Last Friday’s series finale of The Legend of Korra was filled with beautifully animated bending battles, an ingenious solving of a colossal problem, and character growth. Varrick and Zhu Li got married, Kuvira realized the err in her ways about being afraid of fear, the Beifongs are stronger than ever, the Earth states are to gain independence and free elections, and the Avatar carves out a new canal from which future generations can flow through.
Leading up to the climactic final conflict between Korra and Kuvira, the two part finale demonstrated to audiences what it had been building up to all along since book one: the value and advantages in partnership. The brothers Mako/Bolin were the first example at how it is more important to operate in pairs rather than going out on it alone. Other power teams were the sisters Beifong and the Airbabies with Tenzin. Indeed, in ATLA, Azula was only as strong as her trio-ship with Mai and Tai Lee. Sure she was a formidable opponent, as seen in the agnikai between Zuko and she, but when corned in “The Chase” she was forced to flee, injuring Iroh in the process. The same can be said with Kuvira. Without having all the Earth states under her flag, she never would have gained the support and strength to make an attack on the United Republic. She kicked ass in her Colossus during the invasion of Republic City yet crumbled when the machine was sabotaged.
The lesson Brike were trying to convey to their audience in this culminating showdown was how important it is to find someone else who picks up the slack of your flaws, someone who has your back no matter what. Mako said something of the same thing in his last on screen heart-to-heart with Korra during the wedding reception. However, this was in no way a segway for the two to get back together in a romantic relationship. Quite the opposite.
Now here’s where it has taken me a lot of consideration and mind-opening. When Korra and Asami decided to go off into the spirit world together, hand in hand, I rejected the possibility of their relationship being romantic. It doesn’t seem in line with their character, said I. They’ve both dated Mako, and I was of the opinion that this hand holding and facing each other in a matrimonial way was more of a testament to the strength of their friendship.
I was being narrow minded, however, and reluctant to think Brike would take the show in a direction that wasn’t, erm typical(?).
In actuality, Korrasami is a real thing. Click here to read an article about Mike and Bryan talking about Korra and Asami’s relationship becoming romantic. They wanted to show the flexible nature of the Avatar world, how they can speak loudly while carrying a big stick, the kind of stick that packs a wallop for progress for the content and future of not only Avatar but other cartoons that wish to be taken more seriously. (I have always argued that Avatar is not just a kid’s show and doesn’t deserve to be mixed up with other shows lacking in the kind of quality Avatar has on Nickelodeon. I am not grateful that the network ran it in the first place nevertheless.)
At the idea of Korra and Asami becoming a couple, as off-put as I was at Avatar churning out a bisexual pair, I had to stop and reconsider what I was doing in dismissing the idea that characters aren’t truly flushed out until it’s all said and done, which is the case in Korra. The best tool I used to rationalize was when Jo Rowling said Albus Dumbledore was gay to a fan. I had the same thoughts to that news as I did with Korrasami, perhaps more severe. I was disappointed in Jo’s choice and her decision. But then I was a lot younger when I learned and have since grown-up. Dumbledore, through his love for Grindelwald, understood that he could not be trusted with power and behaved accordingly. Really, his gayness doesn’t matter. It’s just an accessory to the overall character portrait.
The same, I concluded, can be said about Korra and Asami.
In the end, it doesn’t matter that they’ve discovered more intimate feelings for each other as long as they are happy, and it goes along with the everything else in the story. Let’s be real here, Korra and Asami make quite an impressive team. They’ve been through a lot of shit and have kicked a lot more ass together. They’ve got each other’s back and compliment the other: Korra can bend and Asami is tech-savvy and is resourceful. Reflecting back, it makes sense they see something in each other. Asami was the only one Korra wrote to during her recovery after Zaheer. She felt comfortable talking to Asami not because it was a good hint-drop at future romantic development but because Korra felt like she could confide in someone she cared about. The two women feel totally linked to each other. They’re a high functioning pair that other females (and males) can look up to. They’re not just lovers; they’re best friends, and that’s something everyone who’s still having doubts should think about.
I was on the same boat as Bryan, looking at them through a hetero lens, such is my default but also my flaw. As a writer, I need to be open to all possibilities a character can take during their development. I need to be able to not shut out options that don’t necessarily fit with how I live. That’s the point in writing after all, to be able to step into the shoes of someone else, embrace the unusual, and make them convincing. I look forward to writing future stories where I can learn everything I can from the characters. Thanks to Korrasami for bravely going where not many have gone before.