- This article is about the location in the series. For the location in the film, see Northern Water Tribe.
Northern Water Tribe
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Its largest city is referred to by the same name. Built inside high walls of ice and located in inhospitable tundra terrain, the city prospers in its isolation. No attack by the Fire Nation on the city during the Hundred Year War ever succeeded, including the massive Siege of the North. After the fall of Ba Sing Se, the Northern Water Tribe was the only major city that had not fallen under Fire Nation control.
The Northern Water Tribe has maintained prosperity throughout the War, unlike its southern counterpart, the Southern Water Tribe, which lost all of its able-bodied men and all but one waterbender to the war efforts.
Long ago, waterbenders united to build the great city of the Northern Water Tribe in an attempt to bring all the tribes of the North Pole together. The waterbenders used their environment to create the various temples, villages, and canals that comprise the city. There are canals that run throughout the city, a series of interconnected waterways that play a crucial part in the tribe's defenses. Boats, powered by waterbenders, use the waterways to transport people and things. Water-locking chambers act as the only entrances into the main city; boats travel through the gates, and, once the boats are in, waterbenders raise the water levels, lifting the boats until the vessel finally reaches the waterways of the Northern Water Tribe. This special entrance ensures that no unwanted ships can make it into the city. Because of these special security features and the city's location, the Northern Water Tribe has been able to fend off numerous Fire Nation attacks.
Prior to the Hundred Year War, the Northern Water Tribe was an open port city that was accessible to any visitors. However, when the Fire Nation declared war on the Water Tribes, a thick wall of ice was erected at the mouth of the city as a means to keep the Fire Nation out of the Northern Water Tribe. Since the War began, the Northern Water Tribe has become increasingly isolated, cutting off most of its contact with the outside world and eventually losing touch with the Southern Water Tribe, leaving the battered tribe to fend on its own.
While the Northern Water Tribe did fall under attack from the Fire Nation, the attacks did not succeed as they did against the Southern Water Tribe. After a while, the attacks ceased entirely. The last time Northern warriors recovered Fire Nation uniforms was eighty-five years ago, and Chief Arnook referred to an impending attack as the day feared for a very long time.
In the Siege of the North, the Northern Water Tribe was nearly destroyed when Admiral Zhao led a massive naval assault on the capital city in an attempt to destroy the Water Tribes and kill the Moon Spirit, Tui, in an attempt to eradicate waterbending. The tribe was saved when Avatar Aang, merged with the Ocean Spirit La, destroyed the Fire Navy fleet and when Princess Yue gave up her life to revive Tui, thus becoming Tui's successor.
In the aftermath of the Fire Nation's siege of the North Pole, select benders and healers from the Northern Tribe left for the South Pole in an effort to rebuild their ravaged sister tribe.
After undergoing a surgery to alter his physical appearance, Republic City's most notorious crime boss, Yakone, made his way to the Northern Water Tribe to start life anew. There, he married and had two children, Noatak and Tarrlok. After Yakone forced his children to bloodbend each other, Noatak ran away. Yakone and Tarrlok assumed that Noatak had perished in the ice.
Government system: Tribal Chiefdom
Head of State and Government: Chief
The Northern Tribe is a patriarchal monarchy, but has some aspects of a tribal group, including the Head of State being a chief. Labor division is dependent on gender: men typically work as hunters, fishermen, teachers, or warriors, and women usually serve as homemakers, healers, or teachers.
There is a small council that advises the Tribal Chief, including the tribe's greatest waterbending master, Pakku. Politics can also be personal. For example, marrying the chief's daughter, the Tribal Princess, can be a significant step in a person's political career. The council is responsible for making laws and organizing the tribe. The Northern Water Tribe was infamous for upholding extreme sexist views before the end of the Hundred Year War; the tribe had a law that did not allow women to learn martial waterbending.
Located at the North Pole, the Northern Water Tribe city is huge and multi-tiered, built into the icy landscape. Looming over the city are giant ice cliffs from which it was originally built. The city rests on the shores of the Northern Sea, and behind it is an enormous frozen tundra.
Unlike the obliterated Air Nomads and their southern sister tribe, the Northern Water Tribe has survived a century of war with the Fire Nation, due to the defenses their icy terrain provides. Resting on the shores of the Northern Sea, behind high walls of ice and an ice gate and canal lock system passable only by the use of waterbending, there lies a large and bustling monarchic nation-state. Ruled by Chief Arnook, the capital city features a palace, an army, and many skilled warriors, healers, waterbenders, and a hidden oasis which houses Tui and La, the Moon and Ocean Spirits. Flanked by icy sidewalks, the city roadways are canals, which people travel by gondola.
Chief's temple Edit
The Chief's temple is a large structure built on top the highest tier of the capital city and is the most recognizable landmark. It can be seen from most anywhere in the city and stands like a monument, representing strength and power. In here, the chief and his chieftains sit and make decisions regarding the tribe.
Healing huts Edit
Spirit Oasis Edit
- Main article: Spirit Oasis
The Spirit Oasis is a verdant and lush garden located in a cave in the Northern Water Tribe's capital city at the North Pole. Although the land outside is perpetually frozen, the Spirit Oasis itself is warm. This is where the mortal incarnations of the Moon and Ocean Spirits live. The water of the oasis is said to contain unique healing properties. It is a place where the Spirit World overlaps with the mortal world. It is known to be one of the most peaceful places in the bending world.
Located on the warrior training grounds, the Water Tribe armory is where Water Tribe weapons are stored and kept in pristine condition. The armory doubles as a war planning room where orders are given to the warriors. Some Fire Nation uniforms, which were captured about eighty five years prior, are also kept there.
Underground ice cavern Edit
These interconnecting ice caverns are located underneath the city and were naturally created by the ocean water eroding away the ice. Seals and other animals live in these ice caverns, and the only way to get to them is to swim through the freezing water. Zuko traveled through these caverns when trying to capture Aang during the Siege of the North.
Frozen tundra Edit
This massive stretch of arctic tundra covers most of the North Pole. The inland tundra is mostly mountainous and inhabited by a diverse fauna. The valleys of the arctic mountain ranges also host settlements and villages, for example Yakone's village.
However, the coastal arctic plains are extremely treacherous. Only highly skilled, arctic hunters travel on the open plains, hunting the animals that live there, and they never stay longer than a few days at a time. Heavy winter blizzards constantly pelt the tundra, and unstable ice sheets often give way under the slightest pressure. Even experienced waterbenders and warriors think twice about venturing into this dangerous environment.
During the War, the Fire Nation conducted continuing raids against the Southern Water Tribe, resulting in the depletion of their waterbenders and leaving their tribe defenseless. The Fire Nation may have attempted to do this against the Northern Water Tribe, but because of the protection of inland villages by the nearly impassable coastal plains and the high level security of the city it was impossible and too risky to do such a task.
Yakone's village Edit
This village served as Yakone's new home after he left Republic City and assumed a new identity. Here, he met his wife and had two children, Noatak and Tarrlok. He lived out the remainder of his life in this village, teaching his children bloodbending until Noatak ran away and assumed his new identity as Amon.
Women become marriageable at the age of sixteen. Some marriages are arranged, with the bride in particular having no say in the matter. Engaged women wear "betrothal necklaces", navy blue chokers bearing blue stone pendants carved by their husband-to-be. It is forbidden by custom for female waterbenders to learn waterbending for fighting purposes. Instead, they are trained as healers, able to use bending to heal wounds and at least some illnesses and mental disturbances.
While the Southern Water Tribe seems to have similar traditional roles, they are apparently much more strict in the North, as Katara, who was raised in the South, expresses surprise and anger when she is initially denied equal treatment in waterbending training. As a result, it can be concluded that female waterbenders are allowed to learn waterbending for fighting purposes in the Southern Water Tribe. Kanna, Katara's paternal grandmother, Hakoda, Katara's father and Bato, a Southern Tribe male and a friend of Katara's father, also showed no signs of disapproval when observing Katara's waterbending skills; Southern female waterbenders once used their bending to attack Fire Nation soldiers.
The rules against women could have possibly been changed after Pakku battled Katara and learned that Kanna was her paternal grandmother, when he taught her, and when she assisted in the battle against the Fire Nation.
Like the Fire Nation, Northern schools include subjects such as history, strategy, reading, writing, music, waterbending, and others. The city also boasts numerous medical schools and science institutions that teach young female waterbenders to hone their healing abilities and medical skills. Northern schools and institutions teach other subjects, like geography; this is apparent from the fact that they can read maps.
Natural resources and foods Edit
Inhabiting frozen poles near the seas, the Water Tribes inherently are dependent on the oceans for a majority of their natural resources as well as the bounty of the frozen tundra. 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 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.
One of the most prevalent natural resources of the Northern Water Tribe is ice. Ice is used as the main building material used to make buildings, walls, dikes, locks, and other structures, as well as a medium of bending.
Notable figures Edit
- Like its sister tribe in the south, the Northern Water Tribe has several villages outside the main city.
- As part of his journey to master the elements, Avatar Roku met his waterbending teacher here and mastered waterbending.
Real world connections Edit
- The canal system in the city that provides transportation is similar to that of many canal cities like Suzhou, Venice, Amsterdam, and Birmingham. The design of the bridges connecting the two sides of each canal resemble that of Venice, and the architecture of most of the city is strikingly European.