ attempts at Water Bending un-earthed the Avatar from his suspended state of animation. Sokka was quickly un-trusting of Aang, but Katara tried her best to help him. Aang did not mention he was the Avatar to either of them, but he did mention he was an Airbender which completely surprised Katara and Sokka who knew that all the Airbenders were presumed dead. Aang and Katara became fast friends (Aang becoming quickly attracted to Katara). Sokka on the other hand had a natural distrust of Aang fearing that Aang was a Firenation trap or would in some other way endanger the Southern Water Tribe.
Using Aangs Sky Bison, Katara, Sokka, and Aang went back to the Southern Water Tribe. To Aangs astonishment he learns that he has been in the Iceberg for an entire 100 years! He wasn’t even aware that there was a war going on, which greatly surprised Sokka and Katara. Seeing and hearing these things about Aang, Katara begins to surmise that Aang has to be the Avatar. A conclusion which Aang denies at first.
While Katara and Aang were out enjoying the Arctic they stumbled across an abandoned and destroyed Firenation Navy ship which had attacked the Southern Water Tribe many years previously. While exploring the ship they sprung a trap which alerted Zuko, a banished Firenation Prince, to the location of the Avatar in the Southern Water Tribe. Zuko intermediately sets course for The Southern Water Tribe which prompts Sokka to prepare to try and defend his tribe from Invasion (Sokka being the last remaining water tribe warrior). Sokka blames Aang for bringing the Firenation to the area and orders him to leave, which makes Katara very sad. But Aang agrees to leave and flies away on Appa.
While Aang is flying away he notices Zuko’s ship approaching the virtually un-defended Southern Water Tribe (except for Sokka, His Watchtower, and his “Army” ). Knowing that it was his fault that the Firenation invaded the Southern Watertribe Aang decides to return to help them. Meanwhile Zuko lands in The Southern Watertribe and easily defeats Sokka, instead of conquering the tribe however, he demands to know where the Avatar is. Zuko believes that the Avatar is around 100 years old, so when Aang shows up and identifies himself as the Avatar Zuko doesn’t believe him at first until Aang shows off his Airbending.
Aang eventually turns himself over to Zuko in order to protect The Southern Water Tribe and is locked up in Zuko’s Firenavy Ship. Katara feeling guilty about Aangs capture decides to go after him to try and rescue him. Sokka who is unwilling to watch his sister go off alone, joins her and they fly with Appa after Zukos ship. Aang however was almost able to escape on his own, and with Katara and Sokkas help he is able to escape completely.
While flying away from Zuko, Katara and Sokka decide to help Aang in his quest to master all four elements, become the Avatar, and defeat the Firelord, bringing peace to the Avatar World once again. Thus starting an amazing friendship.
Learning The Elements
In order for Aang to become the Avatar he needed to master all for elements, Air, Water, Earth, and Fire. Aang already had Air Bending mastered, and Katara was in the process of learning Waterbending so it made sense for them to both master Waterbending next, they decided to travel to the much larger Northern Water Tribe in order to find a Water Bending Master to train with.
Flying on Appa they made their way towards the Northern Water Tribe, meeting up with more adventures than there is room to mention here. I’ll only mention a couple of important events on their way to the Northern Water Tribe. Throughout their travels they continually have run-ins with Zuko who is on a mad hunt to capture the Avatar. In one particular episode called The Blue Spirit, Admiral Zhao, Zukos bitter enemy captures Aang and is about to turn him into the Firelord when Zuko changes into his alter ego “The Blue Spirit” and sets Aang free. In another occurrence called “The Water Bending Scrolls” Katara collects some waterbending scrolls from some pirates in order for her to learn Water Bending. Taking the scroll from pirates obviously sets the pirates after them and they have to escape several times.
Eventually they make it to the Northern Water Tribe where Katara and Aang both are able to learn from the Waterbending Master, Paku (although Paku didn’t allow Katara to learn at first due to the fact that she was a girl). Katara and Aang both have to use their new-found Waterbending skills rather quickly as the Fire Nation invade the Northern Water Tribe shortly after they arrive.
During the Fire Nations’ invasion, Aang makes another journey into the Spirit World where he meets Koh The Face Stealer and learns more from Avatar Roku. Aang learns the identity of the Moon Spirits, Push and Pull, Yin and Yang. This is a decisive step for Aang in his quest to becoming the Avatar as he learns more about proper balance in the world. Admiral Zhao in an attempt to destroy the Water Benders powers sets out to destroy the Moon Spirit, not realizing that the Fire Nation relies on the Moon just as much as the water benders do.
Aang with the help of his friends and the Northern Water Tribe is able to successfully protect the Moon Spirit, and prevent the Fire Nation from overthrowing the tribe, this marks the end of his Water Bending Training.
Aang, Katara, and Sokka then set off to find Aang an Earth Bending Master, Their first obvious choice is Bumi the Earth King of Omashu. Bumi was Aangs childhood friend and had already met them on their travels. However when they find Bumi, he is being held captive by the Firenation. They attempt to set him free but much to their surprise he declines their help and tells Aang that he needs to find a different Earth Bending Teacher, one who “Waits and Listens”. Leaving confused , and with a couple of new Firenation People on their tail (Azula, Mai, and Tai Li). Aang and the gang set off to find an Earth Bending teacher.
Making their way to another Earth City, Aang is led to an Earth Bending Dojo, which he quickly learns is not for him, as the Earth Bending teacher is mainly teaching for the money. They are then led to a tournament where top Earth Benders from around the world compete to see who is the best Earth Bender (Earth Rumble). After a series of fights, The Blind Bandit emerges victorious, Aang recognizes The Blind Bandit from a vision he had while in “The Swamp” and realizes that The Blind Bandit is the person meant to be his Earth Bending teacher. Challenging The Blind Bandit in order to get her attention Aang uses his Air Bending to defeat the Blind Bandit, The Blind Bandit senses vibrations in the earth so she can’t see Aang as he flies around.
The Blind Bandit was furious with Aangs victory and walked off in a fit. Aang then set out on the hunt to find her, Aang and crew discover that The Blind Bandit is part of a wealthy Earth Kingdom Family represented by a Flying Boar. Finding the Blind Bandit at her home, they learn that her name is Toph and that no one in her family knows that she is the Blind Bandit, in fact they discover that Toph has been sheltered most of her life by over-protective parents who fail to see Toph’s true potential.
After angry members of the Earth Rumble team capture Aang and Toph believing that Aang and Toph had cheated them, Tophs family pays for Toph’s release leaving Aang in the clutches of the Earth Rumble group, who plan on turning him into the Fire Nation. In a brilliant display of Earth Bending, Toph defeats every member of Earth Rumble single-handedly. Greatly surprising her Father and Earth Bending teacher. Upon returning to Tophs’ home her parents say that they have given her to much freedom, making Toph very angry. When Aang, Katara, and Sokka leave, Toph decides to join them. Permanently becoming Aangs Earthbending teacher.
Aang has a difficult time learning Earth Bending at first, according to Toph he lacks the confidence and strength. Katara draws the analogy that since Water is the opposite of Fire, Earth must be the opposite of Air which is probably why Aang had such a difficult time learning it. Eventually with hard work and alot of tough training from Toph, Aang was able to master Earthbending.
Aang and the Gang, along with several others including Katara and Sokkas Father attempted to stop the Fire Nation on the day of Black Sun, (a solar eclipse) Which rendered the Fire Benders, Fire Bending useless. The Fire Lord however was wise to the attack and was able to hide from The Avatar until his Fire Bending came back. Forcing Aang to once again have the need to use Fire Bending as a way to defeat the Fire Lord and allow him to enter The Avatar State.
Fire Bending was also very difficult, primarily because of the difficulty in locating a Fire Bending Master who did not want to kill him . His first Fire Bending trainer was a deserter from the Fire Nation army, named Jeong Jeong. Jeong Jeong deserted from the Fire Nation Army because he didn’t believe in what his nation was doing (Genocide). Jeong Jeong was a good first teacher for Aang, because Jeong Jeong understood the considerable dangers of Fire Bending, as well as the advantages. Jeong Jeong begin Aang at a snails pace to learn Fire Bending, which caused Aang to be very impatient. Eventually Aang let his impatience get to him which led him to create more fire the he could control, this caused him to injure Katara with his ill-fated first Fire Bending attempts.
Because of Aangs ill-fated early attempts, Aang vowed to never use Fire Bending again, a vow which he would eventually have to break. The opportunity to learn Fire Bending however seemed bleak as his first Fire Bending master was no-where to be found. Eventually events worked out to place Zuko (now converting to the Avatar’s Side) as his next Fire Bending trainer. At first Zuko loses his Fire Bending skills because he has lost his original drive and power for his firebending, (his hatred and hunt for the Avatar). And must find his power elsewhere, along with The Avatar he finds his power from the ancient source of Fire Bending with The Sun Warriors who were the original Fire Benders
With Zukos help Aang was able to master Fire Bending thus completing his training in all 4 elements.
Learning How to Enter the Avatar State
Throughout his adventures Aang could only enter the Avatar State at random or haphazard times, it was rarely by choice. In order to have a better chance against the Fire Lord Aang attempted to control his entering into the Avatar State. Fortunately Aang was contacted by a Guru who helped him open his “Chakras” in order to fully enter the Avatar State. Aang was able to open every single Chakra except for one. The Chakra that upon releasing would force him to leave Katara and “Let her Go”.
While Aang was attempting to release his last Chakra he became aware of Katara in danger and left the Guru, which according to the Guru blocked his ability to ever enter the Avatar State again.
Confronting The Firelord
Now that Aang had mastered all 4 elements he was ready to confront the Fire Lord on his own. Much to Aangs dismay he learned that the Fire Lord was planning on wiping out the entire Earth Kingdom of Ba Sing Se, killing thousands of people. Which forces Aang to confront the Fire Lord during Sozins Comet, a time when Fire Benders are the most powerful, that happens only once every 100 years. Another problem confronting Aang is that Aang has no desire to kill anyone, even the Fire Lord. To Aang all life is sacred and should be treated with respect, up to this point Aang had only resorted to violence as self defense, as well as only using the non-lethal force necessary to defend himself and his friends. Facing a terrible moral dilemma of not wanting to kill the Fire Lord but needing to stop him at any cost, Aang feels drawn to an island in the sea. An island which turns out to be a wise Lion Turtle which teaches Aang a way to defeat the Fire Lord without killing him.
Regardless Aang has to stop the Fire Lord (now self-named The Phoenix King) from killing so many people. So with the help of The White Lotus, Aang and the rest of the crew separate leaving Aang to confront the Fire Lord alone. During a tremendous battle, Aang is able to unlock his last chakra and enter into The Avatar State at will. This allows him to defeat Fire Lord Ozai and take away his Bending Powers.
Beginning a Period of Peace
Defeating the Fire Lord brought an era of peace to the world, Zuko as suggested by Uncle Iroh became the new Fire Lord, while Aang was able to fully fulfill his role as The Avatar. The group was able to come together one last time to celebrate the difficult and long-awaited victory.