Recently, as the collective group of Avatar Wiki users know, I published a blog on likely connections between the Book of Genesis and "Zuko Alone", to unexpected success and praise from many readers. I did however have a few detractors, but they only represented a few of those who posted comments in response to the blog. In the same comments section, I mentioned that should I find more links to the Torah (Hebrew Bible/Old Testament), I would post them in a successive blog posting. In this blog I will be analyzing and commenting on allusions to the Book of Exodus (the second of the five books, and perhaps the most well known of the books, ahead of Genesis) from a few episodes in the series, rather than on one specific episode. Granted, these allusions will not be nearly as strong or notable as the ones mentioned in my previous blog, but I will attempt to highlight and interconnect them to the best of my abilities.
Before I conduct my analysis, a disclaimer: What I've written in my previous blog as well as what I'm about to reveal here is not trying to argue that a specific viewpoint is more recognized than any other interpretation. The three monotheistic religions (one God) (Judaism, Islam, Christianity) each portray these events in their respective religious texts with slightly different interpretations from one another. I'm portraying it from Judaism's point of view because that's what I know, and that's the religion in how I was raised growing up.
For the first possible Exodus allusion, we head to the final episode of Book 1, "The Siege of the North, Part 2". Almost immediately after Zhao killed Tui, the Moon Spirit, by slicing the koi fish with a Firebending slash, an angry and disheartened Aang went into the Avatar State and merged with a seemingly wrathful La, the Ocean Spirit and became "Koizilla". Koizilla went on a rampage, killing off as many Fire Nation troops as it could, until it managed to vanquish the Fire Nation's flotilla (shortly after which Tui was revived using Yue as a willing host for its human form, and Zhao was subsequently drowned by a vengeful and defused La). In one of the scenes where Koizilla kills troops, Water Tribe warriors and Fire Nation soldiers were fighting each other on either side of a small canal, when the fused behemoth's mighty figure interrupted them. The Water Tribe warriors immediately bowed down, while the Fire Nation soldiers stood guard, raising their weapons at the giant. The warriors were spared while Koizilla drowned the soldiers with a simple wave generated by its large arm. This alludes to the ten plagues brought down on Egypt, specifically the last one: The Death of the Firstborn (in Hebrew: Makat Nechorot [pronunciation]), where each of the firstborn of the Egyptians was struck down by the Angel of Death (God), including Pharaoh's own child. The Israelites were saved from the same fate by painting their doorways with the blood of a freshly-sacrificed lamb. The Angel "passed over" (this is how "Passover" came to be named) the houses of the Israelites and smote the firstborn of the Egyptians. An interesting and ironic revelation of this plague was that the Pharaoh himself was a firstborn, but God saved him from death, to witness the grave destruction and sorrow caused to his people, as well as to his own family. Heavily distraught and in a state of grief, he demanded Moses and the Israelites leave Egypt, which they did in haste. The Pharaoh changed his mind soon after and ordered his surviving armies to chase down the slaves he only recently released, but they were all drowned once the troops arrived at Red Sea, where the parted waters were reunited. Looking back at the event in the episode, it isn't difficult to surmise that Koizilla represented the Angel of Death carrying out the final plague, "passing over" the Water Tribe warriors and striking down the Fire Nation soldiers.
The second possible allusion takes place at the end of "Avatar Day", when after saving Chin Village from the Rough Rhinos, Mayor Tong rededicated the festival to honour the Avatar rather than the original purpose of villifying the spirit. One of the measures was to make cookies in Aang's image by simply using uncooked dough. This was to signify that Aang was not boiled in oil, as his original punishment stipulated, but rather that he protected the village from capture and destruction by the Rough Rhinos. In the haste to leave Egypt after the Pharaoh's command, the Israelites did not have time to allow their bread to rise, as is normally done when baking it. As a result, they were left with partially-baked and unleavened bread, known as matzah, which is the primary food eaten during Passover. Granted, this is a very weak comparison, as Lady Lostris pointed out in the comments section of my previous blog since it only relies on the coincidence of one small item (the food).
The last allusion takes place in "The Serpent's Pass", when Katara and Aang help their group (incluing Sokka and Hope's parents) cross the watery expanse in between the two sections of the Serpent's Pass, by splitting and forming a water barrier around them using Waterbending. The allusion only focuses on the part where the water is parted, and not the barrier afterwards. The scene alludes to Moses parting the Red Sea to cross the expanse leading towards the other side, representing freedom from Egypt. As the Israelites were crossing, Pharaoh and his armies chased them down, but were temporarily halted when Moses summoned a large pillar of fire to halt the military's progress. Once the Israelites and Moses crossed over, the pillar vanished, enabling the forces to enter the partition, when they were subsequently drowned by the rushing waters reuniting. Accounts of the Pharaoh after the incident are ambiguous as to what really happened. Either he died with his men, or as "The Ten Commandments" (1956) and "The Prince of Egypt" (1998) illustrate, he remained on shore while he was forced to watch his men drown. What supports the latter opinion is that it seems God prevented the Pharaoh from going with his men in order to have him watch his armies' demise at His hands.
These are three events that tie the series to the Book of Exodus. Hopefully you were intrigued by the blog's contents and feel free to comment below. Thank you for reading. Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem 02:12, November 8, 2011 (UTC)