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Earth Kingdom

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Earth Kingdom

Post by CJWatso on June 28th 2009, 11:50 am

The Earth Kingdom (土国), the direct translation of which is Earth Country, is a large continent which takes up most of the planet's eastern hemisphere. Earth Kingdom is by far the largest nation in Avatar: The Last Airbender in terms of geographic size; the kingdom's size is to the extent that it is a neighbor of every other nation.[41] It is home to an order of men and women who practice Earthbending, which is similar to geokinesis. Earthbenders are characterized by their pride and strength, and often seem immovable.

The Earth Kingdom has long withstood encroachments of their borders in the Fire Nation's imperialist war. Though the Water Tribes have aided the Earth Kingdom, the Earth Kingdom has had to defend much of their nation by themselves, as the Water Tribes are too weak to help the Earth Kingdom. Many citizens of the Earth Kingdom live in Ba Sing Se, a capital city which is entirely self-reliant. However, Ba Sing Se falls at the end of Book 2[19] and the Earth Kingdom is almost annihilated during Book 3.[42]


[edit] Appearance
The Earth Kingdom is heavily influenced by the culture of late imperial China, namely Ming and Qing dynasties. The Earth King's royal palace was influenced by the Forbidden City and other Chinese buildings and compounds. The people of the Earth Kingdom express wide variety in their appearances throughout the vast lands of the empire. Those residing in the rural areas often wear clothes similar to those of peasants. Royals and the wealthy, as illustrated by Toph Bei Fong, as well as the rest of the Upper Ring of Ba Sing Se, usually wear robes similar to the Manchurian-Chinese Qipao, especially during parties and events. Men may grow beards and/or mustaches; younger men may have the same style but wear their hair down. Their skin complexion is usually fair, tan or brown, uniquely various throughout the Kingdom, especially compared to the homogeneous appearances of the other bending groups. They most typically express light brown, deep brown or green eyes. They usually wear green, yellow-green, tan or brown clothing, though they have been seen wearing outfits of other colors.

The national emblem of the Earth Kingdom is a circle inscribed within a square, at the center of which is a much smaller square (Like a Chinese coin). The insignia symbolizes both the literal and figurative depth of the Earth Kingdom. It represents the immeasurable layers of deep rock and minerals which Earthbenders manipulate to maintain their great cities, as well as the depth of the inhabitants' commitment and strive towards the effort of a peaceful and productive way of life.[43] This emblem can be seen on the helmets of Earth Kingdom troops.

The Earth Kingdom uses coins as their currency. The coins are composed from metals such as copper shaped into the fashion of the national emblem.[44]


[edit] Culture
From the technology-driven refugees under the "Mechanist" to the initially isolationist inhabitants of Kyoshi Island, the culture of the Earth Kingdom is far less monolithic than those of the other nations. The common aspect of these different cultures is their rather simplistic and somewhat archaic nature, especially in comparison to the more industrialized Fire Nation.

The Earth Kingdom citizens have created many games and attractions. In Omashu, the game first played by Aang and invented by King Bumi is based on the mail delivery system of Omashu, which Bumi has referred to as "The World's Greatest Superslide."[15] In Ba Sing Se, an apparently common game played in alleys is a form of soccer that employs Earthbending.

Rock and stone are the Earth Kingdom's greatest natural resources; Earthbending allows the Earth Kingdom to use and manipulate it for nearly anything. While the Earth Kingdom as a whole does not make use of fossil fuels nearly as much as the industrialized Fire Nation, coal is mined in some villages, along with timber. An ample amount of vegetables manage to sufficiently grow within the rich, fertile soil of the Earth Kingdom, while fruits and nut trees are equally as abundant. Wild game and domesticated animals thrive in the forests and farmlands, adding beef and poultry to the Earth Kingdom citizens' diet.[45]

Architecture, farming, carpentry, hunting, and mining are among many significant Earth Kingdom industries. Its citizens have managed to develop an advanced trade and commerce system so that almost all may benefit.[46] From the complex sewage and postal system of Omashu,[15] to the Ba Sing Se metro transit stations,[20] and various inventions and their inventors, such as the Mechanist, all serve as demonstration of the Earth Kingdom's sophisticated society.


[edit] Government
The Earth Kingdom is a large nation divided into provinces[47] and major cities[15] which are subdivided into smaller townships or separate towns. The capital of the Earth Kingdom is Ba Sing Se. While there is a central ruler of the Earth Kingdom, known as the The Earth King, who resides in Ba Sing Se, some larger cities, such as Omashu, have kings of their own. However, the Earth Kingdom's central form of government is a Confederate Monarchy; the Earth Kings have continued to cede power to the governmental bureaucracies. Before the fall of Ba Sing Se, the Earth King was little more than a figurehead.[1] Power was truly held by various advisers and counsels such as Long Feng, the Grand Secretariat of Ba Sing Se & Head of the Dai Li. It is also implied that the Ba Sing Se government chooses to make use of little power beyond its own fortified city, which perhaps explains the dire situation in much of the Earth Kingdom.[48]

The government in Ba Sing Se was very oppressive during the war. Long Feng subjected the population to varying degrees of severe economic and social regimentation and segregation, and various methods of eliminating dissent. The government of Ba Sing Se is also incredibly bureaucratic; processing a request to meet with an official may take up to two months[48] and proper clearance is required for posting "lost animal" fliers.[49] The Earth Kingdom is heavily influenced by Qing Dynasty China.[citation needed]


[edit] Military
Due to the majority of its territory being landlocked and segregated by mountainous terrain, the Earth Kingdom is most dependent on its land-based army forces. Like the Fire Nation, the Earth Kingdom armies consist of benders and normal foot soldiers. Soldiers, both benders and non-benders, carry a wide variety of weapons. Nonbending soldiers are more heavily armored, and typically wear a helmet shaped like a mix of a conical straw hat and a spinning top, along with a neck guard underneath. Earthbenders' helmets are pointed and are decorated with the Earth Kingdom emblem. The Benders are also barefooted, unlike the soldiers, to better harmonize themselves with the Earth. Officers wear yellow armor in place of the regular green armor.

Earth Kingdom soldiers in various parts of the Earth Kingdom tend to wear slightly different colored uniforms than that of others. Yellow brown,[50] light green,[17] brown tan,[51] and cream colored uniforms have all been seen.[52] The non-bending soldiers of Omashu wear leaf-green colors, while other non-bending soldiers across the Earth Kingdom wear a drab olive green. At Ba Sing Se the soldiers on the walls have more diverse uniforms, with black and gold colors. The cavalry consists of foot soldiers on Ostrich Horses, which can vertically climb short distances and run at high speeds.[17] They are also used as civilian transports.

Earthbenders use stones shaped like the Earth Kingdom emblem as artillery and catapult projectiles.[17] These person-sized round coins are invaluable weapons to the Earthbenders. The coins can be lined up side by side to make a defensive mobile wall, or stacked to make an impromptu lookout tower. Skilled Earthbenders can use these coins as a vehicle and "ride" in the hole in the middle of the coins.

By consulting with various Earthbenders, The Mechanist was able to design Earthbending-powered tanks which were actively used in the Fire Nation invasion. The Earth Kingdom tanks are piloted by a crew of four Earthbenders who work to move the caterpillar-like vehicle by pushing off the ground with their feet. The tanks are able to navigate on uneven terrain and even climb over elevated obstacles. Hatches on the sides of the tank open and close, allowing Earthbenders to fire stone projectiles at the enemy.[1]

The Earth Kingdom's Navy is inferior to that of the Fire Nation

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Re: Earth Kingdom

Post by CJWatso on June 28th 2009, 11:51 am

Dai Li
The Dai Li are the cultural enforcers of Ba Sing Se. Prior to the fall of Ba Sing Se, they were under the direct command of Long Feng, the culture minister, for over twenty years, and functioned as a secret police. They arrested and re-educated anyone who speaks of the war while in Ba Sing Se.[48] In addition to distinct uniforms, they also have stone gloves and shoes, which can be used as weapons through Earthbending. Though they serve the Earth King, they are loyal only to Long Feng.[38] However, after the events of the coup d'état led against the Earth Kingdom capital, they pledged loyalty to Azula and the Fire Nation[19] and tore down the walls of Ba Sing Se.[2] The Dai Li are seen again during Sozin's Comet, where they are summoned by Firelord Azula. Azula, unsatisfied with their performance and fearing that they will eventually betray her, banishes the Dai Li from the palace. They are not seen again afterward.

According to the online flash game, "Escape from the Spirit World," the Dai Li were created several centuries before the start of the story by Avatar Kyoshi to preserve the cultural heritage of Ba Sing Se, in response to a peasant uprising against the Earth King.[54]

The Dai Li in Avatar are modeled after the government agents of Qing Dynasty China, who were also known as the Dai Li. The organization may also be named after Dai Li: the feared Spymaster of Chiang Kai-Shek before and during the Second World War. (Chinese: 大内; Pinyin: dà nèi)-- which literally means "Greater-Inner" and refers to those who serve in the Greater Inner Sanctum of the Forbidden City.


[edit] Kyoshi Warriors
The Kyoshi Island Warriors are an all-female group of fighters led by Suki on Kyoshi Island. Their fighting style and clothing honor that of their founder, Avatar Kyoshi, although the current members do not implement any of the bending arts in their physical movements. Clad in ornate, green armor and Kabuki-like makeup designed to intimidate opponents, Kyoshi Island Warriors use metal fans as their primary weapons,[55] but it is later revealed the warriors additionally utilize katana and wrist shields.[56] Holding the fans like extensions of their own arms, they aim to turn the strength of their opponents against them, a principle also hinged upon in Waterbending. Traditionally, only women are trained as Kyoshi Warriors,[1] however there have been exceptions over the years.[57]

Although Kyoshi Island had long remained neutral in the war, this changed when the Avatar arrived on their island. The Kyoshi Island Warriors were inspired to assist the Earth Kingdom army in its attempts to resist the Fire Nation, serving as guards for refugee ferries to Ba Sing Se.[51] The warriors appeared again in "Appa's Lost Days" where they struggled to protect Appa from capture at the hands of Princess Azula, Mai, and Ty Lee. Following the confrontation, Azula, Mai, and Ty Lee infiltrate the city of Ba Sing Se disguised as members of the Kyoshi Warriors,[38] confirming the real Kyoshi Warriors' defeat. They did however succeed in saving the life of Appa, a great aid to the Avatar.[53]


[edit] Council of Five
The Council of Five is a group of five high-ranking Earth Kingdom Generals who decide military strategy outside the walls of Ba Sing Se.[53] In addition to this, the Council also controls the Kings Guards, an elite force of guards who protect the Earth King. The Council of Five was established along with the King of Ba Sing Se, and was equal in power with him until the rise of Long Feng.[1] After Princess Azula's execution of the coup d'état against the capital, all members of the council were taken captive by the Dai Li,[19] but were released after the Order of the White Lotus liberated Ba Sing Se.[18]


[edit] Kings Guards
The Earthbending guards are affiliated with neither the Dai Li nor the military and instead serve as personal protectors of the Earth King.[1] There seem to be hundreds of them guarding the Royal Palace. The guards use specialized surface-to-surface rocks against invaders approaching on foot, but the projectiles are displayed to be able to also serve as surface-to-air rocks against airborne intruders.[38]

The guards wear dark green armor and feather-topped helmets, the guards have also been shown as the gate keepers of the outer and inner walls of Ba Sing Se.[20][58]


[edit] Locations

[edit] Kyoshi Island
Kyoshi Island is an island in the South Sea which was founded by Avatar Kyoshi in an effort to protect her people from invaders.[1][57] Because the island is predominately a fishing port, travelers and traders favor the island as a stopping point. The denizens of Kyoshi Island's dwell scattered amongst several small villages found all around the island. Each village has its own leader and is served and protected by a band of female Kyoshi Island Warriors, who fight with metal fans in the same techniques as the island's namesake Avatar.[1] The island, the birthplace of Kyoshi, has a shrine dedicated to her.

Because it holds no significant military advantage, Kyoshi Island managed to stay out of the Fire Nation's war for nearly a century.[57] The villagers are hostile towards outsiders, for they feared Fire Nation spies. After the visit of Avatar Aang, the citizens adopted a more welcoming attitude.[59]


[edit] Omashu
Omashu was the first city built in the Earth Kingdom and was founded and named for Oma and Shu, a Romeo and Juliet pair from two warring villages who became the first Earthbenders.[60] It sits within a mountain range, surrounded on all sides by steep canyons and an enormous gorge. It is guarded by massive stone gates,[61] but was still captured by the Fire Nation during the war. Omashu's main industry was producing weapons and supplies for the war effort, and so it developed a complex and efficient mail system used to transport goods throughout the city that employed Earthbending and gravity using extensive ramps and chutes.[1][15]

Based on the ancient writing in "The Cave of Two Lovers," the modern way to write Omashu is 奥瑪舒. Ào mǎ ( 奥 瑪 ) means "mysterious carnelian," while shū ( 舒 ) means relax. Carnelian is a semiprecious stone consisting of an orange or orange-red variety of chalcedony.


[edit] Ba Sing Se
Ba Sing Se is the capital of the Earth Kingdom. It is impenetrable and isolated from the rest of the world. It withstood a six-hundred day siege led by the Fire Nation's General Iroh,[50] which ended after Iroh's son, Lu Ten, died on the front lines. At Comicon 2006, Ba Sing Se was shown as an enormous city with several rock-like monorails, similar to the ones in Omashu. The "cars" are moved by Earthbending. Ba Sing Se's greatest secret to its staying power in the war is the farmland behind its outer wall. These vast fields supply the entire city with food to enable them to survive a siege of any duration, so long as the outer wall remains intact. Only on two separate occasions has the great wall ever been penetrated. It was apparently breached during Iroh's six-hundred day siege, however, the city survived, as the siege broke shortly thereafter. The city's wall is nearly penetrated once again by a giant drill created by The Mechanist for the Fire Nation. The government of Ba Sing Se was once deposed through a coup d'état by Azula.[19] The Fire Nation was deposed by the Order of the White Lotus in the Book 3 finale.[18]

In Book 2, the city is shown to be divided into various levels based on social class, with the ghettos of the poor and refugees being walled off from the rest of the town, mirroring the strict societal rules of class interaction that governed ancient China. It was heavily controlled and the war is not allowed to be mentioned inside the walls. This was supposedly meant to maintain order and the cultural heritage of the city, making it the only remaining "utopian" society in the world. It is eventually revealed that the Earth King was actually a figurehead with little authority. The political leader of the city is Long Feng, the Grand Secretariat of Ba Sing Se and the Head of the Dai Li. He and the Dai Li maintain strict control of the people and the culture, and prefer to pretend the war does not exist. This is most likely the result of Ba Sing Se's safety - the people of the city consider it impenetrable, and thus feel they can delude themselves into pretending all is fine in the rest of the Kingdom. Those who attempt to disrupt this fantasy are promptly brainwashed by the Dai Li into believing that the war doesn't even exist.

In "The Drill," the name Ba Sing Se is revealed to mean "Impenetrable City".


[edit] Earthbending
Humans first learned Earthbending by observing and imitating the Badgermoles, large subterranean creatures that use Earthbending to see and interact with the world. The first people to learn Earthbending were two lovers (Oma and Shu) from warring villages who used the art to meet in secret beneath the mountain that separated their people.[60]

Earthbending is generally based on the Hung Gar style of Kung Fu, which features heavily rooted stances and strong kicks and punches. The martial art is based on the movements of animals, among them the Tiger and the Crane. The Tiger represents Hard Power, while the crane embodies Soft Power.[62] One notable exception comes from the blind Earthbender, Toph, who uses a style based on Southern Praying Mantis Kung Fu.[63] Unlike other bending disciplines, Earthbending stresses the aspect of neutral "jing", which involves listening and waiting for the right moment to attack.[17] Toph uses this discipline having learned it directly from Badgermoles, and teaches this form to Aang.This discipline also allows Toph and Aang to feel minute vibrations in the earth when in direct contact and use these vibrations as radar.[52]

Earthbenders are known to stand their ground. More skilled Earthbenders absorb and intercept attacks before overwhelming the opponent with superior force. Some can tunnel through the earth to out-maneuver their foes.[64] Earthbenders have been shown to use objects to augment their bending.[47][59] An Earthbender gains a notable advantage or disadvantage over other bending arts depending on the amount of earth in their vicinity. Earthbending is not limited to rock or soil, but can also use mud, slurry, sand, meteors, crystals, coal, and even metal. Earthbenders are able to encase themselves in rock or crystals, giving them a resistance to extreme temperatures and physical blows. When encased they are totally covered with rock or crystal, creating a sort of suit of armor. Earthbenders may or may not cover their eyes seeing as they will not be able to see unless they use earthsight. However covering the entire body,including the eyes, is best as they will be best protected.


[edit] Specialized techniques
Sandbending - A race of desert dwelling Earthbenders have developed a specialized form of Earthbending that focuses on sand. They use this skill in a variety of unique ways, including combat and travel.[65] They seem to be able to take the pieces of the unground up earth and put them into large amounts, which is why certain benders use this form in a wave. Their style of bending, however, is similar to Air or Water bending.
Earthsight - Badgermoles, the original Earthbenders, are completely blind; they compensate for this by using their Earthbending to "see" vibrations in the ground. Toph learned this ability from the badger-moles as a young girl, and used it to compensate for her lack of sight. The only humans shown to use Earthsight are Toph and Aang.
Metalbending - Metalbending was thought to be impossible; however, Toph apparently invented the technique by focusing onto and bending the fragments of unrefined earth within the metal with her unique Earthsight. She has become extremely good at this and can do it with seemingly no effort. Toph manages to use the technique of covering oneself with rock using metal instead. Metal appears to be tougher than rock as her armour did not fall apart when firebending was used giving her an advantage.

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