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The Fortuneteller

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This article is about the episode. For the titular character, see Wu.
Aunt Wu reads the clouds
"The Fortuneteller"
Information
Series

Avatar: The Last Airbender

Book

Water

Episode

14/61

Original air date

September 23, 2005

Written by

John O'Bryan, Aaron Ehasz

Directed by

Dave Filoni

Animation

JM Animation

Guest stars

Tsai Chin (Aunt Wu), Jessie Flower (Meng), Clyde Kusatsu (calm man), Cameron Monaghan (the twins - additional voice)

Production number

114

Episode guide
Previous

"The Blue Spirit"

Next

"Bato of the Water Tribe"

Transcript
"The Fortuneteller" is the 14th episode of Book One: Water of Avatar: The Last Airbender and the 14th of the overall series. It debuted on September 23, 2005.

Overview

Aang, Katara, and Sokka travel to a village that relies solely on the predictions of a cloud-reading fortuneteller. Sokka is skeptical and tries to disprove all the predictions. Upon discovering a nearby volcano is about to erupt, Aang and Katara manipulate the clouds as a warning to the oblivious villagers. The group manages to evacuate the village before the volcano erupts.

Synopsis

While camping out beside a river, Katara spots a fish jumping out of the water. Convinced the fish is taunting him, Sokka grabs his fishing rod to catch it, only to realize the fishing line is gone. Aang confesses that he had crafted a necklace for Katara out of Sokka's fishing line to replace the necklace she lost, much to Sokka's annoyance. Sokka attempts to catch the fish by throwing the fishing rod at it; when that proves unsuccessful, he takes out his knife and runs into the water after the fish.

When Katara puts the necklace on, Aang sees her in a completely new way, shedding light on his ever-growing crush on her. Sokka teases Aang by saying, "Smoochy! Smoochy! Someone's in love!" He makes kissing faces at the fish he finally caught, but the fish slaps him with its tail and lands back in the water. However, Katara remains ignorant of Aang's crush, commenting that Aang is only a good friend. She even compares him to Momo, much to Aang's dismay.

Upon hearing loud noises nearby, the trio witnesses an old man being attacked by a huge platypus bear. To their surprise, the man does not express concern, the reason being that Aunt Wu, the village fortuneteller, predicted he would make a safe journey; he ultimately does, as Appa scares the bear away. The man hands them a wrapped umbrella, saying that the fortuneteller told him to give it to any travelers he met, and he subsequently walks away.

The moment Aang opens it, it begins to rain, thus proving the fortuneteller was correct in predicting that some travelers would need the umbrella. Sokka, however, is skeptical, and, in an attempt to debunk the fortune, he remarks that the sky had been cloudy all day, essentially saying that anyone could have predicted it would rain. To emphasize how easy it is to make such a prediction, he makes one of his own: "It's going to keep drizzling." Ironically, the rain immediately stops and the sun comes out.

At Aunt Wu's place, Aang meets Meng, the fortuneteller's assistant. She instantly falls for him, as demonstrated by a romanticized shot of Aang seen from her point-of-view, establishing a love triangle between her, Aang, and Katara.

Meng and Aang

Meng develops a crush on Aang.

Meng develops a crush on Aang solely based on Aunt Wu's prediction that she would marry a man with large ears, and Aang's ears seem large to her. Meng also points out that her name also rhymes with Aang's, which is seemingly another important factor in developing a crush on him.

At that moment, a woman emerges from the other room and tells Meng that she just received a fortune, predicting she would receive a rare panda lily from her true love. Afterward, Aunt Wu comes out and asks the trio who would like to go next. Sokka looks away and Aang looks to Katara, who answers, "I guess that's me."

Aang is quite worried about what Aunt Wu and Katara will talk about, so he consults Sokka for his opinion on what he thinks they will discuss. Sokka says, "Boring stuff, I'm sure: love, who she's going to marry, how many babies she's going to have", confirming Aang's suspicions that they are talking about love. Curious about his role in Katara's future, he makes an excuse that he has to go to the bathroom, but really sneaks off to eavesdrop.

Aunt Wu welcomes Team Avatar

Aunt Wu invites one of the team members to get their fortune read.

After a brief talk about cosmetics, Katara asks Aunt Wu whom she will marry. Aunt Wu says that she can see "a great romance" for her and that the man is "a very powerful bender". Aang is delighted to hear this, and he begins to jump and dance around.

Come Sokka's turn, Aunt Wu predicts that his future will be full of "struggle and anguish, most of it self-inflicted". Aunt Wu subsequently beckons Aang into a private room. She chooses a fortunetelling method which involves throwing a bone into a small fire and observing the cracks. When Aang picks one and throws it in the fire, it explodes.

Aunt Wu explains hysterically that he will be involved in a great battle between the forces of good and evil which will determine the fate of the whole world. Aang, already aware of that, dismisses her prediction, as he is more interested in his future with Katara and whether they will get married. When he asks about love, Aunt Wu says that she did not see anything. Upon noticing Aang's disappointment, she grabs a piece of shattered bone and tells him that she missed the crack on it, explaining to Aang the crack means that if he trusts his heart, he will be with the one he loves.

Later that day, Sokka complains about fortunetelling being a hoax. While ranting that his life will be joyful instead of full of self-inflicted pain as Aunt Wu predicted, he kicks a pebble; ironically, it ricochets off of a sign and hits him in the head.

Mt. Makapu

The people of Makapu Village have complete confidence in Aunt Wu's predictions.

The group notices a crowd of people gathering in the town. They learn that it is time again for the annual cloud reading, a ritual in which Aunt Wu predicts the fate of the villagers by studying cloud formations. She reads the clouds, and one of her predictions is that Mt. Makapu would not destroy the village that year. Since the town believes in Aunt Wu's fortunetelling ability, they all begin to cheer, as they have no doubt she is right.

Later, Katara becomes obsessed with Aunt Wu's predictions, as she repeatedly asks her for more readings. Sokka remains very skeptical of fortunetelling while Aang, discouraged that Katara seems to have no special feelings for him, asks Sokka for some advice. He tells him that the best way to get a girl is by acting aloof, thinking that the girl in question is Meng. When Katara comes by, Aang acts like he does not notice her, but Katara remains oblivious to his feelings. Aang decides to get her a panda lily on the rim of the volcano with Sokka, but when they reach the top of the mountain, they discover that the volcano is in fact going to erupt, contrary to Aunt Wu's prediction. They rush back down to the town to inform everyone of what they saw, but no one believes them because they still have complete confidence in Aunt Wu's predictions.

Knowing that the only person the villagers will listen to is Aunt Wu, Aang decides to steal her cloud reading book. Meng comes up from behind him and admits that she has been stalking him the whole time, but knows that he does not like her; Aang did, however, respond to her clearly let-down feelings by saying that she would easily find a great man in the future. Using the book, Katara and Aang manipulate the clouds with a combination of waterbending and airbending. They convince Aunt Wu to make a second reading, which of course now tells her that the volcano is going to erupt. Aang and Sokka quickly organize the village's earthbenders, as well as anyone capable of digging, to make a giant trench around the village to redirect the lava. Just as the lava surges over the trench, Aang unleashes a massive gust of wind to cool the lava, solidifying it into a giant wall. Sokka mentions offhand that he sometimes forgets how powerful a bender Aang really is, and Katara is struck with realization about the love fortune Aunt Wu gave her.

Aang inhales

Aang employs a powerful airbending move in order to save Makapu Village.

Aang sheepishly hands back the guide for cloud-reading to Aunt Wu, but instead of being reprimanded by the woman, she praises him. Aang tells her of his suspicions that earlier, she had never actually seen love in his future and merely made something up to make him feel better. To this, Aunt Wu tells him that like how he reshaped the clouds, he could shape his own destiny.

Sokka happily tells the villagers that Aunt Wu was wrong, but a man, who they had encountered earlier when a platypus bear was attacking him, says that the village was not destroyed, as Aunt Wu predicted; she never claimed the volcano would not erupt, only that it would not destroy the village. Sokka retorts with an aggravated "I hate you", and Katara drags him away. With that, the trio leaves the village to continue their northern journey. Meng and Katara wish each other goodbye, and as Appa flies away, Meng's final comment is that Katara is a floozy.

Credits

Production notes

Transcript

Main article: Transcript:The Fortuneteller

Translations

Main article: Writing in the World of Avatar

Series continuity

  • Though Aang battles against a volcanic eruption for the first time in his life, it is the second known time for an Avatar; the other occurrence was when Avatar Roku fought to protect his home in "The Avatar and the Fire Lord".
  • The parasol given to Aang by the traveler is seen again in "Appa's Lost Days" when the sandbenders raid Appa's saddle for loot.
  • Aang and Katara use the fact that clouds comprise of water and air to bend them for the first time in the series. They use this knowledge again in "The Desert" to bend the water for the group to drink while stranded in the Si Wong Desert. Later in the series, during their travels around the Fire Nation in Book Three, they frequently employ cloud manipulation to disguise Appa and avoid the risk of being spotted.
  • Meng is the second girl to have a crush on Aang; the first was Koko, a Kyoshi Island resident, seen in "The Warriors of Kyoshi".
  • Aunt Wu's prediction that Katara would marry a powerful bender foreshadows the development of Aang and Katara's relationship over the series and specifically the last scene of the series.
  • This is one of the few episodes in either series which has no antagonists.
  • Notably, none of Aunt Wu's predictions are proven false throughout the franchise.

Goofs

  • The necklace Aang makes for Katara, which she wears at the beginning of the episode, disappears once they arrive at Aunt Wu's village.
  • After rescuing the calm man from the platypus bear, Sokka's bone knife sheath disappears and reappears from shot to shot.
  • When Sokka emerges from the river, he is soaking wet. However, when he is yelling at the calm man in the next scene, he is completely dry; he is never shown drying off.
  • When Team Avatar first meets Aunt Wu and she asks, "Who's next?", Katara's braid disappears.
  • In the shot depicting Team Avatar leaving Aunt Wu's building after having their fortunes told, the door to the building is a strikingly bright red; in an earlier scene and throughout the rest of the episode, the door is a mere rusty brown color.
  • When the gang gathers the villagers to warn them about the eruption, the woman who speaks first is initially wearing a purple and pink robe; when she speaks again, it turns green. Her robe continues to change colors several more times.
  • When Aang realizes Mt. Makapu will erupt and drops the panda lily into the volcano, the flower is replaced by CGI flames when it hits the surface of the magma.
  • During the volcanic eruption, the trees should be on fire, but they are not.

Trivia

  • Aang and Katara are seen sharing an umbrella in this episode. Sharing an umbrella is an old romantic motif ("Ai-Ai-Gasa") in Japanese history[1] and is commonly used in manga and anime.
  • The volcano is called Mt. Makapu. Meaning 'bulging eye' in Hawaiian, Makapu'u is a name given to the extreme eastern end of the Island of Oʻahu in the Hawaiian Islands.
  • A special sneak-peek of this episode was featured at the 2005 San Diego Comic-Con.[2]
  • In ancient China, osteomancy, a type of pyromancy, was practiced in the Neolithic period and Shāng and Zhōu dynasties in the form of burning or heating oracle bones—usually the scapulae (shoulder blades) of oxen or turtle shells—to produce cracks which were read as portents. This was the form used by Aunt Wu to see the future.
  • Katara reveals in this episode that she hates papayas.
  • The statues seen being burned by the lava flow bear resemblance to real-life statues called daruma, which are commonly seen in Japanese shinto shrines.
  • It is definitively shown that even with identical twins, one can be born a bender while the other is not. Of course, this would not apply to Air Nomad twins, who would always be born as airbenders.
  • When the title of this episode appears, it lasts less time than any other episode title lasted for throughout the series.
  • Jessie Flower, the voice of Meng, would later join the main cast as Toph Beifong.
  • When Meng sees Aang for the first time, the shot of Aang from her point-of-view is similar to the romanticized shot of Katara seen from Aang's point-of-view, which came earlier in the episode when she put on her new necklace.
  • When Sokka kicks a pebble and it bounces off a nearby sign, hitting him in the head, the Chinese character on the sign ironically reads "", which roughly means "a good blessing".

References

  1. METMuseum.org
  2. P1011824. San Diego Comic-Con 2005. ASM (2005-07-19). Retrieved on August 7, 2013.

Start a Discussion Discussions about The Fortuneteller

  • The Fortune Teller

    8 messages
    • The Air Nomad Critic wrote:She is the eldest, it would make sense for her to have kids by the end of LoK, fairly grown up ones at that. While I...
    • Mvs109 wrote:That fluffy bunny of distruction cloud: Monty Python anyone? Ha ha. [1]  There is a Monty Python reference in there.
  • Aang, Roku and Volcanoes

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    • Even the Avatar State has limits. The most we've see out of it, waterbending-wise, is the production of large waves. But yes, I suppose he co...
    • BINGO!!! i forgot about those guys...yeah, that's basically what i was thinking of. :)

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