Recap from “Avatar:The Last Airbender”. Avatar Roku

Roku was the Fire Nation-born Avatar immediately succeeding Avatar Kyoshi and preceding Avatar Aang. Roku’s memory served as a guiding force for Aang throughout his quest to end the Hundred Years War.

Roku was a wise and merciful Avatar with good intentions, though he himself acknowledged that he was too indecisive during his life. Roku’s long friendship with Fire Lord Sozin resulted in his reluctance to end his friend’s life and thus his imperial ambitions. This ultimately led to Roku’s death, preventing him from stopping a war which would last for one hundred years, something which weighed heavily on him in his afterlife. Aang inherited Roku’s burden of healing the war-torn world, and Roku firmly believed Aang was destined to amend his mistakes.

Early life of Avatar Roku

In his early years, Roku and Prince Sozin were best friends; they seemed to spend a lot of time together, doing activities such as practicing their firebending. They were so close that Sozin was able to immediately recognize Roku’s crush on Ta Min. They also shared the same birthday, which they celebrated together.

At a party celebrating his and Sozin’s sixteenth birthday, Roku was informed by the Fire Sages that he was the Avatar. Before Roku left the Fire Nation to master the other three elements, Sozin came by to talk to him and was informed by Roku that the Sages had told him not to bring anything with him on his travels, as the Avatar required no worldly possessions on his journey. After learning this, Sozin gave him the headpiece worn by the Crown Prince of the Fire Nation, hoping that he was at least allowed to have that. Roku took the headpiece gratefully and wore it for the rest of his life. At some point in his life, Roku adopted a dragon, Fang, as his animal guide and constant companion during his life as the Avatar.

The Avatar Journey of Roku

After learning of his identity as the Avatar, Roku began his journey to train under masters of the other three bending arts. Following the cycle, he needed to learn airbending first, so he traveled to the Southern Air Temple. While there, Roku became good friends with a young monk named Gyatso, who would in his elder years become guardian, mentor, and friend to Aang.

After training for several years, Roku mastered the art of airbending and traveled to the Northern Water Tribe to learn waterbending from a master who lived there. This task was particularly difficult for Roku, as water is the natural opposite of fire. After eventually mastering waterbending, Roku traveled to the Earth Kingdom to learn earthbending, which he also mastered. In addition to mastering earth, Roku formed a great friendship with his teacher, “Sud”.

Mastering the Avatar State

During 55 BG (years before the Air Nomad Genocide), after mastering earthbending, Roku spent five months in retreat at the Fire Temple on Crescent Island, attempting to master the Avatar State under the guidance of Fire Sage Kaja. Growing impatient after failing to master it with meditation, he tried using the winter solstice sun to force himself into the Avatar State. Despite his success, he became trapped under its influence and was unable to control his powers, resulting in the destruction of the upper half of the Fire Temple and the eruption of the nearby volcano. Kaja eventually managed to free Roku from the state by aligning the Avatar’s eyes with the winter solstice sun once more, halting the destruction of the temple.

In payment for his near destruction of the Fire Sages’ temple, Roku rebuilt parts of the temple and carved new underground passages out of the island’s magma. Following the incident, Roku became more patient with his training and completely mastered the Avatar State afterward.

Return to the Fire Nation

After his mastery of the Avatar State, Roku headed home to the Fire Nation, having become a Fully Realized Avatar. He reunited with Sozin, who had since been crowned as Fire Lord, greeting each other with a hug. A few months later, Roku married his childhood sweetheart, Ta Min, and had Sozin take the position of his best man during the ceremony. At the wedding, Sozin asked to speak with Roku in private and informed his close friend that he had thought hard about the state of the world.

He told Roku that he firmly believed the Fire Nation had entered a period of great prosperity, and proposed to Roku that together the pair could spread this wealth to the world by expanding the empire. Roku was horrified by this proposition, telling Sozin that the four nations were to be kept separate, and advised the Fire Lord to never bring the subject forth in future conversations.

Roku eventually settled down and began living out his life with Ta Min, with whom he later had a daughter, Rina.

Seventeen years after Roku’s wedding, he discovered that Sozin had proceeded with his plans and set up colonies within the Earth Kingdom. Infuriated at this act of war, Roku confronted Sozin. Blasting open the doors to the throne room inside the Fire Nation Royal Palace, Roku lambasted his old friend and ordered him to cease his aggressive expansion. Sozin retorted that Roku’s loyalty lay with the Fire Lord and the nation’s progress, deeming him a traitor if he did so otherwise. Once the Avatar declined this, Sozin attacked him. The two engaged in battle, with Roku easily overpowering his formerly close friend and destroying most of the palace in the process. He spared Sozin’s life for the sake of their past friendship and left him hanging high above ground, though not before warning him never to move forward with his plans again, as it would otherwise result in his “permanent end”.

Death of Avatar Roku

Twenty-five years later, Roku’s home island was consumed in a violent volcanic eruption so massive that even Fire Lord Sozin could see and feel it from his palace a hundred miles away. Through the use of his bending abilities and access to the Avatar State, Roku attempted to contain the volcanic destruction, but lost hope when a second eruption occurred. At that moment, however, Sozin arrived on his dragon and offered his assistance to the Avatar. The two used their bending to try to contain the lava flow, but poisonous gases eventually forced them to flee the mountainside. On their way down, Roku warned Sozin to not breathe the gas and used his airbending to protect the Fire Lord, before succumbing to a gas geyser himself. His vision blurring, Roku pleaded for help, but was left to die, as without him, Sozin could realize his plans of conquest. Right before the pyroclastic flow engulfed him, Fang curled up with Roku, and the two died together.

Roku bends Lava

Roku’s great earthbending skill was also demonstrated by his ability to bend lava, which he utilized while battling a volcanic eruption that was destroying his village. He also demonstrated his capabilities when he engulfed his spirit in Aang’s body, in order to save Team Avatar from the Avatar Temple on Crescent Island.

The Legacy of Avatar Roku

Roku’s great earthbending skill was also demonstrated by his ability to bend lava, which he utilized while battling a volcanic eruption that was destroying his village. He also demonstrated his capabilities when he engulfed his spirit in Aang’s body, in order to save Team Avatar from the Avatar Temple on Crescent Island.

Roku was a warm hearted, wise, disciplined and merciful Avatar. In his youth, he was a cheerful young man who wore his heart on his sleeve and easily befriended people around him, including Gyatso, Sud and Sozin. His affectionate nature remained even after his death as he offered his successor, Aang, a warm hug despite Aang damaging his connection to Roku and his other past lives. Roku believed that friendship could transcend a single lifetime and showed immense devotion to his friends and loved ones.

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