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128px-Padlock-olive.svg Waterbending emblem Spirit Emblem
"The legends say the moon was the first waterbender. Our ancestors saw how it pushed and pulled the tides and learned how to do it themselves."
Yue to Katara.[1]

Tui, also known as the Moon Spirit, was one of two spirits that reside in the Spirit Oasis at the North Pole within the Northern Water Tribe's capital city. Tui and his counterpart La were among the first spirits to come to the mortal world, and have kept balance in an "eternal dance" ever since. As the Moon Spirit, Tui is the first water bender and the root of all water bending. In the event of Tui's absence, waterbenders would lose their bending ability.[2]

History

Thousands of years before the Hundred Year War, Tui and La chose to manifest themselves in the mortal world to benefit mankind, and took up residence in an alcove within the Northern Water Tribe's capital city. They lived within this spiritual center of the North Pole and took the form of two koi fish.[3] Thus, the Spirit Oasis became the city's most treasured landmark. Tui took the form of a white koi fish with a large black spot on its head.

When Princess Yue was born she was gravely ill and on the brink of death. Her father Chief Arnook, along with her mother brought her to the Spirit Oasis and prayed for the spirits to save her life. Tui answered their prayers and saved the princess by passing on some of his own life force. Yue began to cry for the first time and her hair became white, reflecting the spirits energy now within her. Although Tui had saved Yue, Chief Arnook had a dream that his daughter would one day have to share Tui's place as the Moon Spirit.[2]

Many years later, Admiral Zhao on behalf of the Fire Nation, launched a massive attack on the Northern Water Tribe.[1] The Fire Nation Navy arrived at the capital city, destroying its protective locks and dams to steadily advance into the city's center. Determined to make a legend of himself, Zhao lead his personal guard into the royal palace to kill the Moon Spirit, whose mortal existence he had learned from Wan Shi Tong's Library. Zhao captured Tui, causing the spiritual equivalent of a lunar eclipse and removing the power of all waterbenders. General Iroh intervened and threatened Zhao that any harm inflicted on the spirit would be unleashed on him tenfold. After appearing to head Iroh's warning, Zhao released Tui back into the water of the Oasis. However Zhao then abruptly murdered Tui with a blast of fire bending, much to the horror of Katara, Aang, and Iroh. Tui's death lead to a lapse in spiritual balance and water bending ceased to exist. In anger Iroh lashed out at Zhao and incapacitated his guards. Zhao himself was able to escape during the fighting, and started back towards the coast, where he was eventually confronted and defeated by Zuko. Meanwhile Aang entered the Avatar State and became one entity with La; defeating the Fire Nation invasion and forcing the remaining ships away to sea.[2]

Yue healing Tui

Yue sacrificed her life in order to save the Moon Spirit.

Taking the slain koi fish into his hands, Iroh realized that Yue held some of Tui's life energy inside her. Yue then understood she had the choice and responsibility to return this energy to Tui, thus sacrificing herself in order to resurrect him (over Sokka's personal objections). After Tui had returned to life and the moon restored, Yue's physical form vanished from Sokka's arms, and she transcended as a moon spirit, shared with Tui. In this form she kissed Sokka one last time and disappeared.[2]

Appearances

Avatar: The Last Airbender

Book One: Water (水)

Trivia

  • "Tui" () means "push" in Mandarin Chinese, compared to "La" (), which means "pull". According to Princess Yue, the ancient waterbenders saw the tides push and pull, giving a hint to the two spirits' existence in the tribe.
  • In The Last Airbender, Zhao associated the Moon Spirit with Yang (white, male) and Pull (), a different convention than the animated series; similarly, Yue referred to the Moon Spirit as male.
  • It is ironic that Zhao killed the white, masculine counterpart of the Yin and Yang symbol as in Taoism, it represents the sun and fire, while Yin, the dark and feminine part, represents the moon and water.
  • Including Aang's fatal injury sustained in "The Crossroads of Destiny", from which he was resurrected shortly thereafter, Tui was the first of eight characters to have been observed dying or being murdered in the original series, though she was resurrected soon afterward by Yue's sacrifice. In chronological order, the others were Yue, Chin, Jet, Aang, Roku, Fang, and Combustion Man.
  • The Moon is considered the original waterbender. Members of the Water Tribe used to watch how the Moon pushed and pulled the tides and learned how to do it themselves,[1] which makes waterbending the only bending art that was not learned from an animal species.
  • A petroglyph depicting Tui and La encircling each other was present on the stone wall behind the waterfall in Tarrlok's office.[4]
Preceded by
Position established
Moon Spirit
Unknown - Present
Succeeded by
Shared Role: Yue

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Ehasz, Aaron (writer) & MacMullan, Lauren (director). (December 2, 2005). "The Siege of the North, Part 1". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 19. Nickelodeon.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Ehasz, Aaron (writer) & Filoni, Dave (director). (December 2, 2005). "The Siege of the North, Part 2". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 20. Nickelodeon.
  3. From older Avatar: The Last Airbender official site, originally on Nick.com (link). No longer updated.
  4. DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim, Ryu, Ki Hyun (directors). (June 2, 2012). "When Extremes Meet". The Legend of Korra. Season 1. Episode 8. Nickelodeon.

See also

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