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The True Heart

“Those Waterbenders were just like you, attempting to justify the slaughter of many for the gain of the few. I will not let you continue terrorizing the world!"

- Zhentu addresses Jiang Rha ; The Capital Part 4 - The True Heart

And just like that, from the lips of a minor/supporting character, The Bos provides us with the summation of the entire series Guardian: the supreme realization that the fight for peace is really nothing else than a plea for justice and freedom. The casual reader may choose to be content with the amazing fights, the scale of the work, or the perfectly captured canon characters. They are magnificent, so that is fine. However, I would argue that this single line helps makes the case that Guardian's value transcends that of a mere display of writing chops. For the enlightened reader, it provides for a deep reflexive look into the monster that is human greed.

Throughout the course of the series, we are shown that balance is not just a state of inertia – a stagnant, static cohabitation of the elements or the nations. True balance is the active and conscious effort to afford each people and each individual a fair apportionment of truth, serenity and dignity. Those who would tip the scale may do so for any number of reasons. For Mitros , it was pain, loss, and a desire for revenge – a misguided, misanthropic drive pushing him to seek retribution his family, lost in the wake of an attempted genocide. For Long Feng and the Dai Li, it was greed – the desire to exert control and dominion over others, overextending the reach of their appointment, like so many others who have become corrupted in the public service. As for Ozai, Jiang Rha and the Phoenix Warriors, it is pride – that wicked belief that we are, in fact, superior to the next person… In every case, the peace and prosperity of many become trampled in favor of the aspirations and well-being of the few, just like the lady who would have her impoverished, starving subjects “eat cake”, or the CEO who played with his company's stock to his advantage…

A good author would be content to be able to deliver such a powerful message in a competent fashion. However, a closer look will reveal an additional layer of complexity to The Bos’s work in this third and final book of the series: balance begins in the person. Just like in the canon, Zuko would be able to restore balance to the World only after he had restored it within himself. An especially poignant moment is when Zuko takes out his family’s picture and “makes peace” with each of them in his own way. This is a key moment for Zuko, since he discovers the value of acceptance. Acceptance must not be confused with approval. Zuko might not necessarily be happy or satisfied with the relationship he had with the members of his family, but he is still able to accept them as they were, see their value as people, and acknowledge their value to him as a person. This moment is the key for Zuko regaining focus of his objectives, allowing him to channel and focus his energy correctly towards them.

The fights, the plot, the amazing scale of the finale are all worthy of comment and praise. I’ll let others do that. I just wanted to make sure I was the first one who wrote so I could be sure that I kept the best part to myself.

@The Bos – Take a bow sir. You’ve made history…

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