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Knowledge Seekers

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Spirit Emblem
"Handsome little creatures."
— Professor Zei describing the seekers.[1]

The Knowledge Seekers are the fox-like spirit assistants of the knowledge spirit Wan Shi Tong. They travel the world collecting old books and parchments to contribute to the vast archives of Wan Shi Tong's Library. The Knowledge Seekers also help library patrons and provide assistance in finding books, but may expect treats in return.[2]

History

When Aang, Katara, Sokka, Toph, Appa, and Professor Zei found a large tower in the middle of the Si Wong Desert, they were unaware that they were looking at the top of Wan Shi Tong's Library until, suddenly, a Knowledge Seeker appeared over a dune, carrying a scroll in its mouth. It approached the building and scaled the walls without effort, entering through a small window at the top of the tower, which made the group realize they were not looking at an ordinary tower; they had found what they had been searching for, the spirit library.

Knowledge Seeker getting a treat

One of the Knowledge Seekers received a treat for leading Team Avatar to the planetary calendar room.

Later, inside the library, when Aang, Sokka, and Katara discovered the remains of an old piece of paper that mentioned "The Darkest Day in Fire Nation History", one of the Knowledge Seekers led them to an ancient mechanical calendar that depicted the movements of the heavenly bodies and showed them how it worked. After entering the date from the parchment into the calendar, they discovered that a solar eclipse occurred on "the darkest day". Using this information, Sokka deduced that firebenders lose their bending during a solar eclipse. In return for its help, Sokka gave the "fox guy" a treat.[1]

The Knowledge Seekers continued to inhabit the library after it was returned to the Spirit World, and kept up their task of retrieving new information for their master. Jinora arrived at the library in 171 AG, seeking information on the location of the spirit portals. Though Wan Shi Tong did not believe a little girl could provide any new information, Jinora quickly explained the inner workings of the radio, contradicting a seeker's claim that a man resided within a tiny box, singing and playing musical instruments. Wan Shi Tong glared at the seeker who brought this misinformation, prompting it to bow its head and walk away in shame. After the owl spirit granted Jinora permission to remain in the library, she went looking for a map to the spirit portals. After looking through a number of volumes without success, she asked a nearby Knowledge Seeker for assistance, and the spirit promptly retrieved a book for her on the Harmonic Convergence. Realizing the tome was the one she needed, Jinora stroked the Knowledge Seeker on its head and thanked it for its help.[3]

Nearly a week later, a Knowledge Seeker alerted Iroh to the presence of Tenzin, Kya, and Bumi in the Spirit World.[4]

Anatomy

Helpful Knowledge Seeker

One of the Knowledge Seekers found a book upon Jinora's request.

The Knowledge Seeker bears a resemblance to the real-world fox but without the whiskers. It has four long legs, a triangle-shaped snout, and a tail. It has brown fur with a brighter patch of fur below its mouth, at the end of its tail, on its forelegs and posterior body. Its eyes are black and narrow,[1] or bright blue without pupils.[3]

Appearances

Avatar: The Last Airbender

Book Two: Earth (土)

The Legend of Korra

Book Two: Spirits (神靈)

Trivia

  • The Knowledge Seekers are similar to the Korean nine-tailed fox or kumiho, which is said to be a mystical creature that brought books to the king in a golden age, as well as to the Japanese kitsune fox spirits, which serve the deity Inari. Like the Knowledge Seekers, kitsune also "sought knowledge" and were said to earn multiple tails as they gain more knowledge.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 O'Bryan, John (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (July 14, 2006). "The Library". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 10. Nickelodeon.
  2. From older Avatar: The Last Airbender official site, originally on Nick.com (link). No longer updated.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Hedrick, Tim (writer) & Graham, Ian (director). (November 8, 2013). "A New Spiritual Age". The Legend of Korra. Season 1. Episode 22. Nickelodeon.
  4. Hamilton, Joshua (writer) & Heck, Colin (director). (November 22, 2013). "Darkness Falls". The Legend of Korra. Season 1. Episode 25. Nickelodeon.

See also

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