Women in Fiction: Toph

I don’t care what I look like. I’m not looking for anyone’s approval. I know who I am.


*spoilers, of course*

Avatar: the Last Airbender has created many memorable characters, but this one didn’t even appear until the second season. While lost in a swamp that created hallucinations, Aang saw a young girl in a tree next to a flying boar. A season later we met Toph, the same girl from those visions.

Aang needed to find an earthbending teacher and so they went to a part of the Earth Kingdom that had “underground” bending battles. The reigning champ was a little blind girl who kicked everyone’s ass. Even though Toph is blind she used the ground to see vibrations and became practically unstoppable from it.

Despite being so powerful her parents raised her with bodyguards. They thought she was defenseless, but it was eventually revealed who the real Toph was. She ran away from home to teach the Avatar earthbending.

Toph’s personality came through right away. She’s independent, sarcastic, and more of a “tomboy,” but like she said, she’s never cared about her looks. Even though there were problems at first Toph quickly became a strong member of the group. When teaching Aang to earthbend she was ruthless and didn’t accept any excuses. While Katara had more of a gentle touch, Toph thought the best way to learn was throw giant boulders at the Avatar.


Towards the end of the season her parents sent two benders after Toph to bring her home. While trapped in a metal box her captures made a comment not even she can metalbend.


Well, Toph is not one to be trifled with. She single-handedly created metalbending and became a legend. Easily Toph is one, if not the, most powerful earthbender of her time.


I was a little disappointed for the finale though. Toph was on a metal airship, and even though she could metalbend, it still put her on quite the disadvantage and needed Sokka’s help. However, we were shown some of the amazing things metalbending can do. Aang even used the “seeing” the ground technique Toph taught him while fighting the Firelord. It’s the reason Aang even survived the last bit of the fight.

BUT, Toph’s time was not over with Last Airbender. For the first three seasons of Legend of Korra we learned many things Toph did later in life. First, she had two daughters (with two different men) who are just as strong benders as their mother (okay, maybe not as strong.) When Republic City was formed Toph became chief of police and taught other earthbenders to metalbend as well. Hell, she even opened a school for it.



After many years on the force and dealing with all the crime and problems in the city Toph went off in search of enlightenment, and for a while that’s all we heard of her. Lots of people presumed her to be dead.

Then in season four of Legend of Korra, Korra met an unexpected person in the swamp (coincidence the first place we ever saw Toph was the place she ended up.) Toph still had her strong personality and sass, but seemed much more relaxed. She let Korra know she doesn’t fight anymore, but when it came to her family, even she had to put the young benders in their place.


Toph could even tell who Korra was, which was amazing to me. She could still sense the Avatar spirit.


It was nice to see Toph reunite with her family, even after all the problems they had growing up. She even told us the man she had Lin with.


But who is Suyin’s dad? (Many people say Sokka.)

In the end it doesn’t matter. Toph made a name for herself, by herself.



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