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Water Tribe

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Water Tribe

Post by CJWatso on June 28th 2009, 11:49 am

Members of the Water Tribe live mainly in one of two nation-states: the Southern Water Tribe or the Northern Water Tribe, who inhabit the South and North Poles, respectively. A branch of the Water Tribe exists in the Earth Kingdom swamp, called the Foggy Swamp Tribe.[21] The Water Tribe is home to an order of men and women who practice Waterbending, the mystical art of hydrokinesis. On the South Pole, Katara is the only water bender left, since the Fire Nation killed or captured her fellow benders in their raids [8]. In contrast, the North Pole has a multitude of water benders. There, Northern Water Tribe culture dictates that only men can use their bending skills for fighting and that the women must learn to use water bending for healing. According to Uncle Iroh, Water is the element of change; the Water Tribe embraces change and can easily adapt to different situations, as reflected in Waterbending.

Due to relentless attacks on the Southern Water Tribe by the Fire Nation, the Northern Water Tribe constitutes the majority of the remaining Waterbenders.[22] The Foggy Swamp Water Tribe was hidden and forgotten and isolated until the Avatar and his friends stumbled upon it. Most of its members are competent benders with some unique talents.[21]


[edit] Culture
Ethnically homogeneous, members of the Northern and Southern Water Tribes typically have light or deep brown hair, blue eyes and a brown skintone. Clothing is typically a set of blue anorak and trousers trimmed with white fur, and worn with mittens and mukluks. Men may wear their hair long and half-up or in short ponytails, referred to by Sokka as "a warrior's wolf tail."[23] Women plait and braid their hair in various styles, sometimes with accent beads, and many sport "hair loopies" in various styles. In the Northern Water Tribe, males appear to wear a darker blue than those of the Southern Water Tribe.[22]

The Water Tribe's national emblem is a circle comprising of a white waning crescent moon and three black wavy horizontal lines representing ocean waves and is often found in the architecture of the Water Tribe. Like the Earth Kingdom's national emblem, it has a literal and figurative meaning to the Water Tribe. The crescent moon and the ocean waves in the emblem symbolize, Tui and La, the Moon and Ocean Spirits, which give their people life and strength.[24]

Each of the Four Nations is influenced by its own distinct, dominant season. The Water Tribe's dominant season is winter. More Waterbenders are born during winter than any other season and their powers are at their strongest during the season, due to the longer nights.[25] Because the Water Tribe lives mostly near the poles, winter-like weather is near constant.[26]

Because they inhabit the frozen poles and ice caps near seas and oceans, the Water Tribes inherently are dependent on the oceans for the majority of their natural resources and food. Sea prunes are a favorite, while giant sea crabs are considered a delicious delicacy to those in the Northern Sea. Squid and seaweed can be used to make a wide variety of dishes, including soup, seasoning, and even bread and cookies. Skins from seals are used to create decorative tents, while pelts from polar bears and other furry animals are used as clothing and to cover barren surfaces. Naturally, hunters and fishermen of the Water Tribes are some of the best in the world in their field.[27]


[edit] Military
All adult male tribe members of the Southern Water Tribe are fully trained warriors. Their weaponry includes clubs, bladed boomerangs, spears made of bone, scimitars, and machetes laced with whale teeth on the dull side of the blade.[8][28] Water Tribe warriors typically wear black and white warpaint on their full face before going into battle and put on protective "lunar wolf" armor in more dangerous situations. The dark blue body armor includes black and blue-gray plated arm and leg guards, a silver helmet shaped into wolf's head, and a fierce moon symbol unique to each warrior. It is designed to intimidate the enemy; when warriors charge, they resemble a pack of wild wolves. High ranking warriors wear a black colored wolf helmet instead of a silver one to show authority.[2][29]

In the Northern Water Tribe, there are few non-Waterbender warriors. They wear dark hooded suits and blue face masks that cover their mouths to give off an air of mystery and danger. They also work together in units rather than fight alone; each Waterbender is almost always accompanied by at least one other one.[24]

The Foggy Swamp Water Tribe does not have a conventional military. When dealing with hostile outsiders, it relies on the Swamp itself, its wildlife and fauna, and the Waterbenders who can bend swamp vines.[21]

The ships of the Southern Tribe are cutter sailing ships, containing wooden hulls and utilizing the wind for propulsion. The boats are shown to be operated by at least two people, one to maintain the main sail and one to control the jib, a smaller sail at the rear.[30] The ships are designed as transport vessels rather than for combat.

The Northern Water Tribe's most common ship is a double-hulled vessel powered by Waterbending. Though its small, compact size enables it to be used for a variety of applications, including transporting civilians across the canals within the city, its main purpose is to be used for short, open ocean trips. Even though its not necessarily designed for long voyages, it is capable of being used to travel over a thousand miles and withstanding the harshest ocean conditions.[1] Warriors use this ship to patrol and protect the waters just outside the Northern Water Tribe.[22]

Before the first invasion of the Fire Nation, Sokka and The Mechanist created Waterbending-powered submarines to sneak into the Fire Nation capital's harbor. These large underwater vehicles possess a hull composed of waterproof wood and metal equipped with watertight glass windows that allows them to traverse deep beneath the ocean surface. They propel themselves with flexible fins on each side and the rear while sinking or floating by means of the Waterbenders riding inside. The submarines are also equipped with torpedoes, which are made of frozen blasting jelly and launched via Waterbending. There was only one real flaw that the vessels retained, that being their limited air supply, which makes it necessary to resurface periodically for air.[1][29]


[edit] Tribes
The culture of the Water Tribe is divided into three distinct groups, largely based on their geography and a specific affinity for their element. Before the war, while they were separated, the Northern and Southern Water Tribes kept in contact with one another. The Northern and the Southern Water Tribes both were heavily influenced by the Inuit tribes of North America, and the Foggy Swamp Tribe by the Mississippi Delta and Louisiana Swamps culture.[31][32]

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Re: Water Tribe

Post by CJWatso on June 28th 2009, 11:49 am

[edit] Southern Water Tribe
During the war, Southern Water Tribe teetered on the brink of extinction due to Fire Nation raids. Its bending population was decimated to leaving only Katara as its sole Waterbender, due to multiple Waterbenders, such as Hama, either dying in battle or being captured by the Fire Nation, in their raids. Therefore, children born with Waterbending abilities had no one to teach them how to bend.[33] Katara and Sokka's tribe is one of a handful of tribes that are scattered across the South Pole. Before the war, their tribe was part of a beautiful and bustling city built out of the ice by Waterbenders. But decades before the beginning of the series, the Fire Nation destroyed their city and many others like it. With their cities gone, the tribes split apart into smaller groups and scattered across the South Pole. In recent years, the Fire Nation leaves the Southern Water Tribe alone for the most part, instead focusing its forces on bigger threats in the Earth Kingdom, but conducts raids periodically to capture or kill Waterbenders.

Scattered all across the South Pole in groups due to the war separating and dwindling their people, the Southern Water Tribe has a patriarchal tribalist system of government, as each village has a designated leader. While initially all the leaders were male, each of the villages leaders can now be both male or female.[34] For example, before he left to fight in the war, Hakoda led the southernmost tribal village. But after the warriors left, the village was just populated by the elderly, women and small children.[8] The Southern Water Tribe was defenseless during the war, because the adult males left for the Earth Kingdom to aid in the war against the Fire Nation, leaving behind the women, children and elderly citizens.[35]


[edit] Northern Water Tribe
The Northern Water Tribe survived the century of war largely due to the harsh terrain surrounding the North Pole, and thus, so did its culture as did its versatile array of Waterbenders of all skills and genders. Adopting a siege strategy allowed the Northern Tribe to successfully defend itself from encroachment by the Fire Nation, but conversely this also meant that the Northern Tribe has had little impact on the War beyond its own borders. When honored guests arrive at the North Pole, the Northern Tribe holds a feast in their honor, as well as a cultured Waterbending performance accompanied by Water Tribe drums, that take the appearance of a modern-day timpani.[22]

The Northern Water Tribe is a patriarchal chiefdom also containing the aspects of a tribal group's leader as the chief of state. The Northern Water Tribe is ruled by a former warrior, Arnook, and his counsel of chieftains, composed of Waterbending masters, warriors, healers, noblemen, and his daughter, Princess Yue.[22][36]

The Northern Water Tribe is far more strict and patriarchal in gender-related issues, operating in the more traditional ways. The art of Waterbending is largely cultivated, in fighting but also in performances. This art, however, is only taught to Waterbending males. The female Waterbenders were only allowed to learn the art of healing, a subtype of Waterbending which uses the control of water and chi in the human body to heal diseases and wounds. This recently changed after Katara, Aang and Sokka's visit to the Northern Water Tribe. Non-Waterbender women serve as homemakers and cooks, while men serve as warrior, hunters and fishermen.[22]

Arranged marriages are a common practice among the Northern Water Tribe. While the man involved apparently has a say in the matter, the woman does not. The traditional procedure involves the man carving a betrothal necklace for his bride-to-be, after consulting the young woman's family and asking for permission[22]

The capital city resembles an ice-made version of Venice, Italy,[37] with a complicated system of canals and bridges for transportation. The three layers of defense within the city are heavily guarded by the military. Large cliffs that tower over three sides of the city give it natural protection from land attacks, while sea walls keep the city safe from enemy navies. It is unclear if there are other cities like the capital in the North Pole, as most of the territory consists of a frozen tundra where it is impossible to live for long periods.[38]


[edit] Foggy Swamp Tribe
The Foggy Swamp Tribe are an unusual offshoot of the Water Tribes who occupy a swamp in the Earth Kingdom. Their ancestry lies in the Southern Water Tribe; a group migrated from the Southern Tribe thousands of years ago and felt comfortable with the large amount of water. However, existence of the Foggy Swamp Tribe remained unclear to either the Northern or Southern Water Tribe.[1]

Most of its members are highly skilled benders who have discovered the unique Waterbending talent of bending the water within plants to control plant life (e.g. Hu, who bends vines to use for attacking as well as protecting himself, as seen when the Foggy Swamp is first seen and during the invasion in The Day of Black Sun). The people of the Foggy Swamp Water Tribe dress very differently than their northern and southern counterparts. They use loincloths, armbands, hats and other materials fashioned out of plants to cover themselves. Instead of worshiping the Moon and Ocean Spirits, they worship the Swamp itself, and the giant tree in the center of it, believing that the Swamp is what gives them life and power.[21]

The tribe depends on the swamp and its assortment of animals; they use cat gators for companions and eat food like squirrel fish and possum chicken. While they use plant leaves, roots, and bark to provide their natural resources, they depend heavily on their Waterbending and Swampbending for hunting and cooking meals.[21][29]


[edit] Waterbending
Waterbenders originally learned Waterbending from the Moon. The ancestors of the Water Tribe noticed the push and pull effect the Moon has on the tides of the ocean. Eventually, these first Waterbenders learned how to manipulate water themselves.

Waterbending is based on Tai Chi, a Chinese martial art that features slow movements and elegant forms that evoke the feel of flowing water.[39] Waterbending's strongest asset lies within its defensive capabilities. Unlike some other bending disciplines, Waterbending focuses on turning an opponent's own strength against themselves, rather than direct strikes. Since water can exist in different physical states, Waterbenders can freeze, melt, evaporate, sublimate or condense water at will.[22] The ability to alter the physical state of water gives Waterbenders an array of defensive, evasive and offensive techniques in battle such as encasing an opponent in ice, hiding behind a wall of mist, surfing on bodies of water on a platform of ice, and battering enemies with lashing whips and waves. Waterbenders can also manipulate the molecular cohesion of water for cutting and grabbing objects or running on water. Benders are also able to encase their arms in water allowing them to blast water from their hands. They can also pull water into tentacles to block objects being thrown. While a bender's victory in battle is usually based on skill and technique, a Waterbender gains a notable advantage or disadvantage over other bending arts depending on the amount of water in their vicinity. Waterbenders have the ability to utilize water in its various forms, enabling them to freeze (or compress) water into ice, immobilizing enemies, and to evaporate it into steam, facilitating stealth capabilities. Skilled Waterbenders can freeze water using their breath.[18] Due to their spiritual connection with the Moon, Waterbenders are more powerful at night than during the day, and are at their most powerful during the Full Moon, while being powerless during a lunar eclipse or when the Moon Spirit is in danger.[40]


[edit] Specialized techniques
Healing - Certain Waterbenders are born with the ability to heal wounds and relieve sickness by redirecting chi paths throughout the body, using water as a catalyst.[5] Healers are able to heal wounds such as burns and cuts. They can also cure illness and hypnosis. The water from the spirit pool in the North Pole has special healing abilities and can save a person who is fatally injured as Katara did when Azula shot Aang with a lightning bolt. In the Northern Water Tribe, due to the traditionally patriarchal culture of the tribe, healing is the only aspect of Waterbending taught to female Waterbenders, with classes assigned for young girls held in huts towards the development of the ability.[22]
Plant Bending - Waterbenders can manipulate the vines and roots of plants by bending the ample amount of water within them. Members of the Foggy Swamp Tribe use this to survive in the deadly Swamp.[21] In addition, by draining all of the water, a plant can be turned into an external source of water; this ultimately kills the plant from which the water came from.[33]
Bloodbending - Bloodbending is the Waterbending technique that allows Waterbenders to bend the water within living creatures, giving a Waterbender complete control over it. The style was discovered by Hama, a southern waterbender, when she was a captive during the War. Katara has shown the ability to use bloodbending.[33] She uses it in "The Puppetmaster" and "The Southern Raiders".

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