Deviation Actions

xcgirl08's avatar

Put an End to This Sad Story


(It's also up on tumblr if you feel like reblogging it: [link])

“That’s why I brought you out here — to learn your destiny. You two will become bloodbenders of the highest order. And when the time is right, you will claim Republic City, and you will destroy the Avatar. You must avenge me. That is your purpose in life.”

When you think about it, Tarrlok wasn’t far off in pointing out the similarities between Korra and himself during their conversation in Episode Eight; even disregarding their mutual conviction and intensity when faced with conflict, there are more parallels than he probably realized.

Both of them exist very much within the confines of their physical abilities, Korra putting all of her self-worth into them and Tarrlok doing the best he can to conceal them out of disgust. Both bear the weight of very different but equally heavy legacies, Korra often holding herself up in unfavorable (according to her own judgment) comparison with Aang, and Tarrlok constantly and consciously trying to distance himself from Yakone through his actions.

It’s rather suffocating to think about, and neither of them were really ever given the chance to realize that they are individuals outside of their titles, bending abilities and pasts (or past lives, as it were), capable of making their own ways in the world. Korra was given her bending back in fairly short order, after a broken-hearted voicing of her belief that she had failed as an Avatar, and Tarrlok seemed to realize that there was no way of ever escaping what Yakone had turned both him and his brother into.

Part of the reason so many fans (myself included) are holding on to the outlandish, extremely unlikely hope that Tarrlok somehow survived his murder-suicide attempt is because this seems like a despairing note to end his character arc on…Not that dark, mature themes ought to be avoided in narratives for young adults, no, but in a story that gave us quite a bit about fulfilling your duties without being consumed by them (in Aang’s case) and not letting who you were determine who you will be (in Zuko’s), it feels out of place.

So what exactly would unfold if Tarrlok were to come back?

(I know it’s not going to happen, but work with me here. People in television survive explosions all the time.)

Aside from some nasty, badass burn scars, and a terrible bitterness at being such a “failure” that he couldn’t even manage to end things on his own terms, there would be the consequences of his actions to deal with. He’d probably need to be put on trial, and I have the oddest image of him staying on Air Temple Island (he’s made himself a lot of enemies, and I can’t imagine the city jail would be very safe) as a kind of house arrest while he awaited it…besides, Air Temple Island currently has a very talented waterbending healer in residence, who also happens to be the Avatar and one of the only two people (if we’re counting Mako, who was sort of there just because) Tarrlok has ever told the truth about his past to. It would be an awkward reunion, to say the least.

And at some point or another, once his self-loathing attitude and outlook wore down her patience, I can see Korra feeling the need to headily point out that he is not Yakone, any more than she is Aang, and, well, “Let’s just make things easier for ourselves by trying to believe that, okay? Okay.” She might not even realize the significance of the words until they were out.

Tarrlok may have apologized for his crimes, but it’d be a long and difficult trek towards gaining the trust of those around him and undoing the harm he’s inflicted. Changes wouldn’t happen immediately. (Ikki, however, would declare herself his best friend and principal tormentor.) Korra would usually have to be there reminding people, “See? He’s not so bad once you get to know him…Or, you know, not bad in the same way”, and eventually she’d be proven correct. Ultimately the change would be up to him, but she’d try to help.

Heck, on the flip-side, we all know the girl could use a few lessons in the art of tact/how to play a smarter game than your opponents. Why not learn from someone who’s had years of practice? Maybe the next season will revolve partially around the gang wars of Republic City, which would continue addressing the inequalities between benders and nonbenders (and another type of enemy who cannot be dealt with by brute force alone) while providing us with something new (oh, hey, look, more ways of both purging Yakone’s influence and building up Aang’s dreams for Republic City.)

Having these two characters continue to develop in tandem with each other would be a revisiting of – and also a new take on – those themes of identity and accepting help from others which we saw in the first series. Avatar Aang took away Yakone’s bending because of the wrongs he had done, and then his successor gives Yakone’s son his bending back because of what he has done to make things right. It’s a nice parallel.

It would be an interesting partnership to watch develop from where Season One left us off: that shamed, self-conscious look on Tarrlok’s face after Korra thanks him for his help – he nods, but then he can’t look her in the eyes anymore and so he turns his own away – will never stop interesting me. It would be a humorous way of circling things around to Tarrlok’s Episode Four declaration that they make a good team. It would carry through with that lesson that when we reach our lowest points, we are open to the greatest change. It would be a challenge for Korra, a different kind of spiritual one, because being the Avatar is not all about fighting; it’s about connecting with the people of this world and sharing in their pain, their joys, their struggles and their triumphs, and now she has Aang as a mentor to help her do that and he’s watched this journey happen before. I just kind of want to see more battles featuring a master waterbender, and maybe the airbabies forcing him to play a game of Redemption with them.

(Including the totally un-ironic crows of “REDEMPTION! REDEPMTION!” that would follow.)

…I’m not sure where I’m going with this.

But anyway, I find the whole thing very compelling. Will it happen? No. Do I like thinking about how it would play out anyway? Sure.

And you know what else?

It would allow us to imagine a sort of follow-up to those words of Yakone’s, which ended up poisoning and ruining the first half of Tarrlok’s life:

“Ah, yes, that whole business about destroying the Avatar. Sorry, Dad, you must have stuttered or something. Whoops.”
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© 2012 - 2022 xcgirl08
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jenyamarch's avatar

I don't ship it at all lol but i know good art when I see it!

Ehsol-namu's avatar
Wow, you're story should had been used for real...
ShaSonSil's avatar
I love the emotions you put in the picture. Watching how Tarrlok and Korra interacted in book 1 made me love this ship. Great job.
Wazzpinator's avatar
This is really nice! Great job!
clockworkporcelain's avatar
Now I kinda ship it. My baby.

Also, he looks like the Hound is supposed to look.
OtakuWilko's avatar
Don't ship it, but still love this!!
beautifulshininghope's avatar
woah...I can totally see this happening.
KTKokaQ's avatar
The hurts...

Beautiful work!
Normally I hate shipping, but I love this.
ChloexBowie's avatar
I love this!!! Heart 
RealmeNevertobeseen's avatar
It's so sweet :) that's why I like it and if Korra is with a serious person, it should be him because he would be able to handle her unlike Mako -__- but on another note, this is beautifully drawn and colored. Good job :clap:
PrincessEsalia's avatar
I don't ship them, but their expressions are so sweet it's impossible to not love this!
OnlyOneZen's avatar
It's crack...but this picture makes me ship it completely. I am lost for words. So well drawn. Expression. The touch of her fixing his collar? I am blown to pieces.
Kanto-Chan's avatar
SO CUTE! Love it.~ My favourite couple.
SighingWinter's avatar
SeridwenIseabail's avatar
Hey I don't know if you or anyone reading this has seen this but there's a fanfic by Resmiranda on that is pretty what would happen if Tarrlok survived the explosion and Korra had to take care of him. So I'm just gonna put a link here so that you and anyone else can read it and fangirl over it.

It's in the Water by Resmiranda: [link]
Whitemiko55's avatar
¿Como demonios puede transmitir tanto una simple imagen?, ¡es tan hermosa que me cautivó!, ¡felicidades por un excelente trabajo!
sunnyontheheights's avatar
okay. I do NOT ship this couple, but I saw this, and I was like... this is so sweet.... you put a lot of brilliant emotion into your work, you truly have talent. keep it up. :) hey...maybe with amorra? ;)
I love this picture so much. Like everyone says, so much emotion is conveyed in this. You're a wonderful artist! <3
tbonegirl28's avatar
I love the way you've dressed Korra! She looks so mature and loving to Tarrlok. Very well done. :)
Telanana's avatar


I mean, this is a great idea. I wish this was how it would really go, too. By the end of the series, I really liked Tarrlok. He pissed me off in the beginning, unlike Zuko, though, so there's a totally different element there.

But I would love to see this. Even if it's about as impossible as Azula getting over her craziness.
darknessprevails0's avatar
This.... this is so.. I CAN'T EVEN. I LOVE IT.

You should really read the fanfiction called Strings! It's a really nice twist on how *SPOILERS FOR THOSE NOT IN EPISODE 8* Tarrlok's plan of capturing Korra and taking her as hostage went through and it's just an amazing story. [link]
darknessprevails0's avatar
Fangirling so much right now. Beautiful depiction of shipping Korra and Tarrlok *.*
HanniHamster's avatar
This is so cute :iconrainbowtearplz: W-WHA
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