Avatar fans have come up with a theory about Aang’s secret child, which completely changes what is known about the last airbender.
Many major events occurred in the time that elapsed between the end of Avatar: The Last Airbender and the beginning of The legend of Korra. Technology has advanced a lot, the political landscape has changed, and the characters have grown up, had children and died. Many of these changes were directly stated, while others were only subtly implicit. This subtlety leaves a lot of room for the development of interesting theories that completely turn the world of Avatar upside down.
After Harmonic Convergence, the spiritual energy of the world changed, causing many random people to acquire airbending abilities. These random people had virtually no control over their airbending powers and no skill with their abilities. However, Zaheer, someone who was meant to be a nonbender his entire life, immediately demonstrated advanced skills with his airbending. He was competent enough to easily take down the White Lotus agents and take on an airbender like Tenzin.
The series explains this level of power by revealing that Zaheer has a deep interest in the culture and spiritual knowledge of Air Nomad. This would explain how Zaheer knew about airbending techniques, but it doesn’t explain his skill level or why he would have advanced knowledge of a culture that was nearly destroyed. Even Aang’s son, Bumi, had to be trained before he became proficient in airbending. Some fans believe that Zaheer’s airbending talent has an even deeper meaning than that presented by the series.
Zaheer is the forgotten son
Some fans have developed a theory claiming that Zaheer is Aang’s first son and an airbender. It was established by Tenzin that Aang was very focused on transmitting the culture and history of the Air Nomads to a child airbender. This would explain how Zaheer has such a deep knowledge of historical figures like Guru Laghima. Aang’s teachings on the culture and history of Air Nomad are said to be the foundation of Zaheer’s radical philosophy.
AvatarZaheer14 suggests that Zaheer misinterpreted Aang’s teachings. Zaheer developed a style of airbending that was more aggressive and violent than the original defensive martial art. Zaheer’s misunderstanding of the Air Nomad’s ideas about freedom and the loss of his earthly attachments caused him to do something horrible – something so bad that Aang was forced to withdraw bending by Zaheer. Maybe Zaheer tried to kill a world leader or even attacked his own father because he felt the world didn’t need an Avatar anymore.
Regardless of what Zaheer did, AvatarZaheer14 believes Aang’s actions motivated him to join the Red Lotus and later attempt to kidnap Korra. When harmonic convergence occurred, Zaheer’s natural airbending abilities were returned to him. This theory makes Zaheer’s conflict with the Avatar much more personal, and Aang’s character much more complex.
Zaheer is a stray air sidekick
Another theory from Reddit proposes that Zaheer was not Aang’s son but that the two still had a close relationship. Reddit user u / lukario claims that Zaheer was an Air sidekick who was personally trained by Aang. Legend of Korra shows that an order of monks lived in the Air Temples and practiced Air Nomad culture. These monks greatly admire the Air Nomad culture and traditions. They study the surviving stories of the Air Nomads just like Zaheer. It would make sense if Zaheer was one of those air sidekicks.
If Zaheer were personally flanked by Aang, it would make sense for him to be such a strong airbender after Harmonic Convergence. As Air Acolyte, Zaheer is said to have had access to Air Nomad’s history and information about Guru Lighama that fueled his ideology. This theory is taken even further by u / lukario’s suggestion that Aang could have tried to give Zaheer airbending with his energybending. If Aang failed to bend Zaheer, he may have grown grudge against the Avatar and decided to join the Red Lotus.
Whether or not Zaheer is Aang’s secret child or his lost student, these theories do a great job of filling in the gaps left by the series. Zaheer’s interest in Air Nomad culture becomes more than just a character quirk; it becomes an integral aspect of its identity and its past. These theories also add depth to Aang’s character as an adult. How would Aang have reacted knowing he had a son or a student he was unable to stop going to the dark side?
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