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  • This is a pretty stupid question, and i don't know if they answer it in LOK since i haven't watched the entire thing yet.

    But, in TLA, how aren't there Waterbenders being born in the Firenation, or the other way around? If bending is PARTIALLY heritage, then what's the other part? When the Firenation took over certain parts of the Earth Kingdom, were there suddently little fire babies being born in random households all over the Earth Kingdom? What if an Airbender was born into a Earthbending family? Also, is everyone living in the Airnomads related? I mean, how does anyone else get up there if Airbenders can only be born in two different places????

    In LOK, Mako and Bolin are different types of benders because they come from a 'interacial family', right? But does that just mean that in TLA there were no family started by two different benders ANYWHERE? AT ALL?

    Also, they say that every type of benders learnt from animals/the moon in the beginning, and since Toph learnt metal bending that must still be possible. So, why weren't there waterbenders all over the Firenation? Did they just NOT HAVE WATER OR A MOON THERE? Sure, most of them could have moved but Jesus, who moves across the map for that??

    AND WHAT ABOUT THE FOGGY SWAMP TRIBE? THEY WERE BORN IN THE EARTH KINGDOM???

    If anyone has any theories or just a canon answer PLEASE TELL ME, i've LITERALLY BEEN THINKING ABOUT THIS SINCE 2007 I'M GOING CRAZY... Thanks.

    EDIT: Thanks for all of this information! I have alot to learn haha.

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    • If bending is PARTIALLY heritage, then what's the other part?

      What in the world are you talking about? Heritage is the exact explanation. You don't have waterbenders being born in the Fire Nation or to "random" households because that's not how genetics works. The only known exceptions come in Books 2 & 3 of Legend of Korra.

      Also, is everyone living in the Airnomads related?

      Every living thing is related, it's just a question of how long ago the last common ancestor was. You are, on average, a 50th cousin from any given person.

      But does that just mean that in TLA there were no family started by two different benders ANYWHERE? AT ALL?

      They existed, but they weren't common. See: The Promise.

      Also, they say that every type of benders learnt from animals/the moon in the beginning, and since Toph learnt metal bending that must still be possible.

      What does metalbending have to do with anything? They just learn how to effectively use the power they're already capable of from the moon or badgermoles or what have you. Think of it like tiger style. The tiger is not the reason you have hands, it just (indirectly) teaches you how to use them.

      The actual power comes from a mutation event, & 2 specific mutation events are detailed in Books 2 & 3. The former details the origin of bending, though seemingly random people were affected by the latter. The most common theories for this are that those people had a common ancestor with the type of bender they became or had lifestyles somehow more attuned to that group that made them susceptible to the change. That is as far as I can say without spoiling anything.

      AND WHAT ABOUT THE FOGGY SWAMP TRIBE? THEY WERE BORN IN THE EARTH KINGDOM???

      Behind the scenes material indicates they were ancient migrants from the Northern Tribe that settled in the swamp. The Southern Tribe likewise migrated from the original settlement in the north in ancient times.

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    • It's partially heritage, partially spirituality. But you still have to be descended from the nation of your respective element.

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    • Yeah, bending is solely based on heritage/genetics, so it doesn't matter where specifically one is born, but who their ancestors were. This becomes clearer in book 2 of Korra so I won't spoil all of it, but water/earth/fire/air benders almost always come from their respective nation only because that nation's ancesotors were the only ones given the ability to bend their element. We also have to clarify that the moon/sky bisons/dragons/badger moles were the original masters and the original benders ONLY. Bending is a ability one is BORN with, you can't just learn it. For example, Toph learned how to bend earth well and became a master by studying badger moles, but they didn't give her the ability to bend, she was born with it. Sokka and fire nation citizens can't learn waterbending because they weren't born with it, not because they haven't studied the moon (note: not everyone born from bending ancestors can bend themselves (like Sokka). Who inherits it does indeed appear to just be random). Finally, Toph could learn/create metalbending only because it's a subelement of earth (which she was born with the ability to bend). She didn't invent a new bending element all together, only refined earthbending for a new use (haha, get it, refined like metal :)). The same applies to other sub elements like lightning, blood, etc.

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    • Neo Bahamut wrote:
      If bending is PARTIALLY heritage, then what's the other part?

      What in the world are you talking about? Heritage is the exact explanation. You don't have waterbenders being born in the Fire Nation or to "random" households because that's not how genetics works. The only known exceptions come in Books 2 & 3 of Legend of Korra.


      Also, is everyone living in the Airnomads related?

      Every living thing is related, it's just a question of how long ago the last common ancestor was. You are, on average, a 50th cousin from any given person.


      But does that just mean that in TLA there were no family started by two different benders ANYWHERE? AT ALL?

      They existed, but they weren't common. See: The Promise.


      Also, they say that every type of benders learnt from animals/the moon in the beginning, and since Toph learnt metal bending that must still be possible.

      What does metalbending have to do with anything? They just learn how to effectively use the power they're already capable of from the moon or badgermoles or what have you. Think of it like tiger style. The tiger is not the reason you have hands, it just (indirectly) teaches you how to use them.

      The actual power comes from a mutation event, & 2 specific mutation events are detailed in Books 2 & 3. The former details the origin of bending, though seemingly random people were affected by the latter. The most common theories for this are that those people had a common ancestor with the type of bender they became or had lifestyles somehow more attuned to that group that made them susceptible to the change. That is as far as I can say without spoiling anything.


      AND WHAT ABOUT THE FOGGY SWAMP TRIBE? THEY WERE BORN IN THE EARTH KINGDOM???

      Behind the scenes material indicates they were ancient migrants from the Northern Tribe that settled in the swamp. The Southern Tribe likewise migrated from the original settlement in the north in ancient times.

      Eyy, thanks for all this, finally got some things cleared up. I'm glad to find alot of people who know the reason behind all of this stuff, since i basically just watch/read the same thing again and again without actually looking up the meaning, hehe. And for the 'partially heritage' thing, i saw an interview where they talked about it. The writers have said so many different things about this specific thing, and the earliest interview was the one where they gave the most under-detailed description of it, basically just saying it was depended on a whole lot of different things, and that heritage was only one of them? This was wayyy back however, and i guess they just developed it more. (i'll try and link to the interview if i find it again.)

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    • DaiLiAgent wrote:
      It's partially heritage, partially spirituality. But you still have to be descended from the nation of your respective element.

      Does anyone know how far it can go, though? Like, how far can one element be passed down before eventually fading away, considering a non-bender can give birth to a bender and the other way around? 

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    • Iroh3 wrote:
      Yeah, bending is solely based on heritage/genetics, so it doesn't matter where specifically one is born, but who their ancestors were. This becomes clearer in book 2 of Korra so I won't spoil all of it, but water/earth/fire/air benders almost always come from their respective nation only because that nation's ancesotors were the only ones given the ability to bend their element. We also have to clarify that the moon/sky bisons/dragons/badger moles were the original masters and the original benders ONLY. Bending is a ability one is BORN with, you can't just learn it. For example, Toph learned how to bend earth well and became a master by studying badger moles, but they didn't give her the ability to bend, she was born with it. Sokka and fire nation citizens can't learn waterbending because they weren't born with it, not because they haven't studied the moon (note: not everyone born from bending ancestors can bend themselves (like Sokka). Who inherits it does indeed appear to just be random). Finally, Toph could learn/create metalbending only because it's a subelement of earth (which she was born with the ability to bend). She didn't invent a new bending element all together, only refined earthbending for a new use (haha, get it, refined like metal :)). The same applies to other sub elements like lightning, blood, etc.

      Is there answers/theories of how long one can go when discovering 'new ways' of bending? Toph discovered she could bend metal, bloodbending is a thing, and it is possible for firebenders to lead and or basically create lightning, so faaar into the future is there a possibility of being able to do all types of weird stuff as long as you find a way to lead something back to the base element?

      Have they mentioned this as a possibility, because that would be AMAZING :D

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    • Eyy, thanks for all this, finally got some things cleared up. I'm glad to find alot of people who know the reason behind all of this stuff,

      What is a Wiki for if not sharing information?

      And for the 'partially heritage' thing, i saw an interview where they talked about it.

      It might be the one I reference in this, though I warn you, there are (fairly minor) spoilers in it. Yeah, the question of how inheriting bending works came up so much that eventually I created a post to archive all of the answers & citations I routinely gave.

      Pretty sure one of the things I elaborate on in here is how it's possible for something to be inherited entirely through genes but still altered by other things. But just as an example off the top of my head, you have trouble seeing in the dark, & an easy time in the light, but the level of light is not the cause of your ability to see.

      Like, how far can one element be passed down before eventually fading away, considering a non-bender can give birth to a bender and the other way around?

      So you can have what's called "gene extinction," where the gene just vanishes from the population, but it's not really a matter of time. It's just that, through sheer random chance, it is possible that a species will eventually produce a generation in which nobody passed down the gene. Of course, the opposite can also occur--the gene becomes so common that it's virtually impossible to "lose" it. This is called fixation.

      The gene can also be lost through mutation, & if the gene has a positive/negative effect on reproductive success, that can respectively increase/decrease the probability of fixation.

      Is there answers/theories of how long one can go when discovering 'new ways' of bending?

      I would argue that such a thing is incalculable, because all of the variables are unknown. For example, are there subskills beyond metalbending & lavabending? It's possible, perhaps even probable. But it's also possible there isn't, that there is a point at which there's nothing new to learn. Discovering a new technique will inform you that the new technique is possible, but it's not really possible to determine if you're at the "end of the line," so to speak. You can go for a hundred, a thousand, a million years without discovering a new technique & all you really know is that you didn't discover one. It could be that there's nothing to discover, but it could be that you just haven't found it yet.

      Rate of invention also isn't constant. It's affected by the culture, access to education, people's ingenuity, & sheer random chance. Take the case of Hama, for instance. She was a particularly clever waterbender imprisoned in a cell which would require her to invent a new method to escape, she just happened to discover the necessary methods to train herself in bloodbending, & she was motivated enough to break any cultural taboo that waterbenders might have had. If even 1 of those factors was different--say that Hama never realized the correlation between the full moon & her waterbending--then she would not have invented bloodbending, & most likely it would still be undiscovered by Korra's time.

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    • RiverFields wrote: Is there answers/theories of how long one can go when discovering 'new ways' of bending? Toph discovered she could bend metal, bloodbending is a thing, and it is possible for firebenders to lead and or basically create lightning, so faaar into the future is there a possibility of being able to do all types of weird stuff as long as you find a way to lead something back to the base element?

      Have they mentioned this as a possibility, because that would be AMAZING :D

      Haha, yeah that'd be sweet :). And, well, yes! As long as enough of the original element is present you could find a way to bend it. So in theory, yeah, if you're creative enough new ways to bend could continue to be created.

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    • Opps, I didn't see Neo's more in depth answer to that first, but I completely agree

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    • An anonymous contributor
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