(made rebloggable on request by anon)
Oh you do not know what you just got yourself into.
Because they have a far more interesting relationship dynamic, because Aang treated Katara like she was a reward for his hard work as the Avatar, because Zuko needed the kind of emotional support Katara could offer (Crossroads of Destiny, finally seeing Iroh again, fighting Azula), and he understood that she wasn’t just some wholesome, good, wonderful person all the time, that demons need to be fought.
They balanced each other out, fire and water, destruction and healing, they were the obvious, passionate couple that, if Avatar had been the show that Korra tried to be, would have happened. They have a far more interesting development arc, which was beautifully executed over the course of the three seasons, whereas Kataang seemed to jump back and forth between Katara blushing for every five times she acted completely disinterested.
I’m sorry, but the episode before the final big four she was completely unsure, angry that he seemed so insistent that they be together when they’re in the middle of the war and he is a vital instrument in that. Then four episodes later, they’re kissing no questions asked? They’re still in a war, the fire lord is defeated but as we know from The Promise and from goddamn common sense, wars aren’t finished in a day. If Kataang had to happen, I would have at least liked to see some kind of allusion to the fact that it still isn’t the right time.
As it was, it felt awfully like Aang, as the male protagonist who worked so hard and succeeded in his ultimate goal set for the series, was being rewarded with Katara (yay! you saved the world! she’s not plot-conveniently confused about your relationship anymore! have at it, slugger, well done!) and as Katara is my favourite character, seeing her own personal development tossed under the bus for the sake of Aang’s reconciliation kind of pissed me off. And don’t even get me started on the whole Oedipus complex undertone throughout.
I liked that Katara and Zuko were always equals, (“you rise with the moon, I rise with the sun”) they always pushed each other harder, they worked well together and they knew it, they were an unstoppable force (THEY TOOK DOWN AZULA. Say what you want about Ozai, but I honestly think Azula was the tougher battle there) and that is a dynamic I love. It was almost like Bryke were testing Zutara actually worked in the third season, and almost got there before running back to Kataang. Because while Zutara is an obvious romantic relationship dynamic, leaving the protagonist without the ~ girl of his dreams ~ at the end of the series was more adverse from trope.
I don’t dislike Maiko, but I never loved Mai and I don’t think she did much for Zuko’s development as a character. If anything I felt like she represented the decline of all his process after CoD, so it felt strange that they ended up endgame. And I suppose you can argue that she followed him and proved herself worthy, but it always annoyed me that she did what she did not because she knew it was the right thing, but because she loved Zuko. She was on Azula’s side because she was bored and intimidated by her, so that betrayal doesn’t really feel that massive to me. She didn’t suddenly realise that her country, her family, were oppressive dictators and that it was her moral duty to stand up to that (in fact she was still pretty angry at Zuko about the country betrayal thing in tBR) she just realised “oh yeah, I really love my boyfriend”. Which yeah, doesn’t sing songs to me about Mai as a strong character (or about the treatment of female characters tbh), and doesn’t really make me feel like she’s the right person for who Zuko has become.
As for Aaag, as a character, I like him (jesus how could you not he’s fucking adorable) but he’s a twelve year old boy and he makes stupid ass decisions and emotionally, he is not mature enough for a relationship. In fact, before the finale we had already witnessed just how damaging his obsession with Katara was to his process as the Avatar. He almost died because he couldn’t let her go, the world was almost destroyed because he couldn’t get over his crush. He puts Katara on a pedestal, which seems really unhealthy to me, and treats her like the sun shines out of her ass, and is disappointed when it doesn’t. I don’t blame him much for that, because he’s a twelve year old boy. I would expect nothing less, but it bothers me when that is treated like legitimate love and affection. It was always about Aang, and only about Katara when the plot needed it. Katara is one of the strongest characters, and yet she’s treated unsettlingly like an object when it comes to Kataang, which is so frustrating because it’s not that I dislike Aang, I just dislike the way Kataang was executed, because it was so so so so bad, for the same reason Korra was so disappointing; Bryke can’t do major romantic plots.
I could go on, believe me, I could go on, but I won’t. My love of Zutara comes down to the fact that Katara and Zuko were two of my favourite characters, and both of their relationships were stifling for their development, all the while their own relationship blossomed and fed off each other and made them better people for their interaction. They had chemistry which only maybe Suki/Sokka could rival.