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Fire Nation

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Fire Nation

Post by CJWatso on June 28th 2009, 11:52 am

The Fire Nation, an island nation, is located near the planet's equator in the western hemisphere and comprises an archipelago of volcanic islands, drawing its inspiration from countries like Japan, China, Iceland, and Indonesia, as well as the many volcanic Pacific islands.[66] The Fire Nation is home to an order of men and women who practice Firebending, the pyrokinetic ability to create and control fire. The Fire Nation armed forces had subjected much of the globe to colonization and imperialism over the course of a century-long campaign of expansion. According to Iroh, Fire is the element of power; its people have an energetic willpower to strive to get what they want and need and the drive to get it, as reflected in Firebending.[3]


[edit] Influences
The Fire Nation's landscape and geologic features were based on Iceland. The creators wanted the Fire Nation to look nothing like other locations seen earlier in Avatar, so they captured photos of Iceland to use for the show.[67] Examples of locations from Iceland that were used as models for places in the show include a waterfall from "Sokka's Master"[68] and the hot spring, lava pillars, and lava sand seen in The Beach.[67] Some of the Fire Nation's background designs also come from Korea. In the original designs, the Fire Nation was very industrialized, with its land stripped and its cities full of factories.[68]


[edit] Culture
As with many of the names of people and places in the Avatar series, the Fire Nation clearly have Chinese influences. Women wear their hair in various updos, usually simple and elegant in style and noblewomen often sport long, sharp, well-manicured nails. Men have various hairstyles; those of importance and higher class wear a traditional bun or top-knot accompanied by a hairpiece. Men also sport prominent sideburns, some accompanied with beards or goatees. Fashion in the Fire Nation mimics traditional Chinese elements as well. Layers of various colors, coats, and traditional pieces of armor are common elements in their style, as in Chinese traditional clothing. Citizens and rulers of the Fire Nation wear colors ranging from black, to brown, to various reds, very often accented by gold lining or jewelry. Skin complexion is usually fair or pale, however sparingly ranges to tan and darker brown. Those from the Fire Nation have golden, amber or light gray-blue eyes.

The emblem that represents the Fire Nation is a black flame on a red flag. The flag that holds this emblem is shown many times and in many places, from the Fire Nation itself to the cities and towns that the Fire Nation has conquered and reside in. Unlike other nations, this emblem is not usually worn on the army and navy uniforms, but only stays on the flags of their nation. A gold flame hairpiece is used to signify Fire Nation royalty.

The "Fire Days Festival" is a traveling street fair in Fire Nation towns and villages, including those situated in former Earth Kingdom territory.[1] Its participants wear stylized hand-carved wooden masks similar to that of Kabuki theater masks, and merchants vendor a wide variety of trinkets and local snacks. The festival's attractions include puppet shows, fireworks, Firebending jugglers and magicians, and overall displays of individual or group bending prowess.[69] As illustrated in its cultural festivals, the Fire Nation employs propaganda to indoctrinate a sense of nationalism and loyalty to the Fire Lord (cult of personality) in its citizens from the earliest age possible.[56]


[edit] Agni Kai
Among Firebenders conflicts and disputes of honor are settled by a challenge to an Agni Kai, or "fire-duel," a traditional Firebender duel that is centuries old. Such a match is conducted in an open-air arena at sunset and may be witnessed by spectators. The goal in these duels is to knock an opponent off-balance, and incapacitate (fatally or otherwise) with a final blow. The duels have claimed the lives of countless Firebenders, and they've been even more unforgiving to those who show mercy on their opponents. The term 'Agni' was derived from the Sanskrit word for the fire element.[1]


[edit] Education
The Fire Nation has a formal education system quite similar to real-life public schools. Subjects including history, music, etiquette, warfare, and Firebending are taught to the students by various teachers.[1] However, the educational system works also as a "mind-molding" process, causing students to develop a strong sense of nationalism and loyalty to the Fire Lord. Teachers maintain rigid discipline and order and refuse to teach the students the art of dance or any form of self-expression. In addition, censorship and propaganda can be found in articles within history books (e.g. the genocide of the Air Nomads is described as a battle with the Air Nomads' "army," despite the fact that they have no formal military).[70]


[edit] Military
The Fire Nation military is the strongest of the Four Nations. It is the only nation to possess a mechanized armed force. The Fire Nation military makes active use of armored naval vessels as well as a variety of land-based war machines and vehicles. It is also the only nation to have an air force. They also utilize "Sozin's Comet" every one hundred years to enhance their Firebending attacks.

The Fire Nation's army comprises non-bender foot soldiers, who normally wield spears, swords, and shields, and Firebenders, who normally travel unarmed. The majority of Firebending soldiers wear white faceplates shaped like abstract skulls, while ranking officers do not. Both have spiked fire crests on the front of their helmets. Normal soldiers wear cone shaped helmets without masks. It is a possibility that a soldier's skull mask is also used for psychological warfare due to their frightening appearance. For practicality, the faceplates can be removed from the helmets. Additionally, troops are shown to retain different sets of uniforms pertaining to the season or climate of the region that they are situated in.[24] Elite Firebenders who serve as the Fire Lord's Royal Procession wear red, highly stylized armor all over, and have three-eyed faceplates.[17]

The cavalry ride "Komodo Rhinos," a cross between a rhinoceros and a komodo dragon with three horns and a long whip-like tail. Outfitted with heavy armor around the face, they are used for pulling carts and carrying people, both for war and civilian purposes. Fire Nation soldiers mount these frightening beasts to terrorize their enemies.[1] One band of Fire Nation cavalry, the "Rough Rhinos," was led by Colonel Mongke. The Rough Rhinos comprise a variety of warriors of varying skills, including a masked warrior who hurls explosives and a Yu Yan Archer. Riding their trademark mounts, they act on their own free will, attacking enemies of the Fire Nation, and claiming land and towns in the name of the Fire Lord. Both of their appearances have been defeats, the first by Aang and company[59] and the second by Iroh and Zuko, although the latter was more of a humiliating draw.[71] In "Lake Laogai," it was revealed that they were responsible for the death of Jet's parents and the burning of his village. According to Iroh the Rough Rhinos are also famed for their singing talents.

The Fire Nation also did not hesitate to sacrifice soldiers, much like the ancient Mongolians and some Chinese warlords. During a war planning meeting, a Fire Nation general suggests sacrificing a novice division of troops to provide a distraction.

The Yu Yan Archers are Colonel Shinu's highly skilled unit of tattooed archers, and are, according to Zhao, "capable of pinning a fly to a tree from 100 yards (91 m) away without killing it."[72] This statement resembles the skill of "piercing a willow leaf at one hundred paces", which is a common occurrence in Chinese literature.[73] It also resembles the skills of a famous archer who lived in ancient China. Records comment after being told by his archery teacher that his vision needed to be trained until something impossibly small looked large, "Ji Chang hung a flea from the window frame by a hair and facing south, watched it. In a couple of weeks it seemed larger, and after three years of practice, it seemed like a cartwheel ... Then he took a bow ... and shot [at the flea]. He hit the middle of the flea and the hair did not even break."[74] They are so skilled that they succeeded in overwhelming and capturing Aang, the Avatar, though he subsequently escaped from custody. A possible way to write their name is 玉眼 for "jade eye." The Chinese believed that jade had magical properties and would prevent the decay of the body. The word 'Shinu' (死), the colonel's name, means 'to die' in Japanese, however in Chinese, it is pronounced "Si" with a third tone accent above the 'i'.

As a result of being an island nation and primarily situated near large bodies of water, the Fire Nation has developed a powerful naval force. The Fire Nation's navy is composed of hundreds of coal-powered ironclad warships. In addition to its sturdy properties, the Fire Nation's use of metallurgy to remove impurities from the metal ensures that Earthbenders cannot damage their ships with their powers. These vessels serve many purposes, from ferrying and disembarking troops to providing bombardment with their catapults to creating blockades.[75]

The Fire Nation manages to acquire a refugee War Balloon, a primitive hot air balloon designed by "The Mechanist", an Earth Kingdom inventor whom the Fire Nation had pressed into service designing weapons and technology. With the ability to carry heavy loads and possessing the ultimate high ground, the hot air balloon is a potent weapon.[7] Near the end of failed Fire Nation invasion, the war balloons were effectively used in combat to close the battle. In addition, utilizing the same technology that engineered the Mechanist's hot air balloon, the Fire Nation has managed to develop gigantic airships that looks like zeppelins. Several times larger and more destructive than their original counterparts, the airships are able to hold a crew of fifty, along with numerous Firebenders, and capable of flying vast distances. In terms of firepower, the airships are equipped with an engine that has propellers and coal burning to keep the engine moving and a bomb bay for dropping explosives and flanked with catwalks hanging off the belly where safely-harnessed Firebenders are able to open fire on their enemies below and a main deck with advanced controls.


[edit] History
Originally, the Fire Sages controlled the land with the Grand Sage (Fire Lord) as the head of state. The Fire Sages were independent to the Grand Sage for a time, but were eventually forced to swear vows of loyalty. An absolute monarchy with a lineage of Fire Lords formed, with the title of Fire Lord (烈火君) passing down to each generation's eldest son.[76][77] Under the servitude of Fire Lord Ozai, few Fire Sages remained and were not consulted for any important matter.[78]

During the time of Fire Lord Sozin, a new Firebender tradition was created. It was said that if a Firebender tracked down, battled, and killed a dragon, then his powers would become legendary. Though dragons had long been friends of mankind, this act turned them against man and they fled into places of hiding. Once a Firebender killed a dragon, he was bestowed the title of Dragon. The last Dragon was Crown Prince Iroh, who wore the title "Dragon of the West". What he discovered from fighting the dragon was the ability known as Breath of Fire, which he then went on to teach to his family. However, according to Iroh, the dragon that he killed was the last one in existence. It was later discovered that he was lying in order to protect the secret of the Sun Warriors.

The Sun Warriors were an ancient sect of powerful Firebenders. They practiced a unique version of Firebending that focused on the pure aspect of fire as the source of life, rather than the channeling of rage and aggression as the modern Firebenders used. To them, fire was a form of energy, the counterpoint to the other nation's views of their own elements as states of matter: earth is solid, water is fluid, and air is gaseous.

The Sun Warriors were said to have died out or been destroyed centuries ago, the Fire Nation archipelago dotted with ancient Sun Warrior ruins. Zuko and Aang went to these ruins to find the ancient source of Firebending, only to discover the last of the Sun Warriors living in seclusion beneath the city ruins. There, they discovered that the Sun Warriors worshiped and were guided by the ancient Firebending masters, the last two dragons in existence, Ran and Shao.

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Re: Fire Nation

Post by CJWatso on June 28th 2009, 11:52 am

Locations

[edit] Prisons
The Fire Nation military also makes use of coal mines and prisons. The prisons are segregated facilities in which prisoners from other nations are forced to labor. Made of metal, one such facility can be a stationary shipyard situated in the middle of the ocean. Bisected by an enormous wall, one side is used as the shipyard where warships are repaired and refueled, while the other side serves as a prison for captive Earthbenders. Surrounded by the sea and miles away from solid, earthen land, the benders are rendered powerless. However their muscular strength is not wasted, as the wardens force them to labor away in the shipyard, building new ships for the Fire Nation navy to be later used as aid in the conquest of their own Kingdom.

The Boiling Rock is the Fire Nation's most infamous maximum security prison, specifically built to house the Fire Nation's most dangerous criminals and traitors. The prison is built in the crater of a volcano and is surrounded by a lake of boiling water, which is heated by the geothermal energy of the volcano below it. The only way to access the prison is by cable car, which is connected to a port and war balloon landing pad on the outer edge of the volcano. The Boiling Rock appears to be built like a conventional maximum security prison complete with cell blocks, a central courtyard for recreation, and elevated positions for guards to keep an eye on the prisoners. Since the majority of the prison population are Fire Nation criminals, many of them are also skilled Firebenders. To control them, the guards enforce a ban on all Firebending. Anybody who breaks this rule is sent to the "cooler", which is an isolated, refrigerated pod cooled to below-freezing temperatures. However, even with these strict security measures, the guards often have a difficult time controlling the prisoners. Prisoners deliberately start riots for distractions and escape attempts, though only Sokka and Zuko's had ever been successful.


[edit] Ember Island
Ember Island is a Fire Nation island primarily used for vacationing. Fire Lord Ozai owns an estate there that the royal family used to habitually visit. One of the main attractions is the the theatre owned by "The Ember Island Players", most notable for performing the play "The Boy in the Iceberg", an adaption of Aang's life story that ends in the Fire Nation's victory. Ember Island is a tropical and peaceful place with much attractive plant life. The Lion-Turtle, the island sized spirit creature, often visits Ember Island.


[edit] Roku's Island
The island was a small one that housed Avatar Roku and was situated about one hundred miles away from the Fire Nation capital. When he wasn't attending to his Avatar duties, Roku and his wife Ta Min lived in a modest cottage here. As a result of a volcanic explosion that buried the island village and killed Roku, the isle appears to be a barren wasteland, showing no signs of past or present civilization.


[edit] Firebending
While the sun is the origin and inspiration for Firebending, dragons were the Firebenders that taught them how to Firebend. The philosophy of Firebending from when it was first created differs radically from that of the present-day Fire Nation. Originally representing warmth, energy and life, the Fire Nation's is fueled by rage and anger.[10] Firebending in itself is not totally devoted to unleashing the power of fire on opponents. In actuality, the focus is placed upon balance. Firebending hinges on mental stability such as inner calm, discipline, emotional stability and physical stability such as a firm balanced form, breath control and general good health.[1] Firebenders are more powerful during the day than the night.[24] Firebenders lose their power to bend during a solar eclipse.[29] When a Comet is near, a Firebender's power is vastly increased. This gives them the ability to fly and produce pillars of fire and gigantic fire blasts. Sozin first used the comet to wipe out all the Air Nomads, and thus began the war. Ozai then attempted to use it to wipe out everyone in the Earth Kingdom with it, but he was stopped by Aang and his allies.[79]

Firebending moves are based mainly on the style of Northern Shaolin.[80] Northern Shaolin Kung Fu features quick, successive and flamboyant attacks, making Firebending the most aggressive of the four bending arts. Firebenders tire much easier in battle than other benders due to breath control. Breath control is one of the first things taught to young Firebenders because without control of breath, they are more prone to lose control of the fire they are creating or controlling.[81]


[edit] Special Techniques
Lightning - Creating lightning involves a complete absence of emotion and peace of mind and requires separating the energies of yin and yang, and can only be done by an extremely experienced fire bender. A bender only guides, rather than controls, the lightning's direction.[3] By studying the techniques of Waterbenders, Iroh developed a counter to lightning attacks. When attacked, it is possible to redirect the lightning through and out of the body. Azula and Ozai greatly feared this technique since they themselves don't know how to use it. The only benders who were able to redirect lighting are Zuko,[82] Iroh,[82] and Aang.[83]
Flight - Some skilled Firebenders are able to project flames out of their feet, resulting in short boosts that enable them to jump much higher. During Sozin's Comet, when a Firebender is most powerful, this ability is greatly enhanced and they are able to sustain full flight indefinitely.[84]
Combustion - Combustion Man[85] displayed a very unusual form of Firebending, the ability to superheat air into a thin beam which results in large explosions. No other character has displayed this ability; the power appears to be connected to the third eye on his forehead.
Firebreathing - Iroh can breathe fire like a dragon with this skill. Zuko was shown using this technique early in season one,[44] and continues to use it in later episodes as a survival technique in frigid conditions. On the day of Sozin's Comet, Azula, Fire Lord Ozai, and Aang[18][42] were also shown breathing fire.
Blue Fire - Azula has the ability to create blue fire, which has a much more intense heat. She is the only Firebender that has shown this ability. Blue fire was shown to be clearly more powerful than regular fire throughout Book 2, but equal to pure fire in Book 3. However the equality of red and blue fire may have to do with training: Zuko's red fire was only able to match Azula's blue fire after he received training from the Dragons, the original Firebenders.
Other Colors of Fire - As seen in the episode of Book 3 involving the Sun Warriors, Aang and Zuko are put to the test by the dragons to see if they are worthy to be taught the original firebending techniques. After being deemed worthy, Aang and Zuko are engulfed in a "tornado" of fire created from the two dragons combine to create colors like green and purple fire. Only the dragons are known to be able to do this.
Heat draining - As seen in the episode of Book 3 involving Sozin and Roku's relationship. As they deal with the volcano, Sozin is seen drawing heat from the lava and channeling it into the sky

_________________
Fire of the Dragon, Water of the Naiad, Air of the Pegasus, Earth of the Minotaur, Light of the Sun, Shadow of the Moon

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Take my hand child... Let me guide you in the way of the shadows...
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