knowingisnotunderstanding:

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"Now, here’s what we do!"

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"Tomorrow morning when Alison comes out of her house…"

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"We spray her with the hose, soaking her from head to toe!"

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"Leaving us relatively dry."

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Relatively?”

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"Well, there’s bound to be some splashback."

thepoliticshive:

Cassetteboy’s David Cameron Conservative Conference rap.

harunyan101:

Me trying to prove my otp is real

harunyan101:

Me trying to prove my otp is real

knsculpt:

unexplained-events:

Had no idea this was how whales slept

only sperm whales sleep like this 

knsculpt:

unexplained-events:

Had no idea this was how whales slept

only sperm whales sleep like this 

Sounds like ‘tough.’

destiny-smasher:

thoughtfire:

destiny-smasher:

This week’s Legend of Korra was awesome, both the present AND the past. But it brought up some things about one character in particular that I’ve spent a great deal thinking about, talking about, and writing about over the past…well, almost two years. In my time exploring the fandom, I’ve seen this…interesting trend where Toph Bei Fong is often depicted as this God-on-earth, this indomitable beast of a person who is tough as a rock (lolol) and who bends to no one (lolol), a solid statue (lolol) of strength and determination.

(NOTE: I will be referencing some stuff from The Promise Part 2 and The Legend of Korra 1x09 in particular so if you don’t want that spoiled BEWARE and such)

I’ve also seen people act like she’s a man in a woman’s body, that she is some butch, manly, Chuck Norris figure.

This is quite incorrect.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not like Toph doesn’t possess many of the qualities described above. She herself, at times, seems very traditionally tomboy in her disinclination toward her own gender’s stereotypes.

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A big part of Toph’s character is that she IS tough, she IS strong, and independent, and not too big on girly things.

But Katara’s also entirely correct: Toph IS a girl. And she DOES act like one some times. Part of Toph’s mantra of being comfortable with who she is? Part of that ALSO means being comfortable with being a girl, something she seemed to struggle with here and there.

Of course, REALLY, Aang is a boy, who also acts boy-like and girl-like at times, like Toph, and you know, real people. So really the gender itself isn’t what’s important so much as the breaking down of gender stereotypes. What I really want discuss here has less to do with Toph acting girlish and MORE to do with a truth about her character: she is tough AND vulnerable. At the same time. Like the characters around her, and like a real person. With Toph, in particular, it seems this fact of her character gets glossed over in lieu of her toughness, while others like Katara get to enjoy being looked at as strong AND sensitive. Even though Toph is ALSO both of those things, but in different degrees.

Can we get past this immature fanwanking notion that Toph is invincible, uncaring, and unfazed by the world around her? It is flat-out not correct and it’s insensitive to the complexity of her character (IMO) to treat her character as some flat ice-queen stereotype. She’s not.

1) Toph is strong.

I don’t think we need to go over this, it’s pretty plain and obvious. Part of what makes Toph’s so appealing to so many is that despite a disability she has unique talents and strengths, she overcomes the limitations life has set before her, and she resists her own parents’ dismissal of her strength.

But from a character standpoint — you know, her PERSONALITY, not just her stat roll, trololol — Toph is rigid, strong, self-assured, confident. These are all amazing things, and ensure that she is going to be her, no matter what people think.

BUT…Toph DOES care what people think.

2) Toph cares about her appearance.

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I know it’s not technically canonical, and most of you wouldn’t know about it, but I’ve read through the children’s book that depicts the events of Book 2 from Toph’s perspective, and telling the story from within Toph’s internal perspective helps make more clear that a big trait of hers is that she DOES have feelings, and doubts, and fears, and she HIDES them because contrary to what she tries to convince those around her…Toph REALLY cares about how others look at her. I mean that metaphorically more than literally. I’m sure Toph’s interest in her physical appearance is generally mild, but as we saw in Tales of Ba Sing Se, even in that department, she sometimes questions if she is pleasing to look at (don’t worry, Hunny, you fill out quite nicely when you grow up, I’m just sayin’).

But that’s the less consequential part. Toph is VERY intent on making sure those around her look at her as what she WANTS to be perceived as. She specifically wants people to think she is tough, strong, independent, and so on. It’s why she was dressing up in ragged clothes and fighting wrestlers in front of a CROWD (which surely wasn’t for the money). It’s why she slaps somewhat mocking nicknames on everyone around her — because in conversation such mannerisms imply that she is dominant over those around her. “Sokka’s just a meat-obsessed idiot, Aang is a pansy, Katara’s too sensitive, but oh, not me, I’m TOPH BEI FONG, BITCHES, no one messes with me! I’m the end-all-be-all, I’m the GREATEST EARTHBENDER OF ALL TIME.”

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She’s pretty passive-aggressive toward Sokka, in particular, about getting him to tell her how GREAT she is, numerous times. Hmmm, funny that. =P It’s almost like since she has a crush on him it makes her THAT much more insistent on getting him to think she’s all that and a bag of chips.

When people (like Katara) try to point out any flaws she has, she gets all pissy and grumpy, and tries to compensate for her weakness by acting all tough and bossy.

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Toph’s childish self-pandering, her shouting, is her BEGGING to be seen, to be heard…It’s her DEMANDING attention — arguably because part of her doubts inside that anyone would CARE about her if she didn’t make her strength so intimidating. She was brought up by parents who tried to HIDE her own existence — a small but CRUCIAL detail of her upbringing that many don’t even CATCH when they watch the show though it’s definitely the case, since no one even knew the Bei Fongs HAD a daughter, and Toph herself states that she’s been hidden away. And AANG was the first person who reached out to her, who wanted to talk with her, interact with her, actively. Even after she pushed him away and dismissed him. It wasb’t because she was blind, but because of her earthbending. Her SKILL and talent and personality were what Aang was interested — she waited and listened. Her class, disability, family, NONE of that mattered to Aang, but he had this deep feeling in his gut that Toph was special, that Toph was dedicated and talented, and he wanted to train under her (it is precisely that very notion, that Aang was Toph’s first REAL friend, that is often the basis behind the more logical Taang shipping you’ll see out there).

The AVATAR wanted to train under HER. I bet that was an invigorating ego boost once they got the ball rolling on Aang’s earthbending training. But I think it’s also important that Aang COULD have trained under older, more experienced earthbenders, but he ultimately chose Toph. They needed her, and she really needed them, as a human being — she needed people who believed in her for HER, who she didn’t NEED to prove her worth, too. People who wanted her around because they looked at her as a FRIEND. Without that, I personally wonder where Toph’s life would’ve gone. Probably to shit.

Which brings me to my next point about her.

3) Toph has feelings.

I know it’s hard for people to accept, but she IS a person, a girl, and a CHILD during TLA story, and she acts like one throughout. She’s not a walking machine of destruction and arrogance and nothing else. She cries, she has feelings, self-doubts, fears, and she loves her friends. She runs away from home and eventually finds herself feeling GUILTY about how much she’s likely hurt her parents — even though she hates how her parents treat her, they are STILL her family and she still loves them.

But now she has the Gaang. And she loves THEM, too. She joins in on the group hugs, she gives her friends warm words of encouragement…and she questions whether their friendships will last.

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Because without them, what else does she have? What good is all of her earthbending skill if the only reason people care about her is out of FEAR? Toph clearly enjoys being bossy and respected and LOOKED UPON (see: point #2) as this amazing powerful person, and as much as she does love her independence, deep down I feel pretty certain she knows that she needs people around her who will help her through the tough times.

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While Toph is often at odds with Katara, she even admits that she LIKES that Katara is so passionate because Katara’s arguments with Toph are actually PROOF of how concerned Katara is. Katara loves Toph as a person, for who she is, regardless of her bending, or her blindness. And Katara is the one who helps Toph realize the pain involving her family that she’s been repressing.

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She has sensitive talks about herself with Aang, Katara, with Sokka, and even with Iroh and Zuko, too. She even says that Iroh talking about Zuko so much as “very sweet.” I wouldn’t be surprised if, for her, Iroh’s love for Zuko regardless of his mistakes made her respect him as a parental figure, probably even made her wish she had a parental figure that loved her that much, regardless of who she chose to be.

But at the end of the day, no matter what happened with her parents (because we still technically don’t know), one thing’s certain: Toph had a family in the Gaang, and she loved them.

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Toph does often try to hide her emotions and vulnerability, but she is a human being and actually not a cold-hearted, uncaring macho bitch so much as a cocky, sarcastic girl.

And as strong as she is, she is not invincible.

4) Toph is vulnerable.

It’s easy for people to write off the notion that anyone could defeat Toph, but she is just as vulnerable as the other Avatar characters. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I LOVE how in Avatar, the characters’ abilities are extreme, but their BODIES (well, aside from the radical aging properties) are just as vulnerable as ours are.

Toph is no exception. She’s strong, she’s talented, she is incredibly skilled, but she is NOT invincible.

For example, while Toph has super sensing as far as vibrations on the ground are concerned…but other things? Not so much.

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Flying through the air is not exactly a good place for her. Nor is being on ice, or in water, as she can’t swim, or feel herself on ice.

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Toss her around in the air (as opposed to her PROJECTING herself into the air, controlled by earth), or throw her in water, and suddenly all of her amazing strength becomes useless and she’s quite helpless. Likewise, she’s ALSO pretty vulnerable to fire, it’s easy to forget. She rarely had to fight actual firebenders. The one time I can recall that she fought firebenders BY HERSELF she surrounded herself in a suit of metal, because there’s no way for her to tell all too easily when/how/where fire is coming to burn her.

But geez, Zuko incapacitated her BY ACCIDENT, you may recall.

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With her precious bare feet burned, she was helpless and even needed to be CARRIED AROUND. Without a skilled healer like Katara around to help fix her feet up, Toph would’ve been pretty damn close to useless in a fight for some time until her burns healed.

And lastly, the big thing from this week — which is entirely expected, really — Toph would be rendered just as helpless as everyone else if she was getting bloodbended. A little more vulnerable, even, since she could be lifted from the ground, and thus wouldn’t be able to sense anything.

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I’d be willing to bet this was one of the most terrifying moments of Toph’s life. Even WORSE than almost drowning. At least THEN she still had control of her body. But THIS? Her insides are squirming beyond her control, she’s lifted off the ground and manipulated like a puppet. This is Yakone publicly embarrassing her for good measure — you know, on top of the terrors of bloodbending. This is, “Oh, you’re the ‘greatest earthbender in the world,’ you say? Chief of police, you say? Allow me to show you how pathetic you actually are. Why THANK YOU for unlocking my cuffs because I MADE YOU do it. You’re just as weak and vulnerable as everyone else.”

From Toph’s perspective, I could really see the aftermath of this situation being a bit traumatic. She’s the type of person who relies on her arrogance — her self-esteem bolstered by her strength — to establish her identity. She’s constantly proclaiming herself as the greatest earthbender in the world, and it makes her feel tough and respected, enforcing others to do it.

But when push came to shove in this situation, someone else overpowered her like she was nothing while they were tied in HANDCUFFS.

If Aang hadn’t been there, Yakone would’ve gotten away.

I feel quite certain this event would’ve left a heavy dent in Toph’s precious ego, if only serving as a real reminder that she is NOT invincible, and that she should be grateful for the strength she has achieved, because there are those who are stronger than she is in the world.

Now, I’m sure she’d RECOVER from this, naturally, and still be sassy and cocky and all that good stuff we love her for…but think about it.

She’s given birth to Lin by now, she is a MOM when this is happening. She could’ve been killed, right then and there, if Yakone had wanted to do it. The thought of knowing that this crazy psychopath could kill her and leave her daughter without a mom would also be terrifying in and of itself.

5) Toph is a complex, well-rounded, entirely human character

She is not Chuck Norris. She is not a God. She is not invincible. She is not entirely insensitive. She is not man trapped in a woman’s body. She is a GIRL, who grows into a WOMAN, who becomes a MOTHER. And God damn, despite her childishness she is one amazing role model for kids.

Part of what makes Avatar so universally appealing is that it’s cast is SO HUMAN. They have strengths and flaws, and it’s a shame that a lot of the fandom tends to whittle down Toph, in particular, into this flat, two-dimensional character with no weaknesses. It’s Toph’s strength COMBINED with her weakness that make her such a damn fascinating character — and the same goes for the entire cast, it’s just that Toph, of the main characters, got the least development. That’s part of what made The Promise Part 2 so enjoyable, was we actually got to see another slice of Toph growing up.

So yea. There you go.

Toph is fucking amazing and I love her. I love all of the Avatar characters about the same, but I’ll confess Toph is my favorite to WRITE because she is very extreme in her actions, but subdued in her emotions. She’s childish but also confident with who she is and it’s entertaining to write a character that is so obviously flawed but so strong, both at the same time.

Today, we got a glimpse of Toph as a full grown adult.

In SRU, I’ve been enjoying writing a YOUNG adult Toph, one that possesses the same strengths and weaknesses, personality-wise, as her canon self, but with the added tweaks that come with a little age — like sexuality and being able to better empathize with others around her.

Sometimes I doubt myself concerning how I write SRU!Toph, but especially after seeing today that even grown-up Toph is still clearly a WOMAN and not a beefcake, I feel more confident in the direction I’ve taken my modern-day interpretation of her character.

At the end of the day, I am still trying to maintain the core elements of her character as listed above, because they are what make Toph who she is to me, and what make her special compared to so many other generic ice-queen-styled characters. Thank you, Bryke, for creating a cast of equal parts male AND female that are all fucking fantastically human.

Sorry for bringing a really old post back up from the ashes, but I was going through my likes, and this is still one of the best break-downs of Toph’s character that I’ve ever read, and I need it on my blog.

Hey, thanks. It was a long time ago that I wrote this — I think back when episode 9 first aired. That episode still being my favorite depiction of the adult Gaang so far in LoK, brief as that look was.

After Toph’s recent re-emergence as a granny, I think having my words from the past re-shot out there will help explain what I mean when I say that her old-lady self has devolved back into her 12 year-old self. Which is very fanservicey and in-character but also a little sad. Like, I’m actually sad for Toph’s character, that having kids and having the Gaang and having a real family wasn’t enough for her, apparently. She just ended up rejecting it and going back to doing exactly what she was doing when she was 12. That’s kind of depressing, actually, but out of all of the Gaang, Toph is the one most likely to reject all of those good things.

I can only hope that Book 4 of LoK hasn’t shown us the last of her and that we’ll still see a bit of character growth for her even at that age.

And if not? Well, Gene Yang’s recent ‘The Rift’ comic arc has been giving us a bunch of solid Aang/Toph conflict/growth that I can still appreciate, even if LoK’s apparent canon erases it in their old age.

It;s also worth noting that since I wrote those blog post, Katara has ended up moving up as my definitive favorite character in Avatar canon, with Toph and Korra respectively taking 2nd and 3rd place in my heart. I still love the Gaang all around, of course, I just especially enjoy writing the tension between Katara and Toph’s personality types, since they are both stubborn and rounded characters.

LoK 04 x 02 gave me a bit of all three of my favorite Avatar characters in one episode, all acting in character. It would make my day to see some granny Katara and Toph reunion.

I’m not really that worried about Toph’s (or any of the Gaang’s) characterisation in LOK and I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Toph just yet. Out of all the main Gaang, Toph got the least development in ATLA and she was even denied a field trip with Zuko (damn you Zuko, now look what’s happened to her!) so it would make sense if she got some of that denied character growth now. Lennat wrote a great meta post you might be interested in that provides a good explanation for her behaviour in the newest episode. It seems like, contrary to how she likes to present herself on the surface, Toph may not actually be in a good place right now and either Korra is able to help her, or her helping Korra becomes the catalyst for her to tackle her own problems. Also, Bryke said in a recent interview that a running theme in Book 4 will be forgiveness so I’m kind of thinking (hoping) that that theme will also extend to Lin and Toph, who still haven’t spoken in years as far as we know.

  • person: get your license
  • me: The Road Is A Terrifying Place And I Am Very Afraid To Drive

shmurdapunk:

speedlimit15:

exeggcute:

why is it that villains and not protagonists are always the ones breaking gender roles hmmmm 

it’s called queercoding and it’s intentional and basically brainwashes kids into having negative associations with those traits

 

nubbsgalore:

during the autumn rutting season, red deer stag find themselves with elaborate bracken crowns from having rubbed their heads against the ground, which they do to strengthen their neck muscles so as to help them in battle with those competing for the affections of the does. photos by (click pic) mark smith, toby melville, luke millward and greg morgan in london’s richmond park. (see also: more autumn rut in richmond park)

Is the person who prescribed the meds reliable enough to talk to?

It’s the psych I mentioned before, and he is reliable but I only see him every couple of months. The last time I saw him, I wasn’t able to express all the concerns I had because I was feeling so anxious. I ought to go to the GP (general practitioner) and they could give me some advice but I’m too scared to do that, too. :/

Sometimes I’m really tempted to go cold turkey on these meds. I really hate how they make me feel sometimes. I can’t seem to control my own emotions anymore, and I keep making such public displays of my own stupidity. I’m anxious all the fucking time now. It takes me ages to get to sleep each night because I can’t turn my brain off. But at the same time, they’ve done a lot of good for me too and I know that when you’re recovering from mental health problems, your brain often tries to convince you that you were better off how you were before, that this isn’t really “you”. And I just? It’s hard to know which is my real “normal”. I dunno what to do.

cadetheespeon:

"So Kuvira just handed me this knife…"

THE EMPEROR’S NEW WU-VE

I redrew my favorite part of the movie into the crossover everyone wants~

Sounds like ‘tough.’

destiny-smasher:

This week’s Legend of Korra was awesome, both the present AND the past. But it brought up some things about one character in particular that I’ve spent a great deal thinking about, talking about, and writing about over the past…well, almost two years. In my time exploring the fandom, I’ve seen this…interesting trend where Toph Bei Fong is often depicted as this God-on-earth, this indomitable beast of a person who is tough as a rock (lolol) and who bends to no one (lolol), a solid statue (lolol) of strength and determination.

(NOTE: I will be referencing some stuff from The Promise Part 2 and The Legend of Korra 1x09 in particular so if you don’t want that spoiled BEWARE and such)

I’ve also seen people act like she’s a man in a woman’s body, that she is some butch, manly, Chuck Norris figure.

This is quite incorrect.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not like Toph doesn’t possess many of the qualities described above. She herself, at times, seems very traditionally tomboy in her disinclination toward her own gender’s stereotypes.

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A big part of Toph’s character is that she IS tough, she IS strong, and independent, and not too big on girly things.

But Katara’s also entirely correct: Toph IS a girl. And she DOES act like one some times. Part of Toph’s mantra of being comfortable with who she is? Part of that ALSO means being comfortable with being a girl, something she seemed to struggle with here and there.

Of course, REALLY, Aang is a boy, who also acts boy-like and girl-like at times, like Toph, and you know, real people. So really the gender itself isn’t what’s important so much as the breaking down of gender stereotypes. What I really want discuss here has less to do with Toph acting girlish and MORE to do with a truth about her character: she is tough AND vulnerable. At the same time. Like the characters around her, and like a real person. With Toph, in particular, it seems this fact of her character gets glossed over in lieu of her toughness, while others like Katara get to enjoy being looked at as strong AND sensitive. Even though Toph is ALSO both of those things, but in different degrees.

Can we get past this immature fanwanking notion that Toph is invincible, uncaring, and unfazed by the world around her? It is flat-out not correct and it’s insensitive to the complexity of her character (IMO) to treat her character as some flat ice-queen stereotype. She’s not.

1) Toph is strong.

I don’t think we need to go over this, it’s pretty plain and obvious. Part of what makes Toph’s so appealing to so many is that despite a disability she has unique talents and strengths, she overcomes the limitations life has set before her, and she resists her own parents’ dismissal of her strength.

But from a character standpoint — you know, her PERSONALITY, not just her stat roll, trololol — Toph is rigid, strong, self-assured, confident. These are all amazing things, and ensure that she is going to be her, no matter what people think.

BUT…Toph DOES care what people think.

2) Toph cares about her appearance.

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I know it’s not technically canonical, and most of you wouldn’t know about it, but I’ve read through the children’s book that depicts the events of Book 2 from Toph’s perspective, and telling the story from within Toph’s internal perspective helps make more clear that a big trait of hers is that she DOES have feelings, and doubts, and fears, and she HIDES them because contrary to what she tries to convince those around her…Toph REALLY cares about how others look at her. I mean that metaphorically more than literally. I’m sure Toph’s interest in her physical appearance is generally mild, but as we saw in Tales of Ba Sing Se, even in that department, she sometimes questions if she is pleasing to look at (don’t worry, Hunny, you fill out quite nicely when you grow up, I’m just sayin’).

But that’s the less consequential part. Toph is VERY intent on making sure those around her look at her as what she WANTS to be perceived as. She specifically wants people to think she is tough, strong, independent, and so on. It’s why she was dressing up in ragged clothes and fighting wrestlers in front of a CROWD (which surely wasn’t for the money). It’s why she slaps somewhat mocking nicknames on everyone around her — because in conversation such mannerisms imply that she is dominant over those around her. “Sokka’s just a meat-obsessed idiot, Aang is a pansy, Katara’s too sensitive, but oh, not me, I’m TOPH BEI FONG, BITCHES, no one messes with me! I’m the end-all-be-all, I’m the GREATEST EARTHBENDER OF ALL TIME.”

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She’s pretty passive-aggressive toward Sokka, in particular, about getting him to tell her how GREAT she is, numerous times. Hmmm, funny that. =P It’s almost like since she has a crush on him it makes her THAT much more insistent on getting him to think she’s all that and a bag of chips.

When people (like Katara) try to point out any flaws she has, she gets all pissy and grumpy, and tries to compensate for her weakness by acting all tough and bossy.

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Toph’s childish self-pandering, her shouting, is her BEGGING to be seen, to be heard…It’s her DEMANDING attention — arguably because part of her doubts inside that anyone would CARE about her if she didn’t make her strength so intimidating. She was brought up by parents who tried to HIDE her own existence — a small but CRUCIAL detail of her upbringing that many don’t even CATCH when they watch the show though it’s definitely the case, since no one even knew the Bei Fongs HAD a daughter, and Toph herself states that she’s been hidden away. And AANG was the first person who reached out to her, who wanted to talk with her, interact with her, actively. Even after she pushed him away and dismissed him. It wasb’t because she was blind, but because of her earthbending. Her SKILL and talent and personality were what Aang was interested — she waited and listened. Her class, disability, family, NONE of that mattered to Aang, but he had this deep feeling in his gut that Toph was special, that Toph was dedicated and talented, and he wanted to train under her (it is precisely that very notion, that Aang was Toph’s first REAL friend, that is often the basis behind the more logical Taang shipping you’ll see out there).

The AVATAR wanted to train under HER. I bet that was an invigorating ego boost once they got the ball rolling on Aang’s earthbending training. But I think it’s also important that Aang COULD have trained under older, more experienced earthbenders, but he ultimately chose Toph. They needed her, and she really needed them, as a human being — she needed people who believed in her for HER, who she didn’t NEED to prove her worth, too. People who wanted her around because they looked at her as a FRIEND. Without that, I personally wonder where Toph’s life would’ve gone. Probably to shit.

Which brings me to my next point about her.

3) Toph has feelings.

I know it’s hard for people to accept, but she IS a person, a girl, and a CHILD during TLA story, and she acts like one throughout. She’s not a walking machine of destruction and arrogance and nothing else. She cries, she has feelings, self-doubts, fears, and she loves her friends. She runs away from home and eventually finds herself feeling GUILTY about how much she’s likely hurt her parents — even though she hates how her parents treat her, they are STILL her family and she still loves them.

But now she has the Gaang. And she loves THEM, too. She joins in on the group hugs, she gives her friends warm words of encouragement…and she questions whether their friendships will last.

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Because without them, what else does she have? What good is all of her earthbending skill if the only reason people care about her is out of FEAR? Toph clearly enjoys being bossy and respected and LOOKED UPON (see: point #2) as this amazing powerful person, and as much as she does love her independence, deep down I feel pretty certain she knows that she needs people around her who will help her through the tough times.

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While Toph is often at odds with Katara, she even admits that she LIKES that Katara is so passionate because Katara’s arguments with Toph are actually PROOF of how concerned Katara is. Katara loves Toph as a person, for who she is, regardless of her bending, or her blindness. And Katara is the one who helps Toph realize the pain involving her family that she’s been repressing.

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She has sensitive talks about herself with Aang, Katara, with Sokka, and even with Iroh and Zuko, too. She even says that Iroh talking about Zuko so much as “very sweet.” I wouldn’t be surprised if, for her, Iroh’s love for Zuko regardless of his mistakes made her respect him as a parental figure, probably even made her wish she had a parental figure that loved her that much, regardless of who she chose to be.

But at the end of the day, no matter what happened with her parents (because we still technically don’t know), one thing’s certain: Toph had a family in the Gaang, and she loved them.

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Toph does often try to hide her emotions and vulnerability, but she is a human being and actually not a cold-hearted, uncaring macho bitch so much as a cocky, sarcastic girl.

And as strong as she is, she is not invincible.

4) Toph is vulnerable.

It’s easy for people to write off the notion that anyone could defeat Toph, but she is just as vulnerable as the other Avatar characters. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I LOVE how in Avatar, the characters’ abilities are extreme, but their BODIES (well, aside from the radical aging properties) are just as vulnerable as ours are.

Toph is no exception. She’s strong, she’s talented, she is incredibly skilled, but she is NOT invincible.

For example, while Toph has super sensing as far as vibrations on the ground are concerned…but other things? Not so much.

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Flying through the air is not exactly a good place for her. Nor is being on ice, or in water, as she can’t swim, or feel herself on ice.

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Toss her around in the air (as opposed to her PROJECTING herself into the air, controlled by earth), or throw her in water, and suddenly all of her amazing strength becomes useless and she’s quite helpless. Likewise, she’s ALSO pretty vulnerable to fire, it’s easy to forget. She rarely had to fight actual firebenders. The one time I can recall that she fought firebenders BY HERSELF she surrounded herself in a suit of metal, because there’s no way for her to tell all too easily when/how/where fire is coming to burn her.

But geez, Zuko incapacitated her BY ACCIDENT, you may recall.

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With her precious bare feet burned, she was helpless and even needed to be CARRIED AROUND. Without a skilled healer like Katara around to help fix her feet up, Toph would’ve been pretty damn close to useless in a fight for some time until her burns healed.

And lastly, the big thing from this week — which is entirely expected, really — Toph would be rendered just as helpless as everyone else if she was getting bloodbended. A little more vulnerable, even, since she could be lifted from the ground, and thus wouldn’t be able to sense anything.

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I’d be willing to bet this was one of the most terrifying moments of Toph’s life. Even WORSE than almost drowning. At least THEN she still had control of her body. But THIS? Her insides are squirming beyond her control, she’s lifted off the ground and manipulated like a puppet. This is Yakone publicly embarrassing her for good measure — you know, on top of the terrors of bloodbending. This is, “Oh, you’re the ‘greatest earthbender in the world,’ you say? Chief of police, you say? Allow me to show you how pathetic you actually are. Why THANK YOU for unlocking my cuffs because I MADE YOU do it. You’re just as weak and vulnerable as everyone else.”

From Toph’s perspective, I could really see the aftermath of this situation being a bit traumatic. She’s the type of person who relies on her arrogance — her self-esteem bolstered by her strength — to establish her identity. She’s constantly proclaiming herself as the greatest earthbender in the world, and it makes her feel tough and respected, enforcing others to do it.

But when push came to shove in this situation, someone else overpowered her like she was nothing while they were tied in HANDCUFFS.

If Aang hadn’t been there, Yakone would’ve gotten away.

I feel quite certain this event would’ve left a heavy dent in Toph’s precious ego, if only serving as a real reminder that she is NOT invincible, and that she should be grateful for the strength she has achieved, because there are those who are stronger than she is in the world.

Now, I’m sure she’d RECOVER from this, naturally, and still be sassy and cocky and all that good stuff we love her for…but think about it.

She’s given birth to Lin by now, she is a MOM when this is happening. She could’ve been killed, right then and there, if Yakone had wanted to do it. The thought of knowing that this crazy psychopath could kill her and leave her daughter without a mom would also be terrifying in and of itself.

5) Toph is a complex, well-rounded, entirely human character

She is not Chuck Norris. She is not a God. She is not invincible. She is not entirely insensitive. She is not man trapped in a woman’s body. She is a GIRL, who grows into a WOMAN, who becomes a MOTHER. And God damn, despite her childishness she is one amazing role model for kids.

Part of what makes Avatar so universally appealing is that it’s cast is SO HUMAN. They have strengths and flaws, and it’s a shame that a lot of the fandom tends to whittle down Toph, in particular, into this flat, two-dimensional character with no weaknesses. It’s Toph’s strength COMBINED with her weakness that make her such a damn fascinating character — and the same goes for the entire cast, it’s just that Toph, of the main characters, got the least development. That’s part of what made The Promise Part 2 so enjoyable, was we actually got to see another slice of Toph growing up.

So yea. There you go.

Toph is fucking amazing and I love her. I love all of the Avatar characters about the same, but I’ll confess Toph is my favorite to WRITE because she is very extreme in her actions, but subdued in her emotions. She’s childish but also confident with who she is and it’s entertaining to write a character that is so obviously flawed but so strong, both at the same time.

Today, we got a glimpse of Toph as a full grown adult.

In SRU, I’ve been enjoying writing a YOUNG adult Toph, one that possesses the same strengths and weaknesses, personality-wise, as her canon self, but with the added tweaks that come with a little age — like sexuality and being able to better empathize with others around her.

Sometimes I doubt myself concerning how I write SRU!Toph, but especially after seeing today that even grown-up Toph is still clearly a WOMAN and not a beefcake, I feel more confident in the direction I’ve taken my modern-day interpretation of her character.

At the end of the day, I am still trying to maintain the core elements of her character as listed above, because they are what make Toph who she is to me, and what make her special compared to so many other generic ice-queen-styled characters. Thank you, Bryke, for creating a cast of equal parts male AND female that are all fucking fantastically human.

Sorry for bringing a really old post back up from the ashes, but I was going through my likes, and this is still one of the best break-downs of Toph’s character that I’ve ever read, and I need it on my blog.

iruka-2013:

That was just some tough rhetoric to let people know that we mean business.

I went into this episode know that that the eponymous coronation wasn’t going to go smoothly, but I expected some sort of violent coup by Kuvira’s forces, or at least a kidnapping that might lead into the train scene in a couple of episodes.

Turns out Kuvira doesn’t need to do any of that. All she has to do is point at Prince Wu and say “This man has no power,” and he spends the rest of the episode fruitlessly yelling “RESPECT THE BROOCH!” and stealing toy scepters from kids, because Kuvira has the power to make it true. I think she really is the scariest villain LoK has had so far. 

And while the spirit-vine stuff is very worrying (what if Republic City is not meant to be the endpoint of Kuvira’s conquest, but some sort of power source for a new attack outside the Earth Kingdom’s historic borders?), I’m pretty sure that fleeting mention of “prison camps” will come back to haunt our heroes as well. 

(Geez, we’ve got ten episodes left… think of what Amon did with his forces did in just five, between “The Aftermath” and “Endgame”…) 

(Source: cainora)

reese-wilkersons:

That’s air!