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Looking into the Tunnels

August 2007

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anomilygrace in metabender

While we're waiting (impatiently) for the third season...

So I've been thinking about waterbenders a lot recently.  For no particular reason, of course.

And a question has risen to mind that I can't quite push into an explanation that makes sense to me. 

At the beginning of the series, the Southern Water Tribe is almost completely decimated from the war.  They literally only have women and children left at the South Pole and their last warriors (all twenty five of them from the numbers in the S2 finale?) have been sent to help the Earth King.  Their last possible line of defence has been sent to fight more away from the homeland.
 
The Northern Water Tribe, on the other hand, is sitting pretty behind their walls and canals with a huge number of benders and warriors.  Their chief is there, his warleaders are there, their whole civilisation seems to be running almost as normal.
 
So why doesn't the Northern Water Tribe help in the war?  I can see why they might not be able to send help down South with the Fire Navy roaming the seas.  (Though apparently Katara and Sokka's Gran Gran was able to make it safely to the South at some point during the war)  But why hasn't a fleet been sent to fight the Fire Nation with the Earth King?  Or has it and they just have that big a population?
 
I think it can be drawn from canon that the Southern Water Tribe used to look more like the Northern city.  Perhaps not ever as hierarachal, but definitely more than just a few igloos and a retaining wall.
 
And this all leaves me wondering why the Fire Nation's wrath was drawn down on the South Pole so much.  Are they just better fighters?  Did they step out more strongly just after Sozin's comet?
 
And why the heck aren't the Northern Tribes contributing to the war effort!

Comments

I like that very much. That's an excellent point.

It still bugs me that they'd allow their sister tribe to be all but slaughtered, but the idea that it's the element that dictates their response - like it is the element that dictates the movement/martial arts style in bending - does make a lot of sense.

Though it still raises the question of why the Fire Nation attacked the Southern Water Tribes so soon after assaulting the Air Temples. As you said, the Northern Tribes look to be closer. Perhaps the Southern Tribes seemed to pose more of a threat to Sozin.
Maybe the reason the Fire Nation attacked the Southern Water Tribe more was because they fought back. I think both places where much bigger and had more cities originally, but at some point the Nothern tribe decided not to involve themselves in the war anymore, and since the Fire Nation army was probably tied up with the Earth Kingdom they were fine with that. The Southern tribe probably kept fighting, and got their collective asses kicked, hence their poor state now.