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Order of the White Lotus

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128px-Padlock-olive.svg Featured Neutral Emblem White lotus tile
Playing Pai Sho
白蓮教
Order of the White Lotus
General information
Leader(s)

White Lotus leader

Notable members
Headquarters
Affiliation

Neutral

Purpose
  • Protect the Avatar[3]
  • Sharing knowledge and philosophy[1]
  • "The quest for truth above all else" (creed)[4]
Chronological information
First appearance

"The Desert"

The Order of the White Lotus,[2] also called the White Lotus,[5][6] is an ancient and formerly secret society that transcends the boundaries of the four nations, seeking philosophy, beauty, and truth. They are devoted to the sharing of ancient knowledge across national and political divides,[1] and on Avatar Aang's request, they also concern themselves with the task of finding, training, and protecting each new Avatar.[3]

Formed centuries earlier by the wisest scholars from all over the world, the Order began as a club where these ancient masters could challenge one another on the Pai Sho table. They derived their name from the white lotus tile used in Pai Sho, a key element in their strategy. They communicate membership through the game by placing Pai Sho tiles on the board in a specific manner, forming a bloomed lotus bud with the lotus chip in the center.[1]

History

Liberation of Ba Sing Se and public debut

Liberation of Ba Sing Se

White Lotus members sought to liberate Ba Sing Se from the Fire Nation.

The Order of the White Lotus maintained a low profile until Grand Lotus Iroh gathered its members to liberate Ba Sing Se during the passing of Sozin's Comet at the end of the Hundred Year War. After they helped Sokka, Toph, and Suki by lending them an eel hound in order to arrive at Phoenix King Ozai's airship base, Iroh and Jeong Jeong utilized the power of Sozin's Comet to increase their firebending during the liberation while they worked in conjunction with Pakku utilizing waterbending, King Bumi utilizing earthbending and Piandao utilizing hand-to-hand combat.[2] Shortly after the Hundred Year War's conclusion, the society stopped concealing itself from the public eye and began to serve the world and the Avatar more openly, though some aspects of their operations remained secret.[7]

Avatar Korra's lifetime

After investigating many claims in both the Southern and Northern Water Tribe, all of which turned out to be false, a delegation of three members of the Order of White Lotus traveled to the Southern Water Tribe upon Tonraq and Senna's invitation and they finally discovered Korra to be the next Avatar.[5]

Around 158 AG, the order imprisoned the criminals Ghazan, Ming-Hua, P'Li, and Zaheer in four maximum security facilities for attempting to kidnap the Avatar. These prisons were guarded by White Lotus sentries and held the criminals for thirteen years. The order also attempted to discern the criminals' motives for their kidnapping, but received no answers.[6][8][9]

Katara and the Order of the White Lotus

Despite concerns over her lack of spiritual understanding, the Order of the White Lotus allowed Korra to commence her airbending training.

Tasked by Avatar Aang at the end of his life, the Order of the White Lotus kept the next Avatar safe until he or she had completed his or her training; however, it was Aang's younger son, Tenzin, and the next Avatar's father, Tonraq, who insisted on keeping Korra at the South Pole. As such, the White Lotus directly oversaw Korra's development and training of each element at a compound in the Southern Water Tribe.[5] Acting as her bodyguards, White Lotus sentries were sent to remain with the Avatar on Air Temple Island to watch her actions as she commenced her airbending training under Tenzin's tutelage. At their quarters, the sentries spent a large part of their time listening to the pro-bending broadcasts on the radio. Korra took advantage of the sentries' distraction to leave the island twice, much to Tenzin's annoyance.[10]

White Lotus sentries bending

White Lotus sentries attempted to fight off the Equalists' invasion of Air Temple Island.

As the Equalists attacked Air Temple Island during the battle for Republic City, the White Lotus sentries bravely confronted the Equalist attackers. They launched a barrage of firebending, earthbending, and waterbending attacks, and with the help of Lin Beifong and Tenzin's children, they managed to defeat the first wave of invaders. The tides quickly changed, however, when more Equalists arrived on the island.[11] Realizing the battle was lost, the inhabitants of the island fled by sky bison. Though outnumbered, the White Lotus sentries remained behind in order to give Team Avatar enough time to escape on Naga. However, the sentries were captured and placed in line with other captured benders, awaiting the removal of their bending at the hands of Amon.[12] After the Equalists were defeated, the sentries' bending was restored by Korra using energybending.[13]

Membership

Order of the White Lotus flag

The flag of the Order of the White Lotus features the shape of a lotus flower.

Iroh, a lover of Pai Sho, was a Grand Master and a Grand Lotus of the Order who often advocated that Pai Sho was "more than just a game".[1] Piandao was also an important member of the Order; he offered his student Sokka a white lotus tile as a parting gift, which was symbolic of his membership in the Order. The image of the white lotus on the hilt of Sokka's sword and on the doors of Piandao's estate were also references to Piandao's membership.[14]

Shortly before the arrival of Sozin's Comet, Master Pakku, King Bumi, and Jeong Jeong also accompanied Iroh as members of the organization, although none had shown symbols of the Order when Team Avatar saw them before. Other members were also visible in the campsite.[2]

Seventy years later, the Order was no longer a secret society, and was instead dedicated to protecting the Avatar during their training. Many more members were present in the Order than in the past, including a leader and many sentries that are lower-ranking members of the Order tasked with duties such as guarding the Avatar.[5]

The Order is also responsible for guarding various high-class criminals in specially-designed prisons located all over the world.[15][6]

Uniform

White Lotus sentries

White Lotus sentries watched the arrival of Equalists on Air Temple Island.

During the liberation of Ba Sing Se, the members of the Order all wore a distinct indigo-colored outfit with white details, a similarly colored cape and a Lotus patterned mantle around the shoulders. They also have a flag, bearing an image of the white lotus. Iroh, a Grand Lotus, seemed to have more to his vestments, with indigo-colored armor and a robe under all of the other pieces, based off the white lotus flower.[2]

Over the course of seventy years, the uniforms have changed slightly and vary according to rank. For example, the uniform of a White Lotus sentry includes a cowl with a small insignia on the front, whereas the uniform of a higher-ranking member does not include the headpiece.[5]

Known members

White lotus tile

Use of a white lotus tile during a game of Pai Sho signaled the player to be a member of the order.

Trivia

  • The Order of the White Lotus could be a reference to the White Rose, a non-violent resistance group during the Third Reich in Nazi Germany, or more likely the White Lotus Society from China, which began in the late thirteenth century and was instrumental in various rebellions throughout the centuries.
  • The Order of the White Lotus' organization mimics that of the Freemasons, another allegedly ancient "society of secrets", whose members of many different cultures and views stretch all over the world.
  • In Hinduism, the white lotus flower symbolizes beauty and non-attachment. Beauty is one of the virtues of the Order of the White Lotus and the society is not attached to any government or region. It also represents beauty coming out of murkiness, as in the lotus blooms in algae-filled ponds. This represents great wisdom and team effort rising up despite the somber situation in the world.
  • The organization's initials are OWL, which is an animal that often signifies wisdom. Interestingly, the members of the Order are among the wisest scholars in the Avatar World.
  • Pakku referred to Iroh as a Grand Lotus, a member who has the power to call together the Order. This suggests the possibility there may be more than one Grand Lotus at any given time.[2]
  • All known members of the Order of the White Lotus before the conclusion of the Hundred Year War were masters of their art and most are high-ranking members of their military and society.[2]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Hedrick, Tim (writer) & MacMullan, Lauren (director). (July 14, 2006). "The Desert". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 11. Nickelodeon.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 Ehasz, Aaron (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (July 19, 2008). "Sozin's Comet, Part 2: The Old Masters". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 19. Nickelodeon.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Welcome to Republic City. Nickelodeon (April 6, 2012). Retrieved on April 6, 2012.
  4. Avatar Extras for "The Desert" on Nicktoons Network.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim, Ryu, Ki Hyun (directors). (April 14, 2012). "Welcome to Republic City". The Legend of Korra. Season 1. Episode 1. Nickelodeon.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Hedrick, Tim, Hamilton, Joshua (writers) & Heck, Colin, Zwyer, Melchior (directors). (June 27, 2014). "Rebirth". The Legend of Korra. Season 2. Episode 2. Nickelodeon.
  7. The Legend of Korra—The Art of the Animated Series, Book One: Air, page 34.
  8. Hedrick, Tim (writer) & Graham, Ian. (June 27, 2014). "The Earth Queen". The Legend of Korra. Season 2. Episode 3. Nickelodeon.
  9. Hamilton, Joshua (writer) & Zwyer, Melchior (director). (July 11, 2014). "In Harm's Way". The Legend of Korra. Season 2. Episode 4. Nickelodeon.
  10. DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim, Ryu, Ki Hyun (directors). (April 14, 2012). "A Leaf in the Wind". The Legend of Korra. Season 1. Episode 2. Nickelodeon.
  11. DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim, Ryu, Ki Hyun (directors). (June 16, 2012). "Turning the Tides". The Legend of Korra. Season 1. Episode 10. Nickelodeon.
  12. DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim, Ryu, Ki Hyun (directors). (June 23, 2012). "Skeletons in the Closet". The Legend of Korra. Season 1. Episode 11. Nickelodeon.
  13. Maricela Gonzalez (2013-09-13). 'Legend of Korra' season 2 premiere: The creators answer our burning questions. Retrieved on September 14, 2013.
  14. Hedrick, Tim (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (October 12, 2007). "Sokka's Master". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 4. Nickelodeon.
  15. Hedrick, Tim, Hamilton, Joshua (writers) & Heck, Colin, Zwyer, Melchior (directors). (June 27, 2014). "A Breath of Fresh Air". The Legend of Korra. Season 2. Episode 1. Nickelodeon.

See also

Start a Discussion Discussions about Order of the White Lotus

  • Is Katara a member of the White Lotus?

    2 messages
    • Just a thought. All of Korra's bending masters were in the white lotus as seen in the book 1 premiere. Also, Katara seems like a person who wo...
    • Somehow I doubt it as Katara "grieved" over Aangs death, thus she wouldnt be in the state for teaching the next Avatar, Korra, who was born ri...
  • Make Avatar's prequel

    15 messages
    • I can see a Tales of Republic City because the show's creators really seem to like that place.
    • If we're being literal, then Beginnings was the ultimate prequel. But I would really like to see this. The scenes with Gyatso and Aang w...

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