Sokka is one of the most beloved characters in Nickelodeon's animated television series Avatar: The Last Airbender. He may not have been the main focus of the series, but he always compelled fans to pay attention to him. His family history, his love life, his razor-sharp wit and sarcasm, and the fact that he's the only member of Team Avatar without bending abilities, all make Sokka stand out. In a world where he's surrounded by powerful benders who are able to telekinetically control the elements of water, earth, fire, and air, Sokka manages to hold his own, be a relatable character for audiences to connect with and makes being a Southern Water Tribe warrior look cool in the process.
The carnivorous wise-cracking hero, who once described himself as the "meat and sarcasm guy," might seem like a simple comic relief character at first. But there's a bit more to him than that. In fact, Sokka goes through one of the most developed character arcs in the series.
Avatar: The Last Airbender aired on Nickelodeon from 2005 to 2008, attracting praise from critics and fans and creating a fan base that endures to this day. It was popular enough to get a sequel, The Legend of Korra, which aired from 2012 to 2014. Both were ostensibly aimed at kids aged eight and up, but Avatar proved to be pretty sophisticated for a kid's show. Part of the appeal of that is developed characters like Sokka. Without Sokka, it's likely the group wouldn't have succeeded in many of their adventures. He was the one who provided a voice of reason, discovered a crucial weakness in the Fire Nation, and made sure the group never ran out of food or coin.
Here are 25 shocking things you didn't know about Sokka, a worthy and sadly often overlooked member of Team Avatar.
25 There From The Very Beginning
Sokka, along with Katara, was the very first character created for Avatar: The Last Airbender. Sokka and Katara were conceived at exactly the same time. Series co-creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko said they loved the concept of a brother and sister with very different personalities, where the girl was a talented bender and the boy wasn’t. Sokka and Katara were born and debuted in the pilot episode, "The Boy in the Iceberg."
Aside from the series' famous opening narration by Katara (of "everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked" fame), Sokka is the first character to speak in Avatar. While he and his sister are out fishing in a small canoe, Sokka prepares to spear a fish and exclaims, "It's not getting away from me this time!"
24 Changes For The Better
Originally, Sokka was supposed to be a serious character instead of the comedic and fun-loving character we all know. He was also supposed to be a relatively minor character in the show. That all changed when his voice actor, Jack DeSena, brought his own twist to the role. DeSena was a comedian himself, having previously joined the cast of Nickelodeon's All That in its seventh season, and he brought a liveliness and energy to Sokka's character. With his voice actor's input, the creators began to emphasize the wise-cracking and sarcastic side of Sokka.
As a result of this change, Sokka is a consistent source of comic relief in the show, often taking the form of visual comedy. The character has many running gags in Avatar, including sarcastic quips, bad puns, immersion in substances such as slurry, raw sewage, or saliva, laughing at bad jokes other characters don't laugh at, and of course, his time-honored forgetting that Toph is blind.
23 White Lotus Inductee
Perhaps the most shocking and obscure fact about Sokka is that he was invited to join the ancient "society of secrets" known as the Order of the White Lotus. The Order is a low-key presence throughout the series, but plays a very important part in the end of the Hundred Year War. Notably, uncle Iroh was a Grand Master and a Grand Lotus of the group, and often remarked that Pai Sho was "more than just a game." The White Lotus is known for its rejection of the traditional hatreds between the four nations.
Sokka's teacher Piandao was also a member of the Order, and he offered Sokka his white lotus Pai Sho tile as a parting gift. This was a highly symbolic act. The tile is the secret symbol for the group, and no doubt it was symbolic of Piandao's membership in the Order. It's very likely that Piandao was inviting his student to join.
22 In A Way, He Saved the World
Though during his character arc he becomes far more serious, focused, and ambitious (while still keeping his trademark sense of humor), Sokka is introduced as an abrasive and immature character at first. This is shown in the opening scene of the series, where he taunts Katara by saying it could be "[left] to a girl to screw things up." While this scene probably didn't immediately endear him to viewers, what’s crazy is that Sokka inadvertently saved humanity in this scene.
Think about it, if Katara had never flipped out at Sokka for antagonizing her, she never would have shattered the ice. Aang would still be trapped in an iceberg, the world would still not have an Avatar, and Fire Lord Ozai would have succeeded in his plan to use Sozin's Comet to burn the Earth Kingdom to the ground, thus ensuring the Fire Nation total supremacy in the world. So, thank you Sokka, for being such a pest.
21 He's Just A Guy With A Boomerang
In the series, Sokka is a warrior of the Southern Water Tribe that stands out from the rest of Team Avatar in that he's the only one of the team not to be a bender. As he puts it, he's just “a guy with a boomerang.” Of course, that eventually turns into a guy with a sword, but in a world where some of the population are able to telekinetically manipulate, or "bend" the elements, Sokka is our primary representation of "normal" people who are unable to use bending powers.
His role as the "ordinary" one on a team of people who can bend one of the four elements, as well as one being the legendary Avatar who can bend all four, gives him a unique story arc that is more relatable to the average person. Because he lacks powers it's especially harrowing to see him willingly put himself in mortal danger to help defeat the militaristic Fire Nation and bring peace to the war-torn nations.
20 He Wanted To Handle Ozai Differently
Towards the end of the series, Aang has to deal with the psychological burden of reconciling his pacifistic ideals with his mission to kill Fire Lord Ozai to bring peace to the world. As fans know, Aang actually spares Ozai's life at the end of their long-awaited battle, choosing to take away his firebending abilities permanently instead. While some may applaud Aang's nobility, for Sokka, whose mother was killed in a raid by the Fire Nation when he was young, there was no question about putting an end to the Fire Lord.
In the episode "Sozin's Comet, Part 1: The Phoenix King," Sokka makes a dummy named the "Melon Lord" for the group to practice their strategy to take down Ozai. During this training exercise, Aang is unable to even deliver the finishing blow to the dummy representing the Fire Lord, saying it "did not feel right" because of his peaceful nature. Sokka, in one his best moments, immediately decapitates the dummy with his sword with no hesitation to show Aang how it's done. Way to go, Sokka!
19 Golden Raspberry
Night Shyamalan’s noble but ill-fated attempt to make a movie out of Avatar was controversial, to say the least. Some seriously bad decisions were made, including the one to cast white actors in the roles of Katara, Sokka, and Aang, none of which are "white" in the traditional sense. Aang is thought to be of Asian descent and Airbenders have references to Buddhism and ancient Chinese culture, while Katara and Sokka have brown skin in the series and are based on Inuit culture.
Nothing was left untainted for serious Avatar fans, including their beloved Sokka. The Last Airbender movie apparently forgot that not only does Sokka have dark skin, but he's supposed to be funny. In the film, this aspect of his personality has all but disappeared. His portrayal by Jackson Rathbone earned the unfortunate actor the Golden Raspberry award for "Worst Supporting Actor" of 2010.
18 Qualities Of A Leader
It's no secret the majority of the comical moments in the show come from Sokka. Yet, being the "funny guy" is far from his only role. While you would think a show titled Avatar: The Last Airbender would have Aang as the leader of the group, Sokka often takes a leadership role. Examples of his filling that role are many, including formulating plans, communicating them to the group, and carrying them out.
In the episode "Jet," it's Sokka who puts his hatred of the Fire Nation aside to save the innocent villagers of Gaipan from being drowned by Jet's crew. In "The Library," he's the one who obtains the parchment informing the team of the Day of the Black Sun, and even knocked out the terrifying owl-like Knowledge Spirit. In "The Boiling Rock," Sokka was essential in helping Zuko and the others infiltrate the notorious Boiling Rock prison to liberate Suki and Hakoda. Oh, and one more thing: Sokka was the one who came up with the name "Team Avatar."
17 A Ladies Man
While the romantic relationship between Aang and Katara takes center stage within the series, Sokka has the most dynamic love life of any character. For starters, Sokka has kissed more characters than any other, having been kissed three times in Book One: Water (the first season) alone. He gets kissed two more times in Book Two: Earth, at least three more times in Book Three: Fire and at least once in The Promise trilogy of graphic novels, for a total of nine kisses at least.
He also has two notable love interests in the series, those being Princess Yue of the Northern Water Tribe, and to a greater extent, Suki of the Kyoshi Warriors. In the graphic novels he also briefly dated Kaya, a girl from an Earth Kingdom village, though this was quickly ended when she found out he wasn't the Avatar. Finally, Ty Lee took a clear liking to Sokka despite their first meeting as enemies, mentioning he was "kind of cute."
16 Bit Of A Lunatic
Sokka is such a ladies' man that at one point he actually dated the moon. Interestingly, both of his confirmed romantic partners have names that mean "moon" in different languages: "Yue" and "Suki" (an anglicized version of "Tsuki") both refer to the moon in Chinese and Japanese, respectively. With Princess Yue, their relationship was forbidden since it's understood that Yue was already supposed to be married to another man, having reached marrying age by the Northern Water Tribe's traditions. But the two couldn't hide their mutual attraction, which made the season finale where Yue had to sacrifice her life in order to become the Moon Spirit, who was killed by Admiral Zhao, even more tragic.
Though Sokka would be deeply traumatized by this (as the series would refer to several times), his relationship with Suki was given more screen time and character development. The pair met in one of the earliest episodes, and Suki was single-handedly responsible for undermining Sokka's early streak.
15 He Even Got A Statue
As it turns out, Sokka did just fine after the conclusion of the main story of Avatar: The Last Airbender. By the age of forty-three, he served as the representative of the Southern Water Tribe on the United Republic Council, and eventually even the Chairman of the Council. It was he, along with the rest of the Council. who sentenced the crime lord Yakone to life in prison for his crimes.
In 124 A.G., Sokka wrote a story detailing how he "single-handedly saved the world" during the Hundred Year War and submitted it to be compiled in a book Aang was writing for his son, Tenzin. He also advised him not to rely on bending alone when cunning, reflexes, and strategy were just as important. Sokka eventually became the Southern Water Tribe's chieftain and helped save the young Korra from being kidnapped by the Red Lotus. Sokka left such a legacy behind that there's even a statue of him holding his trademark boomerang in the Southern Water Tribe Cultural Center.
14 Who'd He Pick?
The question of whether Sokka ever married or had any children is one of the most enduring mysteries of the Avatar series. So far, nothing about whether he had a family has been mentioned in the official canon, but that hasn't stopped fans from speculating. The two most likely candidates are Toph and Suki, but the series, the graphic novels, and The Legend of Korra haven’t confirmed who, if anybody, Sokka ended up marrying. It remains a hotly contested topic among the fanbase, particularly among "Tokka" shippers.
The fact that Toph's daughters Lin and Suyin's respective fathers have not been identified (even to them), has led some to some fans theorizing one of them is Sokka. But though Sokka was Toph's first crush, the series has never shown Sokka being interested in her romantically.
13 Skepticism Is Healthy
Sokka is shown to have a protective, skeptical, and somewhat distrustful nature early in Avatar. When first meeting Aang, Sokka theorized the boy could have been a member of the Fire Nation who used the beam of light to signal their location to Zuko on purpose. Even after Aang brought them home on Appa, Sokka remained irritated with Aang's childishness, stating that this was no time for play with a war going on. Later in the series when Team Avatar met Jet, Sokka was the only one who remained suspicious of his intentions and tried to convince Katara and Aang of his true nature (he, of course, turned out to be right). He was also the first one to be skeptical of the fortunetelling of Aunt Wu and the effectiveness of the Painted Lady.
This suspicious streak would save the lives of Sokka and his friends multiple times. Despite whatever flaws he may have, Sokka is brave, brotherly, protective, and caring toward his sister and his friends.
12 Sokka The Untrusting
Sokka, like many non-benders in the Avatar world, experienced first-hand the suffering that came from those capable of bending and abusing it to obtain power and wealth and commit atrocities. The series implies that for a long time after their mother's death, the only bender he trusted was Katara. He was especially distrustful of firebenders, since they were the ones who killed his mother and caused him to be separated from his father. Even his early interactions with Aang were colored by suspicion and distrust.
Of course, this mentality began to change through Sokka's time traveling with his friends. In fact, there were moments when Sokka felt he was useless to the team because of his lack of bending abilities. The most notable occurrence of this is in the episode "Sokka's Master," where he isn't able to assist in extinguishing a forest fire.
Unlike his companions, Sokka doesn't have the ability to use the bending arts. But as the show progresses, he masters another of the martial arts: swordplay. In the episode "Sokka's Master," Sokka finds Master Piandao, a swordmaster from the Fire Nation famous for technique involving creativity and lateral thinking, to be his instructor. In order to further his skills as a warrior, Sokka forges his own sword out of a meteorite that fell earlier in the episode. Under Piandao's guidance, Sokka undergoes training and displays several unorthodox moves with his new weapon of choice.
While Piandao notes that Sokka's skills were unimpressive, he displayed several key traits such as creativity, versatility, and intelligence. What's interesting is all of those traits are part of his role as comic relief, but they also turn out to be Sokka's greatest strengths in battle. Sokka's mastery of the sword reaffirms for Team Avatar how important he is to their group.
10 Raised As A Warrior
People who underestimate Sokka's abilities in battle do so at their peril. The "meat and sarcasm guy" can get deadly serious when he puts his mind to it. Born in the South Pole in 84 A.G. to Chief Hakoda and Kya of the Southern Water Tribe, Sokka was raised from a young age to be a warrior and a hunter. He possesses extensive knowledge of weapons and tactics, as shown when he refers to driving a Water Tribe vessel and his knowledge of Fire Nation armor and weapons.
He trained the children of his village to act as his watchers and soldier and even built a series of snow watchtowers. His failure to best Zuko in the first episodes is played up for laughs, but let's remember that Zuko was a highly-trained royal from a militarist nation. In contrast, while Sokka had the heart of a warrior and consistently showed courage in battle, he at first lacked the skills to make him a formidable fighter.
9 His Flaws Made Sense
Calling Sokka "immature" because of his sense of humor misses the point. In fact, he has perhaps the most sensible character development of the entire cast. Before he joins Team Avatar, Sokka had an overinflated ego, was skeptical of bending, and had a chauvinist opinion toward women. But let's remember that's because he spent years as the oldest male in the tribe where men did all the hunting and fighting, he lost his mother to firebenders, and he relied on his younger sister, Katara, for the "motherly" activities such as cooking, laundry, and other menial tasks. In this way, his flaws make sense.
Out of all the members of Team Avatar, Sokka was the quickest to learn from his mistakes. He gained respect for the bending arts through his friendship with Aang, learned respect for women through his relationship with Suki, and learned that not all firebenders were cruel monsters through his friendship with Zuko.
8 Keen Scientific Mind
Sokka is unique among Team Avatar for being the least spiritual of the group and having the least use for metaphysical and religious matters. He treats things like psychic powers, fortunetelling, and to some extent bending, with skepticism. In the episode "The Fortuneteller," his skepticism regarding fortunetelling saved an entire village from being wiped out by an erupting volcano, while the oblivious villagers were content to rely on the predictions of Aunt Wu, the cloud-reading fortuneteller.
Though he had a lack of interest for otherworldly matters, he did possess a keen mind for science and technology, as shown in the episode "The Northern Air Temple," where he meets the Mechanist. While Aang treats his mechanization of the Temple as desecrating an ancient culture, Sokka is impressed and fascinated with his inventions, which shows their different worldviews.
7 Meat, Tracking, And Hunting
Sokka is shown to be observant and possess keen tracking skills, which makes sense given he was raised in a tribe that valued hunting as a skill among the males. His earliest appearance involves him fishing with a bone spear. He is a passionate advocate of eating meat, being the most openly carnivorous of the group. Sokka has demonstrated his love of meat on multiple occasions, in contrast to the vegetarian Aang.
Sokka's tracking skills served him well in battle. In the first season, as Admiral Zhao is about to launch his attack on the Northern Water Tribe, Sokka and Princess Yue left for a ride on Appa (and nearly kissed). During this expedition, Sokka noticed that soot began to fall, and he recognized it from when his tribe was attacked. Due to the amount, he also realized it was a massive Fire Nation fleet. The Northern Water Tribe was able to prepare itself for the attack because of his warning.
6 The Steamiest Puns
The episode "The Southern Raiders" has become (in)famous among fans for what is hands-down one of the boldest innuendos in the series. Zuko is on his way to Sokka's tent to ask why Katara hates him, and on the way he bumps into a very flustered Suki. When Zuko asks if she was going to see Sokka too, she hurriedly excuses herself. When Zuko walks into Sokka's tent, he finds him without pants and surrounded by flowers and candles, with a rose between his teeth. Sokka even greets him with a suggestive "Well, hellooo...." before he realizes who he is. After the two talk, Sokka rushes Zuko out, remarking that he thought he'd never leave, and calls for Suki.
But wait, there's more. The next morning, Sokka is seen to be smiling and wearing a necklace of flowers. The writers of Avatar themselves have admitted this was a pun on Sokka getting "lei'd" and Suki getting "deflowered." Seriously, they got away with this on Nickelodeon.
5 Sokka The Weapon Master
Sokka has used a wide variety of melee weapons during his journeys with Team Avatar. In fact, because the others mostly rely on bending, he has used more weapons than anyone else in the series. Some, like his trusty boomerang and his sword, were used frequently, while others only on specific occasions. Sokka is first seen wielding a traditional whale tooth spear, which he used for fishing and (unsuccessfully) attacking Zuko. His most frequently used weapon was the boomerang given to him by his father before he left to fight in the Hundred Year War.
Another of Sokka's favorite weapons was a club carved from a polar bear femur with blue paint designs on each side. While training with Piando, Sokka used a distinctive black sword carved from a meteorite. He also had a dagger made from the jawbone of a large Arctic wolf, which he kept in a small pouch on the back of his belt. A few times he was also seen wielding a machete, though rarely in combat.
4 The Marathon Man
As one of the most relatable characters whose humor puts the audience at ease, Sokka gets a lot of screen time. Not only is he in the first scene of the first episode and the first non-narration character to speak, but he's also in almost every single episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender. In fact, he is seen or mentioned in every episode of the original series except for "Zuko Alone," which itself is the first (and only) episode of the series where Team Avatar does not appear at all.
That episode is also the only one in the entire franchise (The Legend of Korra included) in which the Avatar does not appear. So basically, Sokka is an indispensable to the group as the Avatar himself. In addition, the character of Sokka has appeared in three Avatar video games developed by THQ: Avatar: The Last Airbender, Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Burning Earth, and Avatar: The Last Airbender - Into the Inferno. He also appears on the Avatar t-shirts sold by Nickelodeon, and Tokyopop's cine-manga.
3 An Artist At Heart
He may not seem the type, but Sokka has an artistic side. He showed a remarkable talent for poetry in "Tales of Ba Sing Se," where he stumbles into a poetry reading. He manages to hold his own at length against a local instructor in a haiku contest and nearly won. Ultimately though, his pride got the better of him, and he was thrown out for mistakenly adding an extra syllable to the end of his haiku. After this incident, he renounced his short-lived love for poetry.
Sokka was also shown to be something of an artist, though he was a rather terrible one. This was often played for laughs since he seemed in denial or strangely unaware of his lack of drawing talent. Still, there's something to be said for sticking to it, and for better or worse he always defended his artwork from the laughter of his peers.
2 Flip Of A Switch
Sokka has been shown to be ambidextrous to some extent. On multiple occasions he is shown using both his left and his right hand for different tasks, and even shown switching hands at times. He writes with his right hand, but draws with his left hand. Though his left-hand art was shown to be drawn rather poorly, this may also be taken as a sign of his limited drawing talent. He is also shown using both hands in combat, and notably ate with his left hand. He was seen painting with both his left and right hand at various times.
In early concept art for Avatar, he was depicted as primarily using his left hand to toss his boomerang, which may indicate this trait was considered part of the character early on. Sokka is the only one shown throughout the series as using both hands for various purposes. As far as we know he remains the only ambidextrous character on Avatar.
1 What's In A Name?
Names in the world of Avatar typically have a symbolic meaning in different languages that gives a hint to the personality of the character. In Sokka's case, his name is multi-layered. His name is derived from the Japanese phrase, "Sou ka," which can be translated into, "I understand." This could possibly be a reference to Sokka's scientific awareness. However, it can also be translated as, "Is that so?" which seems to fit the character's wise-cracking nature.
Even better, "Sokka" in the Zulu language translates into "lover boy." The name certainly fits him, seeing as how he is ever popular with the ladies. In "Tales of Ba Sing Se," Sokka's name is written as 索卡, where the first character means "search" or "inquire," and the second means "block." Debates abound as to which of these meanings were intentional. It's also possible his name derives from the Indian name Ashoka, which means "without sorrow."