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Serpent's Pass

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Earth Kingdom emblem
This article is about the location. For the episode, see "The Serpent's Pass".

The Serpent's Pass is a narrow strip of land located between the East and West Lakes and serves as one of the few direct paths to Ba Sing Se. It is named after the serpent which guards it, making the pass feared in the Earth Kingdom. During the Hundred Year War, most refugees refused to use the pass, opting instead cross the lake by boat.

History

Serpent

The serpent attacked Team Avatar as they attempted to cross the pass.

Team Avatar decided to travel to Ba Sing Se in order to tell the Earth King their plan to defeat the Fire Nation. However, they ran into an Earth Kingdom refugee named Than, who, along with his sister and pregnant wife Ying, were traveling to Ba Sing Se after losing their home to the Hundred Year War. The group agreed to escort the family to Full Moon Bay so they could get a boat, but their passes and luggage were stolen by thieves and they were all forced to cross the Serpent's Pass instead. The group was joined by Sokka's friend Suki, a member of the Kyoshi Warriors who was overseeing the bay's security. After several nights of close calls along the pass, the group came face-to-face with the serpent itself at the only water passage through the pass. Katara and Avatar Aang succeeded in driving off the serpent, and the group finally made it to the mainland. Ying gave birth to her baby Hope mere minutes after the trek along the pass ended, and everybody went to Ba Sing Se while Suki went back to the bay.[1]

After the Fire Nation conquered Ba Sing Se, they closed the pass to unauthorized ships and travelers.[2]

Aang's friends and fighters from both the Earth Kingdom and the Southern Water Tribe traveled via boat through the Serpent's Pass during their journey to the Fire Nation after the fall of Ba Sing Se. The group was later attacked by a Fire Nation ship and ironically, the same serpent who had attacked them last time came back and saved them from their Fire Nation assailants after firebenders harassed the serpent.[3]

Description

Serpent's Pass entrance

The entrance to the pass is emblazoned with 盤蛇關, meaning "Coiling Serpent Pass".

The Serpent's Pass is one of the few direct paths to the Earth Kingdom's massive capital, Ba Sing Se. The rocky path is treacherous and consists of dangerous cliffs. Despite the plausible implications of its namesake, the Serpent's Pass is not anfractuous like a serpent but a straight line and derives its name from the gigantic serpent that guards it. A large sign bearing the name of the pass is affixed to the entrance, and the words "abandon hope" are carved into one of the posts of the gateway to the pass, serving as a warning to any passersby and adding to the strong fear felt at the location.

Trivia

  • The entrance to the Serpent's Pass, which reads "絕望", is translated as "Abandon Hope". This may be a reference to Dante's Divine Comedy, as the inscription above the gates of hell reads, "All hope abandon ye who enter here."
  • The Serpent's Pass is visually similar to, though much longer than, a real-life isthmus, La Coupée, which connects Sark with Little Sark in the Channel Islands. Like the Serpent's Pass, La Coupée is a high and narrow pass with sea cliffs on both sides. Historically it was very dangerous to cross and people were known to fall off the edge, but now it has a road and railings that make it relatively safer.

References

See also

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