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The Sokka Detail That Bothers Avatar: The Last Airbender Fans

Avatar: The Last Airbender's secret sauce is its characters. From the tea-loving Iroh (voiced by Mako Iwamatsu and Greg Baldwin) to the indomitable Toph (Michaela Jill Murphy), each character is wonderfully voice acted and carefully crafted. Without them — no matter how intricate the fantastical world of the show is or how beautifully it's animated — everything falls apart.

Take Sokka (Jack DeSena), the lovable goofball who experiences surprisingly mature character development and keeps Team Avatar grounded — both with his sense of humor and lack of bending ability. As if it weren't clear enough already by season 3, the episode "Sokka's Master" reveals just how vital Sokka is to the team. He takes some time off to train in the way of the sword, and the rest of Team Avatar doesn't know what to do: They can't handle the schedule, read maps, or even make good jokes. Sokka matters to them more than they know.

There's one thing about Sokka, however, that doesn't quite add up, and it has to do with one of his most prominent traits: his cynicism. He's the kind of guy who likes to question everything going on around him, sarcastically or otherwise. As pointed out by Redditor awaysaway23, there's one case in which Sokka's questioning ways don't make a whole lot of sense.

Sokka and the swamp

Over the course of his journey with Aang (Zach Tyler Eisen), Sokka is forced to suspend his disbelief many, many times — yet he spends a good portion of season one trying (and failing) to demerit bending as magical nonsense. Between being kidnapped by the mad spirit Hei Bai and taken into the Spirit World, seeing Aang call upon the spirit of Avatar Roku (James Garrett), and witnessing Aang enter the Avatar State and become a gigantic water monster, even Sokka has to admit there's more to the world than meets the eye.

All of the above occurs in season 1, so you wouldn't expect that Sokka would totally drop his cynical attitude by season 2, per se, but he is at least more open to the abnormal. The season 2 episode "The Swamp," where u/awaysaway23's observation comes in, says otherwise.

Team Avatar is caught in a vicious tornado which hurtles them into a great swamp, stranding them and separating them from Appa and Momo (both Dee Bradley Baker). Aang senses a strong spiritual energy in the swamp, and Katara (Mae Whitman) is inclined to believe him. It makes sense: Aang is the Avatar, the bridge between the physical and spirit worlds, so he's in tune with things that others might not be. Katara's also seen him do amazing things and had amazing things happen to her; the same could be said of Sokka.

Sokka, however, decides to completely ignore Aang's intuition. Aang believes the swamp shouldn't be trifled with, even if that means finding ways forward that don't involve slicing through branches and vines. Sokka's response: hack and slash away at anything standing in his way. When night falls and they decide to set up camp, Sokka chops up some wood to make a fire despite Aang's insistence that the swamp wouldn't like that. It isn't until they're separated and Sokka has a vision of Yue (Johanna Braddy) that he stops being so cynical.

Finding a way to reconcile this seeming breach of character development is difficult. Again, Sokka is forever cynical, but by Avatar's end his cynicism is more or less directed away from the supernatural. Traveling with and befriending Aang expands his horizons, helping him grow into the leader he's always wanted to be and broadening his view of the world. "The Swamp" may be a long way off from the completion of Sokka's character arc, but it's also a long way off from the beginning of the story. Fans are right to feel bothered by this out-of-place detail.