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The Untold Truth Of Toph Beifong From Avatar: The Last Airbender

Toph Beifong (voiced by Michaela Jill Murphy), the blind, short-tempered, and overwhelmingly powerful earthbender from Avatar: The Last Airbender, is a fan-favorite from the beloved series. She even makes an appearance in Book 4: Balance of The Legend of Korra, the spinoff series set 70 years after Avatar's conclusion, which is now making a splash in the world of video games to boot

Toph first appears on Avatar when Aang (Zach Tyler) has a vision of her, leading him to believe that she is destined to be his earthbending teacher. They officially meet in the episode "The Blind Bandit" when they battle each other in an underground earthbending tournament — a competition in which Toph is the reigning champion. She may be blind, but she uses that to her advantage and becomes an earthbending master — arguably the most powerful earthbender seen in either series. Through Toph, Avatar: The Last Airbender provides amazing representation for people with vision disabilities. Even knowing all that, there are many things about the character Toph Beifong that may surprise you.

Through Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Legend of Korra, and all the canonical graphic novels, there's a lot to learn about Toph, and she has quite the story. Here are a few facts that even the most devoted fan might not know.

Toph founded the Beifong Metalbending Academy

Toph may not be able to see through her eyes, but she can "see" the whole world and its movement through her feet. She learns how to do this from badgermoles, a blind species of mammal native to the Earth Kingdom. According to in-universe lore, badgermoles were the first creatures to master earthbending — so Toph's clearly learning from the best. Though she's already a master when Aang meets her, Toph learns a lot more as she travels with the crew.

When Toph is captured and trapped in a metal box, she senses the impurities in the metals and learns how to manipulate them, successfully breaking out. It's a first for any earthbender: the power to metalbend, previously thought impossible. As her skill with metalbending develops, Toph also learns how to bend liquid metals, like mercury.

After helping win the Hundred Year War against the Fire Nation, Toph establishes the Beifong Metalbending Academy in Yu Dao to teach other earthbenders the new skill. The upcoming standalone graphic novel Toph Beifong's Metalbending Academy, which comes out on February 16, 2021, tells the story of Toph's efforts to build her metalbending school. All of the comics and graphic novels released are connected to the series and creators, and accepted as canon in the Avatar: The Last Airbender universe, so it's safe to say that a life of teaching is Toph's actual fate after the series' conclusion.

By the time Korra is the Avatar on the successor series, metalbending has spread throughout the Earth Kingdom. It's used by the police force of Republic City and the Metal Clan of Zaofu. It's also a key aspect of Kuvira (Zelda Williams), the main antagonist of Book Four: Balance.

Toph can sense if someone is lying

Though her ability to sense seismic activity and use it for earthbending is fully explored in Avatar: The Last Airbender, her powers extend much further, and Toph can easily sense the movement inside everyone around her. Because of this, she can track people's heartbeats and tell if they are lying or not, an ability called "truth-seeking," though there are limitations.

As Team Avatar searches for Appa during season 2, Toph reveals that she can't sense people's heartbeats through sand. Appa is taken by sandbenders as they search the desert for Wan Shi Tong's Library in the episode entitled "The Library," the tenth episode of Book Two: Earth. Later on in the season, in episode 17, entitled "Lake Laogai," Toph tries to determine if Jet (Crawford Wilson) is lying to them about what he is doing in Ba Sing Se, but because he's brainwashed and made to believe what he says is true, it reads as truth to her.

Other people with great control of their emotions, or those that don't have a true concept of right and wrong like Azula (Grey Griffin), can trick Toph with a lie. Despite these situations, Toph's skill is very helpful to Avatar Aang and the others on their journey, and definitely an overlooked feature of her extensive abilities.

Toph has two daughters, Lin and Suyin Beifong

The Legend of Korra reveals some of Toph's personal relationship history in the years since the Hundred Year War, and Korra meets many of the earthbender's descendants. We find out in Korra that two decades after the war, Toph gave birth to a daughter, Lin (Mindy Sterling). Throughout Lin's life, Toph avoids discussing her father with her. Along with that, Toph gives both Lin, and her younger daughter Suyin (Anne Heche), too much freedom, perhaps overcompensating for her own rigid upbringing. This strains her relationship with her daughters, and Toph and Lin spend a 20-year period not speaking. 

Her younger daughter Suyin is born six years after Lin to a different father. Both daughters take their mother's last name and inherit her great skill in bending. While Lin also takes after their mother personality-wise, Suyin is more carefree and happy, and she marries and has five kids. Toph is someone who usually prefers to be on her own, and the fact that she manages to have kids and maintain her independence is amazing, and only adds to the character's status as a role model. 

You can see Toph and everything that makes her such an iconic and inspiring character on Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra, or wait for Netflix's upcoming live-action adaptation of Avatar: The Last AirbenderWith a new graphic novel coming up and more sure to follow, who knows what other secrets the earthbending master has to discover.