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The Siege of the North, Part 1

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This article is about the first episode of the Book One: Water finale. For the second part of the finale, see "The Siege of the North, Part 2". For the battle, see Siege of the North.
Black snow clouds
"The Siege of the North, Part 1"
Information
Series

Avatar: The Last Airbender

Book

Water

Episode

19/61

Original air date

December 2, 2005

Written by

John O'Bryan

Directed by

Lauren MacMullan

Animation

DR Movie

Guest stars

Mako (Uncle), Jason Isaacs (Admiral Zhao), Jon Polito (Chief Arnook), Victor Brandt (Master Pakku), Johanna Braddy (Princess Yue), Ben Diskin (Hahn)

Production number

119

Episode guide
Previous

"The Waterbending Master"

Next

"The Siege of the North, Part 2"

Transcript
"The Siege of the North, Part 1" is the 19th episode of Book One: Water of Avatar: The Last Airbender and the 19th of the overall series. It debuted on December 2, 2005.

Overview

The Fire Nation's massive armada prepares to attack the Northern Water Tribe at dawn. The Tribe readies its defenses, and Sokka volunteers to be a warrior after Yue explains that she cannot contact him anymore. With Iroh at his side, Zhao leads the invasion, battling Water Tribe forces for the entire day. Meanwhile, Zuko infiltrates the tribe on his own, seeking to capture Aang. Aang believes venturing into the Spirit World and speaking to the Moon and Ocean Spirits might give him the wisdom to defeat the Fire Nation. After Aang's spirit leaves for the Spirit World, Zuko manages to kidnap his body.

Synopsis

The scene opens with a pan over the Northern Water Tribe, which moves to a sparring match between an anxious young man and a confident Katara. After Katara swiftly defeats her opponent by encasing him in a tall ice formation, Master Pakku releases the student, Sangok, unceremoniously on his back. Pakku asks the other students if any of them felt up to facing Katara again. Hearing no response, Master Pakku tells Katara that she has progressed faster than any other student he has had and that her hard work and determination have paid off in ways that raw talent alone cannot. Seeing Aang playing with Momo, Master Pakku cynically asks Aang if he wishes to face Katara, since he must have mastered waterbending already if he is playing with "house pets". Unconcerned by Pakku's tone, Aang responds by saying he would not consider himself a master of waterbending, but that he has something to show Pakku. He proceeds to bend snow around himself as if he were a snowman, which does not impress either Master Pakku or Katara.

Meanwhile, Sokka is walking on the ledge of an ice bridge as Princess Yue walks on the bridge beside him. She asks if there are any palaces in the Southern Water Tribe, to which Sokka replies, "I grew up on a block of ice. It's not exactly a cultural hub." As Sokka comes down from the ledge, Yue touches his shoulder and laughs at his statement. However, her smile turns to a frown, as she explains that what they are doing is wrong because she is engaged to another person. Undeterred, Sokka expresses that they are just friends and that he would like for her to meet another of his friends, Appa.

Sokka and Yue on Appa

Sokka and Yue ride on Appa.

The two converse as they climb into Appa's saddle, and Sokka introduces Yue to the joys of flying with a simple, "Yip yip". She is amazed, but wonders if it is always cold when flying, scooting closer to Sokka, who softly replies, "Not when you're with someone." They look into each other's eyes and move toward a kiss, but when they realize what is about to happen, they blush and quickly try to change the subject. Sokka quickly notices that gray snow has begun to fall from the sky, expressing concern at it.

Meanwhile, at the Northern Water Tribe city, more of the same gray snow falls. While Aang is rolling in the snow around Momo, Momo eats one of the gray particles and coughs it out, which attracts Aang's attention. The water fountains have turned gray as a result of this unusual snowfall, and Water Tribe citizens look on wonderingly. Sokka and Yue have landed on a nearby glacier, and Sokka tells Yue he recognizes the gray as soot from Fire Nation ships mixed with snow, as the soot fell from the sky when the Fire Nation attacked his village. He tells Yue the Fire Nation has closed in on the North Pole, and, from what he sees, there are a lot of ships headed toward them. A huge gray cloud grows in the distance.

Several Fire Nation ships sail through the water, and Admiral Zhao sinisterly tells General Iroh that they are in the process of writing history, as they will be destroying the last of the Water Tribe civilization. Iroh warns Zhao that history is not always kind to its subjects, to which Zhao condescendingly assures that this will not be like Iroh's legendary failure at Ba Sing Se; Iroh ominously tells Zhao he hopes not, for Zhao's sake. Zhao tells Iroh to tell the captain to prepare for first strike, and Iroh departs. Subsequently, Iroh finds Zuko in disguise as a guard and tells him they will be landing soon, inquiring if Zuko has a plan, to which he replies, "I'm working on it, Uncle."

Back at the Northern Water Tribe, a large drum adorned with the Water Tribe's insignia is beaten as citizens rush to the main gathering hall. As Sokka and Yue head up the steps, Yue abruptly stops to tell Sokka they cannot see each other because being around him makes her too confused, as she is engaged, yet likes him as more than a friend.

At the gathering hall, Chief Arnook tells the citizens that war is upon them and he is saddened to know that some of the faces he sees may vanish in the next few days. He calls upon the Ocean and Moon Spirits to be with them as they face the battle for their existence. When the chief asks for volunteers for a dangerous mission, Sokka is first to stand and offer to fight, despite Katara's objection. As Sokka receives his mark from the chief signifying his acceptance to join the mission, Yue looks on as he heads back to his seat, but looks away moments later, blinking tears from her eyes.

Northern Water Tribe warriors

Northern Water Tribe warriors prepare for battle.

As they await the first strike from the Fire Nation, Chief Arnook remarks to Aang that the stillness before battle is unbearable. In response, Aang admits that he was not with his people when they were attacked by the Fire Nation and emphatically states that this time he will make a difference. Finally, as the Water Tribe warriors look on, there is a sound as the first fireball is launched. The fireball strikes the middle of the Northern Water Tribe emblem on the outer wall, throwing many back by the blast. A second fireball lands in the heart of the city. As the third approaches, Aang yells, "Yip yip", to Appa, and they head out to face the Fire Nation Navy.

Several fireballs are launched by the lead ship, and as Aang approaches, he manages to deflect one fireball into the nearby ice cap. He leaps off Appa, expands his glider, and maneuvers between soldiers' fire blasts as he lands on the deck and sweeps away those attacking him. After several maneuvers disabling the fireball catapults on the lead ship, Aang is trapped against a trebuchet with chains thrown by an attacker. Appa suddenly appears out of nowhere, grabs the attacker, and throws him overboard. At that moment, the ship is encased in ice by approaching waterbenders. Aang leaps aboard Appa to head to the next ship, but is shocked to find hundreds Fire Nation ships on the horizon.

Meanwhile, Chief Arnook addresses the recruits for the mission, revealing they will be infiltrating the fleet disguised as Fire Nation soldiers. Sokka inadvertently laughs upon seeing the Fire Nation uniform they are to wear. After demonstrating his knowledge of the Fire Nation military, Sokka is told to brief Hahn, the warrior modeling the antiquated Fire Nation uniform, on all Fire Nation information to be used for the mission. Chief Arnook instructs Hahn to show Sokka respect, as he expects nothing less from his future son-in-law. Shocked at the revelation that Hahn is the person engaged to Yue, Sokka offers insincere congratulations to him.

Fire Navy attacks

Zhao's fleet attacks the Northern Water Tribe.

As night approaches, Iroh advises Zhao to cease the attack, as waterbenders draw strength from the moon, which is nearing its full phase. Zhao states that he is aware of the moon problem and currently is working on a solution, but agrees to halt the attack until morning.

Returning from battle, Aang is exhausted and frustrated, stating he was only able to take out about a dozen ships. He begins to doubt his ability to help the Water Tribe hold off the Fire Nation attack, as he is "just one kid".

Deep in the hold of Zhao's ship, Zuko has removed his Fire Nation soldier uniform and is preparing for his solo journey into the Water Tribe city to capture the Avatar. Iroh expresses his concern for Zuko, saying that he only nags Zuko because since the loss of his own son, he sees Zuko as his own. Zuko acknowledges his uncle's statement and says he will meet Iroh again after he has the Avatar.

Back in the Water Tribe warrior barracks, Hahn arrogantly informs Sokka about the perks of marrying Yue, which only serves to anger Sokka. Not fully comprehending his insensitivity toward the princess, Hahn insults Sokka by insinuating that he lacks the ability to understand their tribe's way of functioning. Sokka lunges at Hahn, calling him a "jerk without a soul". The fight continues until Chief Arnook breaks it up and tells Sokka he is off the mission.

Zuko maneuvers his kayak to the shores of the ice cap just next to the base of the Water Tribe outer wall and observes turtle seals diving into an opening in the ice. Knowing the creatures must come up for air somewhere; Zuko takes a deep breath and dives in.

Spirit Oasis

The Spirit Oasis is where Tui and La, spirits of the moon and ocean, reside.

While looking at the nearly full moon, Yue tells Aang and Katara about the legend of the moon teaching waterbending to the people of the Water Tribes by observing the push and pull on the ocean by the moon. Suddenly, Aang realizes that perhaps the spirits can help him on his quest to save the Water Tribe. Yue says she may know of a place where Aang can reach the spirits, and proceeds to lead him and Katara to the most spiritual place in the entire North Pole – a verdant garden. Aang is ecstatic to see grass again, and Katara is amazed at how warm it is there. Aang begins to meditate at the base of the oasis pool containing two koi fish – one black, one white – swimming in a circle.

Zuko manages to find where the turtle seals come up for air – an underground cave. He uses his "breath of fire" technique to ward off the effects of his icy swim, and begins to work his way up an opening with water rushing through.

As Sokka sharpens his boomerang, Chief Arnook approaches him for a special task: guarding his daughter, Princess Yue. To this, Sokka humbly agrees.

Zuko ascends to an air pocket in the freezing water and catches his breath. He spots another passage up under the water and heads through, but is met with an ice barrier. Using his firebending, Zuko melts the ice and breaks through, resting briefly, having successfully breached the Northern Water Tribe.

Katara and Zuko fight

Katara tries to protect Aang.

As Aang tries to get into the Spirit World through meditation, Katara and Yue's conversation distracts him, but after he shouts at them to be quiet, they comply. Aang focuses on the koi fish, and he finally enters the Spirit World after noticing the similarity of the two fish to yin and yang. Upon seeing Aang's eyes and tattoos glow, Yue asks Katara if they should get some help, but Katara says she can protect Aang. At that moment, Zuko suddenly walks in. Yue leaves to get help as Katara and Zuko begin to battle. Zuko realizes Katara's skill level has greatly advanced from earlier encounters, and he is eventually encased in ice. However, as the sun rises, Zuko manages to melt his way out of Katara's trap and overpower her, forcing her against a gate post with a fire blast and knocking her out. He says, "You rise with the moon, I rise with the sun", takes Aang's body, and escapes from the oasis.

In the meantime, Fire Nation ships break through the Water Tribe's outer wall and rush in to attack. Back on his command ship, Zhao states the city will fall today despite any efforts to fight off the inevitable.

Katara regains consciousness, only to find Aang gone. Sokka and Yue approach on Appa, and Katara tells them that Zuko has Aang. Zuko, currently traveling in a polar ice cap surrounding the city, carries Aang through a blizzard as snow falls from an ominous, cloud-filled sky.

Credits

  • Additional voices:
    • Dee Bradley Baker
    • Victor Brandt
    • Scott McAfee (only appearance)
    • Jon Polito (misspelled "John")

Production notes

Transcript

Main article: Transcript:The Siege of the North, Part 1

Series continuity

  • While fighting in the ocean, some of the waterbenders stop a Fire Nation battleship the same way the shipwreck seen in "The Boy in the Iceberg" was encased.
  • The marks on the foreheads of the Northern Water Tribe warriors are the same type of marks Bato gave Aang, Katara, and Sokka in "Bato of the Water Tribe".

Goofs

  • When Iroh is talking with Zhao on the boat, the pin on his cloak is a gold and red emblem of the Fire Nation, but in the next episode, the pin is black and red on the same cloak.
  • Zuko's injuries have not healed at all since "The Waterbending Master", despite the fact that several weeks have passed since he sustained them.
  • After Arnook tells the rest of the tribe about the arrival of the Fire Nation, Yue's betrothal necklace is not around her neck. The necklace appears when she looks at Sokka receiving his warrior marks, but after Sokka looks back at her, the necklace is gone again.
  • While Chief Arnook is talking about the impending attack, Yue is sitting on her knees, but in the next shot, she is sitting in an Indian-style position.
  • Chief Arnook places three fingers in the cup of red coating at once to give the warrior marks, as demonstrated with the first volunteer. Afterward, however, only two of his fingertips are seen to be red and Sokka and the other volunteers are first given two marks, followed by the third.
  • When Sokka looks back at Yue after receiving his warrior marks, the marks are gone. After closing up on Yue's face, the marks are back on his forehead. Also, after the second fireball, when Sokka is searching for Katara, who is under the snow, his warrior marks have disappeared again.
  • While riding on Appa, Aang's glider is on the flying bison's neck, but in the next scene, Aang is holding it.
  • When Aang jumps off Appa to attack the Fire Navy ships, his staff momentarily turns orange.
  • When the camera pans up to show the full armada, a different design is on the flag atop the ship Aang stopped.
  • When Katara goes to comfort Aang after his battle with the Fire Navy, her braid is missing.
  • When Sokka attacks Hahn, he has front bangs for one scene.
  • When Katara and Yue glare at Momo for fishing in the Spirit Oasis, most of Momo's colors are reversed: his back is black, while his belly is white.
  • When Katara and Yue are talking while Aang meditates, the bottom of their outfits become gray.
  • When Katara tells Yue that Aang is crossing into the Spirit World, her necklace's carving disappears.
  • When Zhao watches the sun rise, his hair is gray in one shot but turns brown again in the next.

Trivia

  • The commentary involving Sangok's performance and a sea sponge is a subtle reference to SpongeBob SquarePants, another Nickelodeon cartoon, while in the German translation, Pakku refers to a starfish. This is also a reference to the cartoon, as SpongeBob's best friend is a starfish.
  • An old Nickelodeon website referred to this episode as "The Northern Water Tribe", but it went on to call the next episode by its working title, "The Siege of the North, Part 2".[1]
  • When Arnook says some faces will disappear from the tribe forever, close-ups were shown of Yue, Pakku, and Hahn; all three did disappear from the tribe. Yue sacrificed her life to revive the Moon Spirit, Hahn unintentionally threw himself overboard after Zhao stepped out of the way when he tried to kill him, and Pakku left for the Southern Water Tribe, where he reunited with Kanna and married her instead of returning to the Northern Water Tribe.
  • In the dialogue between Hahn and Sokka, Hahn pronounces Sokka's name incorrectly by elongating the "O", which is the Asian pronunciation and how it is pronounced in the film, The Last Airbender.
  • This two part episode is Michael Dante DiMartino's favorite episode, as he described it as an awesome way to end the first book.
  • When talking about asking the spirits for help, Aang jokingly suggests that the spirits will "unleash a crazy amazing spirit attack on the Fire Nation". This is exactly what ends the siege in the second part, as the Ocean Spirit devastates the Fire Navy through a spiritual link-up with Aang.
  • During a brief part where Sokka is marked to join the mission, an instrumental version of Iroh's song, "Four Seasons", plays in the background.

References

  1. Nick.com archives. Nickelodeon. Retrieved on January 1, 2013. Archived from the original on April 27, 2006.

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