The Legend of Korra has ended, and what a series of surprises! I have to say my favorite Books of Korra have to be One and Three. Amon was such a tragic and complex villain, and the peril inflicted on Korra by Amon and the Red Lotus really tested our heroine’s character.
—–1) But let’s take a closer look at Book Four‘s episode 8: Remembrances. This episode was more like a recap to prepare us for the finale stretch, but this was no filler episode. Some intense insight was to be seen:
When Mako and Prince Wu are sharing their stories with each other, Mako shares with us what he learned from his time with Korra, and then with Asami. The takeaway here is that when we date, we should be able to breakup without turning our girlfriend/boyfriend into an enemy. If the two do become enemies, then what was the relationship worth in the first place? Obviously then both were too immature and irresponsible with one another’s hearts. Now, this doesn’t mean the two cannot argue. Arguing is actually a healthy thing if the argument is over something extremely important! But it’s vital not to tear each other down in the argument, but to work together and find out the truth. Arguing should strengthen your relationship, not bomb it into oblivion.
But here’s the gem from Mako’s experience, when he says: “I had to figure out who I was without a lady in my life.” This is exactly why it’s so important for boys and young men to have good fathers and big brothers. Boys will stay boys if they don’t have a mature man to guide and challenge them. Boys will stay boys and really mess up their girlfriends if they don’t learn from their fathers how a women should be respected and honored. For Mako and Bolin, they grew up without a father or mother, so we can see now why it took them so long to mature, and to do it the hard way with much hurt and hurting others involved.
This is also a reason why seminarians focus so much on fraternity (the good kind, not the college frat-boy kind) and put dating on hold (either temporarily or permanently). We’re finding out who we are, so that we can better serve and sacrifice in whatever vocation God is calling us to. Because without this self-awareness, then we have no idea what our flaws and strengths are, and without this understanding we can never better or humble ourselves. Chastity and modesty are the virtues that help us achieve this. Men also need more time alone in prayer with God, without the distractions of dating (because dating should only happen after our relationship with God [Love itself] is on the right path — after all, how can you hope to love anyone if you don’t first know Love?). For more about this, please visit ChastityProject.com.
And there’s seemingly a throwaway line from Prince Wu: “I’m not strong like you, Mako! I can’t help being weak! I was born this way.” Yet, there he is, Prince Wu learning to toughen up under Mako’s training. It goes to show that yes, we are all born weak, illiterate, ignorant and with a bunch of other deficiencies, but does that mean we should stay that way? Heck no! And we see the Prince really mature as the season progresses.
—–2) And as for the series’ finale with episode 13: The Last Stand? A few things stuck out to me:
First, the whole series has been recurrent with self-sacrifice. We see this again, but this time Korra sacrifices herself to save an enemy (no one before Jesus ever taught us to do this!). Especially noteworthy is that it’s Kuvira’s own weapon that is going to kill her, until Korra steps in as a body shield. This analogy fits well with how Jesus took on our fallen nature and our sin (our own weapons, our own mess and selfishness was going to condemn and kill us) and died in our place.
Second, after both Korra and Kuvira are blasted into the Spirit World, Korra shares that she has finally realized that all the suffering she has gone through actually were blessings in disguise — without them she would not have matured and grown in wisdom, humility and compassion. Throughout the season, she was struggling to find meaning in her near-death experience and past trauma, and it was only after saving Kuvira that Korra understood. This is one reason why Christians believe suffering is permitted (not caused directly) by God, and that just because someone is suffering does not mean it is better for them to die, thus why euthanasia is morally evil (because murder is a sin, but suffering can be for our good as long as we suffer with Jesus).
Third, forgiveness of one’s enemies was found three times in this episode alone: when Asami forgives her father’s betrayals and deceptions, when Korra forgives Kuvira and saves her out of compassion, when Kuvira herself forgives Korra. Earlier in the season, we saw Korra forgive even Zaheer and accept his help! And it’s important to understand that forgiveness does not necessarily mean trusting the offending person again. It means you let go of the resentment you have for the person who hurt you and move on.
BONUS: the final scene of The Last Stand has most viewers interpreting it in a way that advocates for LGBT issues. All we see is Korra and Asami walking into the Spirit World hand-in-hand and turn to face one another. To me, this is more likely to be about the two becoming closer as sisters. We saw earlier how Mako and Bolin grew as brothers, but now we also see how Asami and Korra grew in their sisterhood. This is supported by the fact that the whole series moved from the romance between the friends in the beginning (Mako and Korra, Mako and Asami) to their love of one another as close siblings at the end. To see this love between Asami and Korra as romantic seems a far stretch to me, and is a sign of how lustful and perverse our society has become to see even this simple innocent gesture between them as sexual.
Yet, even if our two leading ladies have same-sex attraction: all persons are called to love and to be loved, including those of us with same-sex attraction! And to have same-sex attraction itself is not sinful (despite what many Christians wrongly believe), but to act on that love in a sexual way is a sin, because love need not be sexual (if it needs to be sexual, then it ain’t love). In fact, sexual expression is only appropriate in a holy marriage between one man and one woman (not a marriage done for lust, for social gain, for politics and power, for money, for polygamy, etc.), because the marriage vows [of sacrificial love] help the husband and wife prevent sex from becoming lustful, abusive, perverted and harmful to their love. Catholic teaching pushes back against this culture’s lust and perversion with true love that is understood to be genuine and selfless, chaste and courageous. I hope to share more about this in a more in-depth post, but for now, please let me share these insightful videos and interviews of persons with same-sex attraction instead: The Third Way, and the Desire of the Everlasting Hills. And for more authentic and compassionate Catholic wisdom on this topic, please start here.
Well, that’s all I have for now about this latest Avatar series. I thoroughly enjoyed the journey it put me on, and I hope the best for the creators and cast of the Legend of Korra. Pray for them all!
For more about Korra on HolySmack, look here: The Avatar and the Pope and the Passion.
Pingback: The Avatar and the Pope and the Passion | Holy Smack
Actually there are many quotes in ancient religious scriptures from pre-christian traditions that promote the concept of self-sacrifice for others (so its not just Jesus that promoted the idea).
Also the authors of the Korra series confirmed that they are a romantic couple and like any other young romantic couple will likely engage in sexual acts.
Hi act113! Thanks so much for the comment. I appreciate you took the time to read and respond. I’d like to respond also and say that you may be right about pre-Christian teachings about self-sacrifice (any examples you can share?), but what I wrote was talking about Jesus’ command for us to self-sacrifice even for our enemies, to pray for their conversion and love even those who persecute and execute us. I believe that is so counter-intuitive, and so super-rational that it’s a supernatural teaching. Jesus then takes it further, and not only tells us to love our enemy, but to die for them. Then He proves it to us Himself, and dies for His enemies. Other religions may have gone as far as teaching in words, but not by acting. Because even though Christ could have snapped His holy fingers and had legions of angels stop His killers, He held back. Why? Isn’t that love almost absurd?
And thank you for informing me about LOK’s authors confirming the romantic and sexual direction that Asami and Korra are heading. That is why I gave them the benefit of the doubt and mentioned that even if this was the case, that sexual acts are not healthy between persons of the same sex, and for anyone who is not in a genuine marriage. The sexual act is only right in the loving marriage of one man and one woman. Anything outside of that is more harmful than helpful to a relationship. If you would like further information, please refer to the links and resources I provided in the post above. Please let me know if I can help explain anything further also. I know this is a sensitive topic and the internet can be an inadequate way of expressing how much I care about those of us who have same sex attraction and are bullied or abused because of it, and also care for those of us who are bullied and abused merely for believing and explaining the Church’s teaching about original marriage.
Thank you again and Happy New Year!
Thanks for posting your thoughts on Book 4. I still find it a bit difficult to enjoy those 2 final minutes of the finale in light of the creators’ intentions. But considering that little kids and “outsiders” of the fandom probably interpreted that final scene as non-platonic as you did opened another option for me in terms of how to deal with the series finale. You’re right in that we should see this as an opportunity to reflect on what the Church teaches about SSA and how we can reach out to the LGBT community with compassion.
I am no pervert & I never saw the ending as platonic. If they had different music, no close-up on the hands coming together, & if they hand’nt grasped all four hands once they stepped inside, I’d agree with you. But those did happen, so I never saw it as a just-friends thing.