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Why Katara From Avatar: The Last Airbender Is More Terrifying Than You Think

Avatar: The Last Airbender is loved by many for its well-written characters that slowly become more powerful with every episode. While the series mainly focuses on Aang's progression towards becoming a fully realized Avatar, its writers also highlighted amazing feats of strength by other characters. One of these characters is Katara, the last waterbender of the entire Southern Water Tribe.

At the beginning of the series, Katara struggles with using her abilities effectively. However, she does show promise during fight sequences in which she is able to freeze her opponents and better control her water whips. It isn't until she arrives at the North Pole and meets Master Pakku — a seasoned waterbending instructor — that she shows the true extent of her abilities. During a fight between Katara and Pakku, he even admits that Katara is a talented waterbender and has incredible potential. 

As the series progresses, Katara begins to hone her skills and is capable of holding her own against incredibly gifted benders such as Azula and Toph. However, it isn't just Katara's pure, raw talent that makes her a threat, but rather one extremely rare ability that very few waterbenders possess.

Katara's bloodbending is the strongest weapon in her arsenal

It isn't until the show's final season in which Katara demonstrates the extent of her actual power. In the episode "The Puppetmaster," Aang and the group are introduced to Hama, a Southern Water Tribe waterbender living in secret in the Fire Nation. After learning this discovery, Hama offers to teach Katara various waterbending techniques. However, there's one specific ability Hama teaches Katara that can only be performed during a full moon when waterbenders are at their most powerful — bloodbending.

Hama learned this technique when she was imprisoned by Fire Nation soldiers during the Hundred Year War. She practiced bending the water in rats in order to control them before she moved on to attempting the technique on humans. With this ability, she was able to escape from prison by forcing the guard to open her cell. After explaining this technique to Katara, the young waterbender realizes that Hama is the person responsible for making various villagers in the Fire Nation town disappear during the full moon. After a fight breaks out between the two, Katara reluctantly bloodbends Hama in order to prevent Aang and Sokka from fatally wounding each other.

After this episode, Katara vows to never use bloodbending ever again due to the horrific nature of the ability. However, she breaks this promise during the episode titled "The Southern Raiders," where she and Zuko go on a journey to find the person who was responsible for murdering her mother. When the duo encounter who they believe is the killer, Katara bloodbends the man in order to restrain him and get a closer look, only to find out he isn't the killer after all.

Although her own moral compass prevents her from using this technique, it's still terrifying to think about what damage Katara could do if she allowed herself to bloodbend. The show's spin-off, Legend of Korra, also expands on this ability in the form of Amon, a talented waterbender who is able to bloodbend without a full moon. In addition to this, Amon was also able to use this technique to take away people's bending abilities. Bloodbending is one of the most powerful forms of bending in Avatar, and it's no secret why this makes Katara a truly terrifying opponent.