Thank youuuuuuu ToTC.
This is prolly just because I recently finished (and tanked the test of) Tale of Two Cities by my good ol' friend Charlie D, but I noticed a lot of similarities between the French Revolution and the Equalists.
The first is the most obvious. It's a revolution. The Jacques were trying to get rid of nobility, Equalists benders. Both groups felt as though they are being abused by the group with which they took issue, and are striving for equality (*coughcough*, liberty, equality, fraternity *coughcough*). Amon's energybending/chi-blocking/whatever you want to call it is kind of like the guillotine, in that it eliminates the threat of the other side. For benders, having their bending taken away is like getting their head cut off: it eliminates their source of power. Quite frankly, I'd rather have my bending taken away than my head chopped off, but they are similar. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, a philosopher who philosophized some of the driving motivations behind the French Revolution, believed that natural rights (birth rights) should be eliminated to create a better society. Wealth, status, bending... It all bears many similarities to what the Equalists believe. Or, if you prefer it, the Equalists' beliefs are similar to the Revolutionaries.
The biggest example of the similarity which I see is the Equalist protestor in the very first episode, yelling about the bender oppressors. The French citizens (citizen?) were tired of the oppression of the upperclass, and the frivolous spending of the Royal Family. Background time, since I don't know how many of you are French history buffs. Shortly before the Revolution, the King spent a lot of money supporting the American Revolution because they weren't fans of Britian. Fast forward a bit. This caused the French people to become impoverished, while the wealthy were having banquets for every meal. Fast forward some more. In ToTC, Dickens describes the Monseigneur, who had four people just to feed him hot chocolate. Fast forward. Marie Antoinette is alerted that the French people don't have enough money to buy bread, and she says "let them eat cake" (she didn't actually say that). Then everything just kind of goes down hill from there. Now back to the Avatar world. Look at this from the perspective of a non-bender. Sozin, a bender, causes a war to take over the world. Benders and non-benders alike are forced into war, with bloodshed and conquering galor. People lose their homes, family members lost, etc. For a hundred years. And quite honestly, so long as the benders rule and the Avatar--master of all four elements--is the only force which can save the world, non-benders can do little other than be the plucky comic relief or unnamed Fire Nation Soldier #7. Then after the war, as Amon shows in his example of the Firebender killing his family, they still rule over. It makes sense that non-benders would be bitter, just as the French people were.
There are also similarities between Amon and Robespierre. Of course, Amon doesn't have a girly voice, soooooooooo that's a difference. However, one of Robespierre's major flaws was that he believed to firmly in his cause. His belief that the bougie (as Ke$ha might state) were evil was so ground in his beliefs that he became maddened and paranoid--literally ready to kill anyone who got in his way. Amon hasn't gone nuts yet, but he is similar in his beliefs of equality (at least from what we've seen so far). Which leads straight into my theory... Could Amon go crazy? And would that bring the revolution to turn on him? We shall have to see whether or not voice pitch is the biggest difference between Amon and Maximilien Marie Isidore de Robespierre.
How Jennamite Changes Everything, aka Harp Please Stop Overthinking Things
Brace yourselves for some heavy-duty theorycrafting here, but... let's take a moment and look at jennamite.
You know, that stuff King Bumi traps Katara and Sokka in to test Aang. That stuff that Bumi also eats at the end of the episode. It's revealed that jennamite, although a potentially deadly prison, is... rock candy.
The first thing that bothers me is how jennamite grows in spurts. I understand that this was likely to give the audience (and the animators) an easier time, since crystal formation is a slow and gradual process. So I'm going to handwave and go with the theory that Bumi was in fact accelerating jennamite's growth. This way we get to neatly avoid any complications of Bumi eating jennamite, because I imagine having something growing that quickly in your digestive tract could get nasty fairly quickly.
Now on to the interesting stuff.
Rock candy is pretty simple. It's not anything complicated or special. It's just sugar where all the molecules are lined up in neat little patterns to become a crystal. After all, that's all a crystal is - a bunch of molecules getting neat and orderly so that they form a relatively hard substance. You can even make rock candy yourself at home fairly easily by using a string, a cup of very sugary water, and some patience. Things like sugar and salt 'like' to be in crystals when they're dry anyway, and if you look at them underneath a microscope, you can see that what we think of as grains are actually tiny crystals.
Sugar itself is even simpler. It's just two circles of carbon hooked together with hydrogen and oxygen sticking off here and there. You can even break what we think of as table sugar - sucrose - down again; one of those circles is glucose, and the other is fructose. So when we say King Bumi can bend rock sugar at will, we're saying that he can bend crystalized sucrose.
Why is this such a big stinking deal? Well, sucrose is nothing more than a pile of carbons, oxygens and hydrogens. That's about as basic an organic molecule as you can get. And when I say organic, I mean based on carbon. You might have heard an alien sneering at a human in some sci-fi movie about how we're "carbon-based lifeforms" - it's true! Carbon is the building block of life on this planet, mostly due to its ability to have things so readily stuck onto it.
Now, this is coming from a person who carefully managed her degree to avoid Organic Chemistry and generally detests Chemistry as a subject (much prefering sloppy makeouts with her beloved Biology and one-night-stands with that hottie Literary Criticism), so believe me when I say this is a big enough deal that it even bothers ME. If we say that Bumi can bend sucrose crystals, that means virtually any carbon-based substance becomes fair game!
That means trees are definitely bendable. After all, cellulose is just a polysaccharide - in other words, if you think of that ring of carbon that makes up glucose as being one link in a chain, sucrose is a chain with two links, and cellulose is a LONG chain of many, many rings. Bumi could wander into a bakery and cause chaos by bending all of the starch in the baked goods (starch is also a polysaccharide), or he could squash bugs by bending their exoskeletons made of chitin (which is - again - polysaccharide!). These things are all over the place!
And if he can bend these links of glucose, then perhaps other, larger things are fair game, too. I think everyone knows that there's a lot of water in the human body - after all, that's how bloodbending works. But if Bumi's able to bend carbon structures, that means pretty much the rest of the human body is fair game. The whole natural world is fair game! And that's an awful lot of chaos to be had!
Now, what does this actually mean in canon?
...Bubkes. Zilch. Nada. Common sense tells us that the creators are working with a different set of definitions, and probably something a bit more esoteric than the organic chemistry nitty-gritty. And Bumi's eating the jennamite is a great joke to show us just how wonderfully insane the guy is.
However, just because it doesn't mean anything in canon doesn't mean we still can't use it. That's the strength of fan works, after all! So hopefully after reading this, wheels in your head are turning about how you can use this in your stories. Happy writing!
I joined this wiki almost a year ago, on June 21, 2011. Back then, it was a lively place. There were tons of users, IRC was almost always chatty, and this wiki was a great place to be. It carried on that way for quite a bit.
Sometime in 2012, though, things changed. Users left. IRC became dead more often than not. The wiki started to empty.
Korra came, eventually. But it seems like nothing's changed. New users have come to replace the old, but it just doesn't feel the same. Community events never happen, IRC is still almost always dead. It saddens me.
When I look on the Recent Changes, almost all I see are comments from anonymous users and the occasional few edits, always from the same people. This wasn't how it was. This wiki used to be such a lively, community-driven place, but nowadays it seems like an empty shell of its former glory to me.
I dunno, maybe I'm just reminiscing about the "good ol' days" here. Maybe I'm just experiencing the loss of having so many good people I loved so much be gone from the wiki. But this wiki wasn't like this a year ago. A year a go we were a community, now we're basically nothing more than a collection of articles edited by a few people. I realize that, in essence, that's all a wiki is, but it just feels wrong.
So come on, people. Make a blog, get on IRC, send some messages to people, make some friends. With some effort, we can return to the community we once were.
I suppose getting this Ba Sing Se Times out is the first step.