Who is one of the first people that you think of when it comes to Avatar: The Last Airbender? It could be Zuko, or even Katara, maybe even the insightful Uncle Iroh, who has given us plenty of words of wisdom time and time again. But I feel like we’d be leaving out one very important person, and that is my man, Aang - well, really my boy in the series, since he’s technically only twelve.
Regardless, Aang is the main protagonist of Avatar: The Last Airbender, the supposed Avatar that’s been hidden for 100 years and is now out and trying to learn all the elements to take on Firelord Ozai (voiced by the wonderful Mark Hamill). But I feel like sometimes we all forget that Aang is actually super powerful despite his normally goofy personality, and now, I’m going to look at six specific moments (and one extra) that show just how incredibly powerful Aang can be.
When Aang Became The Youngest Airbending Master In History
I feel like we all forget about this one in Avatar: The Last Airbender. Aang was literally the youngest Airbending master in Air Nomad history, as we find out in Book 1. We get flashbacks occasionally throughout the show to Aang’s past, before he freezes himself in that iceberg, and often, it shows how skillful he was at bending air.
Monk Gyatso (one of Aang’s closest advisors and friends) often spoke to Aang about his powers, and guided him along the way, but there’s no doubt in my mind that this is one of his most impressive feats and shows just how powerful he truly is. Years and years later, he’s surpassed by his granddaughter, Jinora, who becomes the youngest Airbending master at eleven in The Legend of Korra. I suppose it must run in the family.
When Aang Somehow Froze Himself For 100 Years
While Aang freezing himself originally was a way to get out of the Avatar deal in Avatar: The Last Airbender -- since he was, as any twelve year old would probably be, scared -- I think we all gloss over the fact that Aang somehow froze himself in an iceberg and technically stayed alive for 100 years without aging, as we see in the first episode, "The Boy in the Iceberg" in Season 1.
He used Airbending to somehow surround himself and Appa (his pet flying bison) in an air bubble, that froze into an iceberg very quickly, and somehow kept himself alive for a century. The idea of Aang literally using cryonics to somehow keep his body alive and in suspended animation is seriously crazy, considering all he really knew before this was Airbending.
When Aang Used The Power Of The Moon To Take Out The Siege On The Northern Water Tribe
The finale of the first season of Avatar: The Last Airbender, specifically the second part, "The Siege Of The North, Part 2," featured plenty of awe-inspiring moments, but one of the biggest was when Aang was able to connect with the Ocean Spirit and basically turn into a Godzilla-like monster to wipe out the siege that the Fire Nation was trying to put on the Northern Water Tribe.
It’s intense and scary but think about it: this is literally all still the first season, and this is with him not knowing Earthbending or Firebending yet, and Aang is still scary as all hell taking out all the soldiers so that way, the Northern Water Tribe can be safe. It just goes to show how quickly he was able to master Waterbending and use it to his advantage, thanks to the great Katara.
When Aang Confronted The Sandbenders
While this doesn’t necessarily have to do with any of Aang’s bending abilities in Avatar: The Last Airbender, I’m going to highlight something that needs to be talked about - Aang’s rage. While Aang is usually a very happy go lucky kind of guy, who likes to look on the positive side of issues and tends to lean towards peace, he does have a very deep repressed anger that rarely comes out. And it only does usually when someone he loves is in danger.
There is no better example of this anger than the Season 2 (or, otherwise known as “Book 2”) episode, “The Desert,” where Aang confronts the Sandbenders that stole Appa (which was honestly one of the biggest twists ever in the show) in the previous episode, “The Library,” and when he finds out Appa was muzzled and sold, he literally destroys everything around him, entering into the Avatar State.
If Katara wasn’t there, he probably would have ended up seriously hurting the Sandbenders, which is something that Aang is usually very much against. It just goes to show how powerful he can be when he’s angry.
When Aang Somehow Survived Azula’s Blast Of Lightning
Azula is one of those villains in Avatar: The Last Airbender that I actually feel bad for, because she needs serious mental help near the end of the series, especially with the Avatar: The Last Airbender ending. I’m still a bit upset that we never saw her redemption arc on television, but maybe in a future movie we could have that.
However, there’s no denying that she was still a prodigy who was trying to impress her father, and using her Lightning generation abilities, she strikes Aang during the Season 2 finale, "The Crossroads of Destiny," in that final fight.
While it does severely cut Aang’s abilities to enter into the Avatar State (until the end of Season 3), Aang somehow survives this. While Katara’s healing abilities play a major part and heal Aang while they fly away using special healing water from the Northern Water Tribe, Aang still is breathing after this, just severely injured. Most people would die from a strike like Azula’s, and yet, somehow, he survives. That’s a display of power and strength.
When He Literally Took Away Firelord Ozai’s Bending Ability
Season 3 (“Book 3”) of Avatar: The Last Airbender is hands down, one of my favorite seasons, for many reasons. It has Zuko’s redemption arc, we get to see Katara freaking learn how to Bloodbend (which is scary in and of itself), but obviously, the finale is some of the best animation to ever be put on TV, named “Sozin’s Comet, Part 4: Avatar Aang,” and that final fight between Aang and Firelord Ozai is brilliant.
But this is where we all learn that Aang is still an Air Nomad, which means he’s not like Kyoshi or other Avatars that say that death for an enemy of this magnitude is usually the only option. Aang thinks all life is precious, and instead of killing Firelord Ozai, he takes his bending away, using a new form called “Energybending.”
I mean, seriously. How can you think that Aang isn’t powerful when he’s able to take the power that someone holds away from them? It’s incredibly impressive. While we do see Energybending in the sequel series, The Legend of Korra (which you should definitely watch), Aang’s first usage of it is truly the best and shows just how strong he is.
Honorable Mention: When Aang Takes Down Yakone
While this flashback isn’t featured in Avatar: The Last Airbender and rather The Legend of Korra during the Season 1 episode, "The Voice in the Night," it’s still an important moment to mention. Aang is able to subdue Yakone, who was a crime lord and the first male Bloodbender, and Aang was able to take him down during a fight in his adult years, removing his bending ability.
Writing about Aang just makes me more excited for the upcoming Avatar: The Last Airbender animated movie because I’ll get to see how powerful he got in his later years as a young adult, so I’m even more excited now. Or maybe I should just re-watch the series like I also do, as this truly is one of the best animations of all time.
Regardless, there’s no denying that Aang is powerful, and if you want to see him be even more powerful, check out the comics.
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A self-proclaimed nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire, Alexandra Ramos is a Content Producer at CinemaBlend. She first started off working in December 2020 as a Freelance Writer after graduating from the Pennsylvania State University with a degree in Journalism and a minor in English. She primarily works in features for movies, TV, and sometimes video games. (Please don't debate her on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!) She is also the main person who runs both our daily newsletter, The CinemaBlend Daily, and our ReelBlend newsletter.