Katara is one of Avatar: The Last Airbender's main protagonists. Technically the very first member of Team Avatar, she served as the groups level-head until they'd finally completed their goal of stopping Fire Lord Ozai. The Waterbender is probably most well known for her iconic hair loopies, her mastery of water bending, and generally being the group's moral compass.
Katara isn't all sunshine, rainbows, and philanthropy, though. Several times throughout the series she proves that she has a much darker side to her. She tends to lose her temper often when things aren't going her way or she feels like she's being treated unfairly. Also, as it turns out, Waterbending is surprisingly the most brutal out of all the elements with some of the most violent techniques.
I'm not only talking about blood bending here either.
In addition, once you start looking at the company she keeps and how many people she knows who'd be willing to die for her, you start to notice a pattern.
Katara is really, really, hardcore.
This article seeks to demystify a few of the darker secrets she hides as well as bring to light how even some of her more... conventional techniques could actually be rooted in things much more sinister than expected.
Perhaps we'll end up seeing Katara one day even be a villain, it's unlikely, but once you read this article you might start wondering what could happen if one day she might suddenly snap.
25 Be The Wave
Firstly, we're going to get the obvious stuff out of the way, to give context to what comes later and how it all ties together to paint a darker picture.
Katara is a water bending master, it's mentioned throughout the series that she may just, in fact, be the best there is. Having trained not just one but two avatars (one of which when she was a child herself), she definitely has the resume for it.
That being said, Waterbending itself is far more insidious than the other elements. While the other elements perhaps have a more... a direct way of dealing with things, the whole principle of Waterbending is to undermine your opponent and steal their strength.
By countering their every move you drive them into a corner.
24 Bigger Man
Mercy isn't always the right thing. Sometimes upon defeating an enemy, it's actually more of a punishment to let them live. In Azula's case, after Katara defeated her, it definitely would have just been a kindness to kill her. Instead, she let the Fire Princess suffer in insanity.
Another example is when she tracked down her mothers killer. Having him at ice point, Katara could have ended him with an errant thought. Instead, though, the miserable wretch begged for his life, offering to let Katara kill his own mother instead.
With a grown man pleading and begging for mercy, Katara dropped her attack. She stated that this wasn't out of forgiveness though, only that letting him live his cowardly life was the greater punishment.
23 65% Water
Oh boy, Blood Bending. I could write a full article just on how stupid this ability is. While it was acceptable in Avatar: The Last Airbender, the whole first season's plot of The Legend of Korra was awful because of it.
I shouldn't really need to explain how Blood Bending is super dark and the fact that Katara actually knows how to do it is pretty messed up. So instead. let's talk about its applications. Using her dark talents, Katara can cause someone to be in immense pain while she controls their body to do whatever she wants. There is no counter to this.
Katara decides you want to kill your buddy, boom, dead friend. Unlike with Lightning bending, you can't redirect it and you can't resist it.
22 Daddy’s Girl
It's been discussed that Sokka would be willing to wreck some serious crap up for his sister, but what about their parents? We've already seen her mother die to keep her hidden and we know Hakoda is a very devoted (albeit absentee) father.
Katara does love her family, but she's shown how much she's willing to sacrifice to get the job done before. Where does her father fall on that line of checks and balances? Before Sokka, or after him?
She was willing to leave him to be captured again and although he was the one urging it, what if the tables were ever turned? She's capable of making the choice to abandon a family member in order to save her own skin, we think.
21 Smarty Pants
We'll get more into how Katara's Waterbending technique is in itself shockingly dark in nature later. For now, the next thing you need to understand is how intelligent she is. Though she doesn't compare to Sokka's outside the box thinking (that has lead to some insane and yet successful strategies), Katara shouldn't be underestimated for her problem-solving capabilities.
Far more patient than Sokka, Katara might not be able to plan as quickly and under as much pressure but she is a master at coldly out-calculating an opponent in advance. When chasing down her mothers killer she prepared meticulously, knowing exactly when and where to attack him, causing him to slowly run out of escape routes until he had nowhere left to go.
20 Seriously, It’s Everywhere
The body may be 65% water, which allows Blood Bending, but to be honest, there are so many better applications of water bending. For instance, water is literally everywhere. Pulling all the moisture from the air and causing the oxygen (everywhere but around your head) impossible to breathe is one scenario. Sweat bending, while a gross possibility, is also an option, plus as we've seen water benders can change the temperature of the water they're using so why not just freeze all that water in someone's body.
None of the other disciplines have these many applications of just straight horrible instant death. The eyes have a lot of water in 'em, how about you just blow those up? Heck, why not use your own blood as a weapon?
19 The Right Thing
It's been said that Katara will try to do the right thing no matter the cost, but have you noticed it's always what she deems to be right? The group has several times tried to dissuade her from certain actions, only to have her play judge, jury, and executioner.
Seriously, she's almost as driven as Judge Dredd, it's kind of scary to think that if your moral compass doesn't point the same direction as hers that she's willing to ignore everything you say and quite possibly kick your behind in the process.
This isn't exactly what I'd want in a teammate, we should be working together to accomplish mutual goals instead of just playing the "what has Katara decided is evil" game.
18 Motherly Love
With a family of her own, you'd think her attitude would change a bit, but it's not so. Her children and grandchildren seem to be totally expendable to her.
This is shown during the fact that throughout the whole series of Legend of Korra, she does absolutely nothing. Her family is attacked, beaten, kidnapped, and at one point, one loses her spirit entirely. Katara still takes no action aside from passively healing, despite the fact that she's still an extremely capable fighter.
You can't use her age to defend her as both Toph and Zuko show up to fight, as well as later on Toph says the reason she didn't get involved was to leave things to the younger generation.
What kind of thinking is that?! Your generation started the rift between benders and non-benders as well as nearly every problem in the show!
17 Only Ship
Did we mention she's married to the Avatar?
While Aang may struggle with killing because he's morally opposed to it, and we have to admit not even Katara is likely to change that, he's not above delivering a beatdown or taking away your bending ability when the situation calls for it.
Katara is one of the people who could call for it if she wanted, sicking the avatar himself upon you should you misstep in her good graces.
It's not hard to imagine Aang taking some initiative on this one too, God save anyone who sends her home crying as we know he never fully could handle his emotions when it comes to her.
16 That’s Rough Buddy
Let's come to another example of how Water bending is stupidly strong, the Moon. It's stated in the show that the moon is the source of all Water bender's powers and during a full moon, they become incredibly strong, something that no other nation or tribe can claim.
Sure there's that comet for the Fire benders... once every hundred years or so, which is offset by the Fire benders becoming useless anytime there's a solar eclipse. The Water benders don't even have the weakness of losing their bending monthly during a New Moon.
They literally have all the advantages while not having any of the weaknesses, this means that once a month Katara can just go full-power on someone's unsuspecting head.
15 Feel The Flow
So with her mastery of Waterbending and her capabilities to fully out-plan an opponent, Katara can work to slowly whittle and chip away at her foes endurance, sapping their strength as surely as the passage of time. Every punch you throw at her becomes a frustrating miss until she finally decides to move in for the final blow.
Much like a cat playing with a mouse, she'll constantly let you get as close to her as she wants before slipping you aside, flowing with your motions until they begin becoming her own. She'll get inside your head and drive you insane until you're battered, bruised, and unable to fight any longer, and only then will she finally put you out of your misery.
14 Not Far Enough
With her sapping your strength in close range combat, you might think it's better to sit back from a long distance and hurl some fireballs or giant boulders at her. Frustratingly though, she keeps putting up these thick ice walls or quick streams of water that just prevent your attacks from connecting.
Growing angry you'll probably start focusing more and more on offense; bigger fires, heavier boulders as the red mist descends over your eyes.
Only to be blown away when you find an icicle the size of your arm embedded in your chest. Congratulations, you've just discovered the most brutal skill in a Waterbender's arsenal. Long distance impalement. Those ice walls she's been creating can become machine guns in a heartbeat.
13 Brotherly Love
Enough about her own skills, for now, we'll come back to them later, let's now visit her brother's.
While they've fought from time to time, Katara and Sokka have proven that there's no pair of siblings closer than they. They refuse to be separated again after all they've been through and Sokka is more than willing to royally mess up anyone who screws with his sister.
Considering she's his moral compass too, all it'd take is a word from her for the warrior to go berserk on whoever made the poor decision of testing her on a bad day. She's also proven to be able to trick him on a few occasions, at least until his hot head finally cools off.
12 Don’t Back Down
If you try to butt heads with Katara, you're going to come out with a headache and then she's going to wind up doing whatever she wanted anyway.
Although it's more of an Earthbender quality, Katara possesses an extremely stubborn streak, especially when something is trying to compromise what she believes is right.
Take her time in the North Pole for example. So fed up with her treatment by master Pakku, she eventually loses it and straight up attacks him. Although she doesn't win the fight she holds her own extremely well. This whole fight began as well due to her refusal to apologize to the old coot.
In the end, Pakku winds up teaching Katara anyways, which could have saved a lot of time if he'd just done things her way from the start.
11 Do It Myself
Should the unthinkable happen and her brute force method of forcing others to do what she wants actually fails, Katara will go to plan B. Plan B is her doing it anyway, alone if she has to.
She will even sabotage the group's plans and put them all at risk of capture or death in order to do this, just look at their time in the fire nation if you don't believe me. Katara tricks the group into thinking Appa might be horribly ill (which is just cruel to poor Aang) so she can stay long enough in an area to save a village by pretending to be a spirit of protection.
The party has already tried to explain to her that this is a bad idea. She doesn't care though, and does it anyway.
10 Cooler Heads
While Katara has a stubborn streak and a mean temper (more on that later) during actual life-threatening occurrences she tends to be the calmest one. This is also true for when the group has lost hope, Katara always seems to be the one getting them back on track.
Which is pretty hypocritical if you ask me. Katara has the record for most fights and arguments with other team members, in fact, aside from Aang, there's been at least one episode dedicated to her not getting along with another teammate.
She expects better from others but quite clearly doesn't hold herself to the same standards, and when it suits her, she winds up bringing back the party's spirits. This is some pretty manipulative behavior.
9 Today’s Forecast
So there's always at least a little water available for Katara's use, but what about when there's a lot? I'm not talking about being near the ocean or a river either. I'm talking about when it starts raining, suddenly there's a lot of already moving streams of water for her to freeze and then pelt you with huge chunks of hail.
Hail, though, isn't the worst thing she can make of the rain. Imagine how much fun it would be to be fighting while suddenly having to deal with sharp icicles ranging from huge to paper thin falling from the sky? We're guessing not so much. Singular impalement wasn't bad enough so now she has to be capable of doing it multiple times with near zero effort.
8 Come On In The Water’s Fine
Let's say that you've really annoyed her though, like, to the extent there's no chance of ever coming back from how angry she is. We know she can freeze water in an instant while it's in flight, but what about the opposite?
Why couldn't she just, you know, fling a big ball of boiling water into your face? Now as someone who's suffered only moderately bad burns before I can only imagine how bad a whole splash of superheated water could hurt.
Katara's stratagems to seem to mostly involve trying to knock people into larger bodies of water in order to freeze them. It's not too hard to picture her instead heating that water up, essentially trapping her enemy in a boiling Hell.
7 The Company We Keep
It's not only her family and the avatar at Katara's beck and call, however. She's also got the backing of everyone she fought alongside during the hundred year war, which, if I recall, includes; The Firelord, The First Metalbender, King Bumi, The White Lotus, and the Kiyoshi Warriors.
That's essentially the entirety of the worlds strongest fighters she could bring down on you by declaring you and whatever group you're a part of a threat.
With a word from Katara, nations could be destroyed and organizations smashed. The power she wields extends so much further beyond just her it's frightening to try and think of someone whose life she hasn't touched or influenced in some way.
6 Cool It
Frostbite is awful. Freezing someone's body parts isn't as simple as just heating them back up or breaking the ice. If you've been encased in ice, you can expect to be losing some body parts or brain function.
Katara can cause this with ease. She's done it many times in the series, and while (since it was a children's show) we can't really expect them to adhere to the horrible realism that freezing someone's arm is likely to make them an amputee, real life is hardly that kind.
A single successful attack from her can leave even the strongest fighter crippled for life or needing to be fed through a tube. Again, Water bending is BS. It may seem elegant at first, but it's perhaps the most overpowered bending ability in the entire world.
5 Temper Temper
Out of all the characters on screen, Katara loses her cool the most. Second place was Zuko, which is saying something since for the first half of the series he was nothing but a bundle of anger. Katara, though, manages to outstrip him during his days in the Earth Kingdom and then after when he became more guilt-ridden than angry.
As previously mentioned, she blows up on everyone at least once; Toph, Sokka, Aang, and especially Zuko. Although she's good in tense circumstances, the second something challenges her ideals or worldview, she suddenly becomes uncontrollable and unswayable in her righteous fury.
If she thinks she's right she'll lose her crap if you claim she isn't. We can't imagine having to put up with someone like that. Talk about abusive.
4 Team Mom
Never forget, though, who exactly put her in these positions of power over all the other characters. She did. Whether sincere or not, she became Team Avatar's group of motherless misfits surrogate mother, which gives her considerable sway over all of them.
I mean think about it, Aang, Sokka, Zuko, Toph... heck, the only member of Team Avatar who DIDN'T have a problem with their mother being dead, absentee, or detrimental, was Suki.
That's only because we didn't really see enough of her backstory, I'd bet if we could have seen Suki's home situation she also would have had an issue with her parents. Until the Legend of Korra rolled around (and really again only Korra had parents), the writing team seemed to hate mothers.
3 Never Forget
Much like the water she froze to impale you, Katara can be ice cold. Upon finally meeting Zuko and discussing his reasons for what he's done, Katara pitied him and offered to heal his pain. Only for him to screw up again and betray her expectations of him.
She never let him live it down, openly trying to refuse him joining Team Avatar and threatening his life if he screwed up again. Even their journey together to hunt down her mother's killer didn't thaw her heart to him at all.
It was only after their adventures that she finally forgave him, and I'd bet my paycheck that even after she still brought it up from time to time to tease him.
2 Dirty Hands
Katara isn't afraid to get her hands dirty with what she considers morally wrong, as well. The first time she was forced to Bloodbend to save her friends, she at least felt awful about doing it but the second time when she was trying to restrain her mother's murderer she didn't even blink.
It turns out that wasn't even the right guy she started Bloodbending either. She's more than willing to compromise her beliefs if it's for her benefit.
It's only when it directly benefits her though. The entire Zuko vs Azula fight, nah, no Bloodbending there. She seriously could have whipped that out at any time and had already proven she was willing to, she just wasn't getting anything out of the deal.
1 White Mage
Anyone who has played any sort of RPG previously will be happy to tell you the one rule.
Don't. Tick. Off. The. White. Mage.
The White Mage is the parties source of healing, which means they're also the source of life. A simple refusal to deal with your crap could leave them watching you bleed out slowly on the ground while whispering "this is what you get for pulling aggro Patch, you're DPS and this is your punishment".
Katara is Team Avatar's White Mage, and as Zuko found out, she holds a grudge. While she could have fixed his scar, she didn't and then after the entire adventure is done and she could have gotten new spirit water to help enhance her healing powers... she still didn't. Zuko will die with that scar for breaking the one rule of RPG's and because of how vindictive Katara truly is.