*spoilers, of course*
I know sometimes it hurts more to hope and it hurts more to care, but you have to promise me you’ll never stop caring.
That quote right there sums up Katara’s character. She was the one to hope and stay positive no matter what.
We meet Katara right at the start when she and her brother, Sokka, are out hunting for food. Sokka finds bending unnatural and makes some rather sexist remarks which causes Katara to get angry and stir up some water. Even though she had trouble with bending at first, this was the potential Katara had to become a strong bender. Because of this she was able to bring the Avatar back to the surface and bring him back to the world.
Katara could have easily been written just to be Aang’s love interest since that’s what we assume will happen from the moment he looks at her. Thankfully that was never the case. Katara was her own person and did what she wanted. She never needed a love interest, but it was fun watching her and Aang’s relationship develop.
Throughout the three seasons Katara gradually becomes a deadly waterbender. Even before she was properly trained by a waterbending master Katara discovers she has healing abilities which would come in handy numerous times throughout the show. When she does reach a master he refuses to teach her, being a girl he would rather her learn more about healing, but Katara wants to fight. She even fights the master to earn the respect she deserves and does win him over. In a short amount of time Katara gets to the point where she could train Aang waterbending herself.
Because of Katara’s smarts she’s able to find different ways to use waterbending. When they’re stuck in the desert with no water at all she uses her sweat. She learns to use water from plants and despite being a highly dangerous move, learns to bloodbend.
Katara forms many relationships throughout the show. Of course there is her brother who she loves deeply. They have the usual sibling banter but they’ve had to grow up without parents and that has only made them closer. Despite being around two boys for the first season, Toph and eventually Suki become part of the group. Toph and Katara started out with some tension but did become close and Katara and Suki always seemed to get along. Then there’s Zuko who has had a rocky relationship with Katara. In the season two finale she and Zuko have a moment where they talk about losing their mothers, but it’s eventually thrown out the window when a fight erupts. When Zuko decides to join the group it took Katara some time before trusting him, but it did come. (Katara and Zuko were actually supposed to be love interests but it was changed. This has caused many people to ship Zuko and Katara.) I am actually more of a Katara and Aang fan. Like I said, it was fun to watch their relationship change (but they did marry and have kids.)
Throughout the show Katara and Sokka have said many of times the Fire Nation took their mother. Being a kids show I always assumed they meant they took her away and never saw her again. This is definitely not the case. When she was young, the Fire Nation came to look for the last waterbender (being Katara) in their tribe. Her mother told them it was her and protected Katara. Instead of taking her prisoner, she was actually murdered, and Katara was the first one to find her.
Katara grew out of her scared little girl phase. She got the opportunity to get her revenge, but never went through with it. However, she was never able to forgive the man that killed her mother. Katara went to extreme lengths to find this man (and even bloodbended.)
Katara went through a pretty big character development. She learned to fight, became a powerful waterbender, and gained even more wisdom and knowledge than what she already carried. She became a threat to everyone around her.
And always looked so graceful while doing so.
Katara’s story didn’t end with The Last Airbender. When Legend of Korra started I’m sure some were surprised to see an older Katara still alive and helping the new Avatar. During Korra we learned plenty of things Katara did later in life.
Thanks to Katara bloodbending became illegal and because of this the group was able to capture a powerful one that wanted to bring everyone down. She was even called, “the most powerful healer in the world.”
In her personal life Katara married Aang and they had three kids who would also make a big impact in the world. She was even still alive to watch her grandchildren grow up.
Katara was more than just a pretty face. She was caring and full of wisdom, even after a dark past. We watch her grow up, mentally and physically. She could have easily been called one of the most powerful waterbenders even at a young age. The romantic relationship she had with Aang was thankfully never a big part of the show. We wanted to see Katara reach her full potential and there’s no doubt she had.