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A Familiar Face

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Dan and Emma Granger stood at Platform 9¾ to pick up their daughter and her friend. Said friend was a small, thin boy with dark hair and green eyes. As the group drove to the Granger residence, Hermione eagerly unwrapped the box laid carefully in the backseat. Instead of a book, she found a DVD set, colored blue and titled Avatar: The Last Airbender .

“What’s this?” Hermione asked.

“It’s a cartoon that came on while you were at school,” Emma replied. “Dad and I thought it would be a good choice for you and Harry to watch when your friends come over since you’ve already gone through Dad’s list of age-appropriate classics.” The pair looked at each other and shrugged.

“We’ll try it,” they said in unison.


”So this is a muggle TV show?” Neville asked.

“Yes,” Hermione answered carefully. “It’s a cartoon, which is basically moving drawings with sound. Do you want to see it?”

“Sure,” Susan replied cheerfully. The preteens gathered on the living room’s carpet as Hermione inserted the DVD into the player.

“Water. Earth. Fire. Air. My grandmother used to tell me stories about the old days: a time of peace when the Avatar kept balance between the Water Tribes, Earth Kingdom, Fire Nation and Air Nomads. But that all changed when the Fire Nation attacked. Only the Avatar mastered all four elements; only he could stop the ruthless firebenders. But when the world needed him most, he vanished…” The day ended with the group having finished four episodes and promising to meet back up the next Saturday. Harry and Hermione were still debating the merits of different characters.

“I like Katara best,” Hermione declared. “She keeps Sokka and Aang balanced. And Suki. She’s badass.”

“I like Gram-Gram,” Harry argued. “She’s nice. Though I get where Aang’s coming from, having to save the world. Why is Zuko looking for Aang, though? Shouldn’t he be back in the fire nation?”

“I don’t know. I asked Mom that and all she said was ‘spoilers’. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.”


”Okay, next up: Episode 5: The King of Omashu…”

“Sounds interesting,” Dean commented. “I’m guessing Omashu’s a city?”

“It’d be weird to be the king of a person,” Hannah agreed, “and Omashu’s not a Nation.”

“Oh God Aang, that is such a stupid idea…”

“Are we sure getting frozen doesn’t cause permanent brain damage?”

“Oh shit, oh shit, they’re gonna die!”

“That could’ve ended poorly…”

“Why is Aang’s old friend king?”

“You think that, too?”

“Yeah, it’s obvious.”

“Oh, why is Bumi being so nasty? Isn’t he Aang’s friend?”

“So he was testing if it was Aang?”

“I guess.”

“Oh, right, he’s crazy too.”

“Okay, Episode 6: Imprisoned.”

“Oh, Katara, really? Do you have to wear to stupid hat now?”

“Well, she’s sort of right.”

“But she’s being an idiot… and before you start about freedom, Hermione, there’s the whole ideas on paper versus in context theory. If they revolt, they have a lot to lose.”

“And everyone lived happily ever after. The end. Episodes 7&8: Winter Solstice, Parts 1 and 2.”

“Okay, have they tried negotiating with this spirit?”

“Why does Aang think this is a good plan?”

“Brain damage.”

“Right.”

“Let me guess, Roku’s temple is in the Fire Nation.”

“This will be interesting.”

“Okay, creepy Fire Nation dude, that’s an interesting decision…”

“THAT’S WHY YOU CALLED AANG HERE? THAT? A STUPID COMET!”

“Well, it’ll give the Fire Nation a bunch of power, so it’s not that little.”

“Point taken.”

“Where the hell did Zuko go in this? Is he dead?”

“No, he’s there.”

“This spells trap…”

“Please, this is a kid’s show, it’ll be fine…”

“And you’re right, they’re fine, next episodes next week!”


”Episode 9: The Waterbending Scroll.”

“Katara, why are you wearing the stupid hat?”

“Zuko, why are you wearing the stupid hat?”

“Okay, onto Episode 10: Jet.”

“Hey, that’s actually a smart move.”

“Well, sort of.”

“And now it’s not…”

“I’m guessing this guy’s Jet. Seems sane…”

“Nevermind, he’s nuts too…”

“Are they following him for revenge or are they brainwashed?”

“Good question. Oh look, Sokka saves the day!”

“Okay, Episode 11 is the Great Divide.”

“This sucks…”

“I agree…”

“Maybe it’ll get better… Nevermind…”

“Let’s hope the next one sucks less…”

”Episode 12: The Storm.”

“Please don’t be another Great Divide…”

“Oh, this is actually pretty good…”

“So that’s why Zuko’s here…”

“Poor Zuko…”

“Who’s the creepy smiling girl?”

“I have no idea…”

“So Aang and Zuko are basically both kids forced under tremendous pressure by others. That’s interesting…”


“13: The Blue Spirit.”

“Okay, Aang, you’re taking this lady’s word on it?”

“Oh Aang, seriously? DO SOME DAMAGE!”

“Well, it’s against his philosophy.”

“Who cares about philosophy? He’s gonna die!”

“No, he’ll get captured. If Aang dies, then the Fire Nation will have to spend years searching for the next avatar.”

“Okay, that’s the creepy dude from earlier…”

“So is Zuko a good guy?”

“Apparently not…”

“Chapter 14: The Fortuneteller.”

“Oh great, another stupid episode…”

“HA! Written on his face!”

“Ooh, volcano.”

“Well, that could’ve been worse.”

“15: Bato of the Water Tribe.”

“Why does this spell trap?”

“But it’s not…”

“Aang, really?”

“This is just as bad as the Great Divide…”

“Well, maybe the Deserter will be better…”

“Nevermind…”

“Let’s try again next week…”


”Chapter 17: The Northern Air Temple.”

“Okay, this is strange…”

“And there’s the Fire Nation…”

“Oh, look, someone intelligent!”

“Well, that could’ve been worse.”

“Chapter 18: The Waterbending Master.”

“Sexism. Yay!”

“And Katara kicks ass.”

“And Whitebeard’s learned a lesson.”

“Okay, these are the last 2 episodes. Chapters 19 and 20: The Siege of the North.”

“It’s not snow, it’s ash.”

“YUE! You were so young!”

“We’ve only known her for like 3 episodes, Dean.”

“But she’s too young to die! And I ship her and Sokka! Zhao is an asshole!”

“Okay…”

“And everything is better, the end.”

“But we’re going to have to wait a YEAR to see the next season!”


”So, who’s your favorite, Harry?” Hermione asked. Harry thought about it for a moment. On the one hand, Aang was forced with impossible choices and responsibilities he couldn’t run away from. On the other hand, Zuko had many of the same problems but suffered greater consequences. While he was tempted to pick Aang, Harry knew that Zuko was his favorite as he evolved and changed. Then again, why did he have to pick the one like him?

“Katara,” Harry decided. “She’s the responsible one.”