Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Why Avatar: The Last Airbender Fans Have An Issue With Katara Judging Toph's Grifting

Katara (Mae Whitman) and Toph (Jessie Flower) on "Avatar: The Last Airbender" are both on the right side of the show's conflicts, but they're often very different people. Where Katara and her brother Sokka (Jack DeSena) had to be more responsible within their tribe, and are authoritative and take charge of situations, Toph is rebellious and provocative. The blind, talented earthbender came from an upper-crust family, so she prefers to be direct and to flaunt her rude manners.

Toph and Katara often get along, as Toph is able to see Katara's compassion and how she values her for who she is. Katara for one appreciates that Toph is so confident in herself. In "The Tales of Ba Sing Se" episode, the pair bond while spending a day at the spa. Yet the earthbender's blunt, unreserved approach can create conflict between them, such as when they fight over how to teach Aang proper bending skills.

Conflict also occurred when Katara took issue with Toph grifting people, but Redditors thought this particular argument was hypocritical. 

Katara's previous stealing was brought up by commenters

Book Three episode "The Runaway" depicts Toph using her earthbending powers to run some scams and get Team Avatar out of financial trouble. Katara disapproves of this, insisting these schemes are immoral, but Toph tells her to butt out.

u/Birchtree16 thought Katara's actions here were contradictory, posting a meme on the r/TheLastAirbender subreddit asking, "is [sic] she forgetting she stole a waterbending scroll?" The poster was referencing the Book One episode "The Waterbending Scroll," where Katara took the object to outrank Aang at his own bending powers.

One commenter did agree with u/Birchtree 16, writing, "I hate her so much, biggest hypocrite in the whole show." Many comments pointed out that Katara had grown as a result of her previous experience. u/mariobrojr believed "That's how she learns stealing is wrong," and u/calhin4 wrote, "she was trying to help toph [sic] to not make the same mistake she did." Katara even says at the end of "The Waterbending Scroll" that she learned not to steal, "except from pirates."

As much as Katara feels to Toph like an interfering parent, she's also trying to help her because she knows how thievery can go terribly wrong.

Katara's morality is challenged in The Puppetmaster

Like other main characters Aang (Zach Tyler Eisen) and Prince Zuko (Dante Basco), Katara's moral perspective on the world is often challenged by her travels and encounters with others. In one of the best "Avatar" episodes, the young waterbender learns about a new way to channel her power, except this technique, to her horror, requires committing serious atrocities.

Book 3 episode "The Puppetmaster" features Team Avatar encountering Hama (Tress MacNeille), an old woman within her village who offers the group a place to spend the night. Hama reveals herself to be a member of the Southern Water tribe, just like Sokka and Katara, and offers to teach Katara more waterbending techniques.

However, Hama eventually reveals that she was imprisoned by the Fire Nation, and used a frightening technique she calls "bloodbending" to escape, namely controlling people by manipulating the water inside the blood. Katara is appalled and realizes Hama is responsible for recent disappearances in the village, having vowed vengeance on the Fire Nation's people.

At first, Katara refuses to learn bloodbending herself, but eventually must use it to protect Aang and Sokka from Hama's wrath. The villagers capture Hama but she's just happy that Katara has learned to bloodbend after all. The young waterbender then cries while Aang and Sokka comfort her. Ultimately it's another moment in the show where characters have to make difficult choices and grow in the process.