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I'd like to make an announcement to the world: the Earth Kingdom is no more. And from here on out, this man has no authority. I have created a new Earth Empire, and I will continue to lead it into the future myself, bringing about a new era of prosperity for my people. And let me assure my fellow leaders of one thing: anyone who crosses our borders or stands in our way will be crushed!
~ Kuvira's warning at Wu's coronation
Don't pretend you know what it felt like. The Avatar is adored by millions. I was cast aside by my own parents like I was nothing to them. How could I just stand by and watch the same thing happen to my nation when it needed someone to guide it?
~ Kuvira breaking down in front of Korra

Kuvira is one of the supporting protagonists that became the main antagonist in Book 4 of The Legend of Korra. Kuvira is also the supporting protagonist in the graphic novel trilogy Ruins of the Empire. She is a metalbender who was formerly part of the Metal Clan in Zaofu. Prior to her departure in 171 AG, Kuvira served as both the captain of the city's guard and part of Suyin Beifong's dance troupe. Following the outbreak of anarchy in the Earth Kingdom, Kuvira was appointed as the nation's interim president and tasked to re-establish order in the country in time for Prince Wu's coronation, which earned her the title of "Great Uniter". In her pursuit of order, Kuvira offered to protect the nation's states from bandits in exchange for their loyalty. She was also engaged to Baatar Jr., who left Zaofu with her to support her ideals, though ended their relationship when she was willing to sacrifice him to have a chance to end Avatar Korra's life. Kuvira was ultimately defeated and, seeing the error of her ways, accepted her punishment. Kuvira eventually helped defeat Guan, the commander of her southern forces, after he attempted to re-establish the Earth Empire without her. For her efforts to make up for her bad deeds, Kuvira's sentence was commuted to house arrest at Suyin's home in Zaofu, effectively redeeming the former tyrant. 

History

Early life

Being abandoned by her parents, Kuvira was taken in by Suyin Beifong when she was eight years old, who nurtured her talents and, over time, came to regard her as a daughter. Growing up, she became heavily influenced by Suyin's progressive ideology concerning modernization and self-fulfillment. A smart and natural leader, Kuvira quickly rose through the ranks of Zaofu's security team, eventually becoming captain of the city's guard. She also was a part of Suyin's dance troupe.

171 AG

Defending Zaofu

In 171 AG, Kuvira and the other members of Suyin Beifong's dance troupe rehearsed a routine for an upcoming recital. The rehearsal ended following the arrival of Avatar Korra and her friends.

Zaofu security team

Kuvira ordered Zaheer and his associates to surrender and release Avatar Korra.

Several days later, Kuvira accompanied Suyin's family and Team Avatar to a rooftop where they bade farewell to Opal, who left Zaofu to train at the Northern Air Temple. After the airbender's airship left the city, Kuvira used her radio to command the other guards to begin securing Zaofu for the evening. Later that night, Kuvira attacked Zaheer and his group after the four managed to infiltrate the city in an attempt to kidnap Korra. She helped the other members of the Metal Clan trap the criminals in a makeshift metal prison, before ordering them to surrender and return the Avatar. Following the group's escape, Kuvira and the other guards searched the city, albeit to no avail, as they were unable to find any traces of the four benders.

Kuvira was questioned by Aiwei, along with the rest of the city's guards, in an attempt to determine the identity of Zaheer's accomplice. When Aiwei's involvement in the attempted kidnapping of Avatar Korra came to light, Kuvira was ordered by Lin Beifong to search the city for the truth seer and determine where the tunnel underneath his home led, which she eventually traced to a dead end with no signs of Aiwei.

Stopping the Red Lotus

Kuvira traveled with Team Avatar, their allies, and several other members of the Metal Clan to the Northern Air Temple in an attempt to free the airbenders held captive by the Red Lotus. Adhering to Zaheer's demand to meet Korra alone at Laghima's Peak, Kuvira went with Suyin, Lin, Tonraq, and the other metalbenders to the base of the peak, where they prepared to use their bending to aid Korra if it became necessary. She climbed to the mountaintop with the rest of the metalbenders after Mako alerted Lin that they had been double-crossed, but was immediately blown off the peak by one of P'Li's combustion beams. Using her cables, Kuvira managed to save herself and rejoined the other metalbenders atop the cliff, where they attempted to subdue P'Li. In the midst of the battle that ensued, Kuvira used her cables to save Tonraq after Zaheer used airbending to throw the waterbender off the cliffside.

Tonraq and Kuvira

Kuvira tended to Tonraq's injuries after an altercation with Zaheer and P'Li.

Following the fight, the group reassembled at the base of the peak, where Kuvira tended to Tonraq's wounds. While bandaging the tribal chief's arm, Kuvira introduced herself by name after the waterbender thanked her for her help and addressed her by her rank. She requested to accompany Suyin and the members of Team Avatar to a series of caves near the temple in order to rescue the missing airbender, but was ordered to remain with the injured, much to her disappointment.

Kuvira's Army

During the three-year timeskip between Book 3 and Book 4, the world leaders turned to Suyin to restore order to the Earth Kingdom, but she declined on the grounds that she did not want to impose her ideals on the nation. Kuvira, however, quickly seized the opportunity, forming a rift between herself and Suyin. Kuvira then left Zaofu along with Baatar Jr., Suyin's eldest son.

Both Kuvira and Baatar Jr. went on a mission to unite the Earth Kingdom to unite the Earth Kingdom through military might (and along the way, the two became engaged). They traveled by train getting state leaders to agree to deals that, in exchange for pledging loyalty to her, they would be under Kuvira's protection. She also purged her new nation of all dissenters and citizens of foreign origins, throwing both groups into prison camps.

Kuvira enlists bandits

After single-handedly defeating twenty bandits, Kuvira forced them all to pledge their loyalty to her.

In the present day, Kuvira, now accompanied by BolinVarrick, and Zhu Li, was informed that nearly 90% of the Earth Kingdom's states had pledged their loyalty to her, though Kuvira was unsatisfied, stating she would not be pleased until they were all united. Upon being stopped by a trap laid by bandits, Kuvira single-handedly took them down, and offered them a deal to either join her army or risk being chained to the train rail for the next train to arrive. The bandits eagerly pledged their loyalty to Kuvira. When arriving in the state of Yi, Opal was not pleased to see Kuvira or her brother Baatar Jr., or to hear that the two were engaged, and mentioned that Suyin found their actions to be traitorous. She met with the governor of Yi, offering a treaty that would place Yi under her protection, but the governor called her a manipulator and accused her of only being interested in Yi's reputable supply of ore. Kuvira warned him that by not signing her treaty, he risked the starvation of his people and defeat at the hands of the bandits. Despite the governor's refusal to sign, Kuvira left the contract with Kai, stating she would wait by the border for one more day to give him a chance to reconsider. After bandits stole what little supplies were meant to go to Yi, the governor reluctantly signed the treaty and pledged his loyalty to her, placing Yi under Kuvira's protection.

The Earth Empire

She forced President Raiko to pardon Varrick for his crimes and allow him back into Republic City, where she and her allies attended Prince Wu's coronation. Before the coronation, she falsely promised to step down as the Earth Kingdom's new leader. During Wu's inaugural speech, she took over and announced her plans for the Earth Empire, saying that leadership should not be decided by birthright and that any who stand in her way would be crushed, metalbending the Kyoshi medal of freedom given to her by Wu for emphasis. This earned her massive support from the crowd, except for all the world leaders. When Bolin found himself questioning Kuvira's words, she reassured him that "being crushed" was "simply a rhetoric meaning that she meant business".

The world leaders chose Suyin as their spokesperson, sending her to go speak with Kuvira on their behalf. Kuvira admonished her for not stepping up and fixing the Earth Kingdom, while Suyin retorted with the fact that she didn't want the power. Kuvira threatened Suyin, saying that she knew what would happen to Zaofu if she did not join her. Meanwhile, she had Varrick collect spirit vines from around Republic City to construct a new technology, stating it was now his number one priority.

Invading Zaofu

Kuvira chastising Suyin

Having predicted Suyin's sneak attack, Kuvira had set up a trap.

With Zaofu as the last remaining territory that had not yet been united with the rest of the Earth Empire, she gathered her army and marched on her former home. However, with the other world leaders watching her closely, she wanted to make the attempt to negotiate with Suyin using her trust in Bolin. Meanwhile, Varrick was experimenting with the spirit vines to create a superweapon, but the energy from the vine caused an explosion, and the engineer resolved to put a stop to the project. Kuvira responded by threatening to kill him, to which he agreed to continue the research. Bolin attempted to convince Suyin that Kuvira only wanted the best for the world, but Opal brought up that Kuvira throws dissenters into prison camps. Suyin makes it clear that she will not hand over Zaofu, and Kuvira gives her a day's warning before she takes the city by force.

During this time, Korra arrived in Zaofu and attempted to reason with Kuvira, informing her that her methods were wrong. Kuvira responded by telling her how hard the decisions she had to make were, and Korra admitted that she knew the feeling, resolving to talk things over with Suyin once more before an official siege began.

Soon after, Bolin posed a lot of questions to Kuvira regarding her methods, to which she responded by threatening him. Bolin joined Varrick and Zhu Li in deserting the army, but Baatar Jr. caught up to the trio and arrested them. Kuvira sentenced all three of them to a correctional facility, but at this point, Zhu Li turned on Varrick and pledged her loyalty to the warlord. Kuvira decided to give her one more chance, but left the other two deserters to their punishment.

Later that night, Suyin and her twin sons attempted to sneak into Kuvira's camp to assassinate her, but they were discovered when they unwittingly attacked Zhu Li while she was asleep. Kuvira knew she would try a sneak attack and held them hostage, informing the Zaofu citizens that Suyin violated the negotiation. The next morning, Korra attempted to negotiate peacefully with Kuvira one last time, but she instead proposed a duel, stating that the victor could do as they wished with Zaofu.

The warlord proved to be more than a match for the Avatar, until she entered the Avatar State, leaving her opponent dazed. Just as she was about to land the finishing blow on Kuvira, she began hallucinating Anti-Korra in Kuvira's place, and collapsed. Kuvira restrained her, but just as she was about to kill her, Opal and Jinora, who were observing the battle, interfered. The warlord sent her army to attack Zaofu, and even after Jinora called her siblings for reinforcement, they could not win, and were forced to escape with Korra in tow.

After the battle, Kuvira declared herself victorious, becoming the new ruler of Zaofu. She announced to the citizens that anyone who did not bow before her would be imprisoned along with Suyin and her sons. The only ones who refused were Baatar and Huan, who were immediately arrested. Meanwhile, Baatar Jr. had witnessed the apparent deaths of Bolin and Varrick, as well as the destruction of the spirit vine machinery, but he was certain that he could resume the research with the help of Zhu Li. Kuvira agreed to this, and ordered the dismantling of Zaofu's domes.

Constructing A New Weapon

Some time later, she traveled with Baatar Jr. and others from the Earth Empire military to the Foggy Swamp after discovering that the roots of the Banyan Grove Tree could produce an even more powerful superweapon, and she ordered them to harvest the vines until there was nothing left. Meanwhile, her actions had consequences in Republic City when the Spirit Wilds turned hostile and began imprisoning the populace in the Spirit World, which Kuvira may or may not have been aware of at the time.

She planned to test her superweapon by destroying a nearby abandoned town, but during the testing, Baatar Jr. kept noticing that parts of the machinery were either damaged or missing. Without her knowing, Zhu Li was intentionally sabotaging the weapon, and when she was discovered, Kuvira ordered the guards to chain her in the abandoned town so she would be killed in the blast. During the second test of the weapon that was intended to kill Zhu Li, she discovered too late that the Beifongs had escaped their prison, and they successfully changed the trajectory of the blast so the town would remain unharmed. A battle ensued, and Kuvira dueled and was victorious against Suyin, leaving the Beifongs surrounded until Toph toppled the entire battalion. The Beifongs escaped with Zhu Li in tow, and she informed them that Kuvira planned to attack Republic City in two weeks.

Attacking Republic City

Kuvira then sought to correct the "grave injustice" than Aang and Zuko had committed by retaking Republic City for the Earth Empire. After her speech, Baatar Jr. confessed his love for her, and she told him they could finally marry and rule their empire together after taking the city, embracing him. Having suspected Zhu Li escaped with the information about her attack, Kuvira commenced the invasion a week earlier than planned. Unknown to even her own soldiers, she had constructed a giant mecha, where she would place her superweapon. She used it to destroy a guard post and almost shot down Team Avatar when they went to cut the rail lines, which they thought she needed in order to transport her weapon to the city.

When she arrived in the city, she demonstrated her weapon's power by destroying a few structures, forcing Raiko to surrender. However, unknown to both parties, Korra and Iroh planned to capture Baatar Jr., who was supposed to discuss the terms of surrender with the president. Once he had been captured, Korra told him that he would never see Kuvira again if she didn't leave Republic City alone, and agreed to let her have the Earth Empire. Baatar contacted Kuvira with the same information and proposed that they settle down in Zaofu, and after confessing her love to him, she locked on to Baatar's location and fired her cannon, destroying the mechs that Varrick and Asami had been constructing.

Though Team Avatar was supposedly crushed by the blast, Bolin's earthbending saved them. A number of tactics were used to bring down the giant mecha suit, including lavabending the suit's legs and trapping it within an electromagnetic pulse blast, but all failed. The one that works is two hummingbird suits (piloted by Varrick and Zhu Li in one and Asami and her father Hiroshi Sato in the other) drilling a hole inside the suit with plasma saws designed by Hiroshi during the Equalist revolution. Though the plan worked and Team Avatar managed to get inside the hole, it cost Hiroshi his life, ejecting his daughter from the hummingbird suit before he himself was crushed by the giant metal hand of the mecha suit.

Kuvira, now beginning to lose control of the situation, orders the suit to be put on lockdown to find the intruders. When she finds her spirit energy weapon to be useless on the suit, she uses the sole functioning arm of the giant suit to rip off the arm and throw it aside with Lin and Suyin still inside. Korra blasts her way in to the control room and battles Kuvira once more, now more evenly matched. However, during their battle, Mako's lightning attacks cause a massive explosion, splitting the suit in half. Korra and Kuvira fall out from their half, and it seems as though the fight is over. However, Kuvira, not ready to give up, attacks Korra when she is distracted, but rather than fight her, she runs off into the Spirit Wilds. She continues to run from Korra until she finds her spirit energy cannon hanging from the vines, and uses it in a last attempt to destroy Korra. But she finds herself unable to turn the weapon off once it goes berserk and wreaks havoc on the city. She is about to be destroyed by her own weapon until Korra protects her from the blast. The collision between Korra's bending and the cannon's blast causes a massive explosion which destroys the wilds but creates a new spirit portal, in which Korra and Kuvira find themselves after the chaos dies down.

Defeat and Surrender

Kuvira, unable to cope with her failure, breaks down in front of Korra, refuting Korra's attempts to connect with her and reiterating how Su turned her back on her and Korra disappeared for years, leaving Kuvira with the mindset that she absolutely had to do something to restore balance to the Earth Kingdom. Korra's words, however, seem to affect Kuvira, as she returns to the physical world with Korra and orders all remaining Earth Empire soldiers to stand down. Kuvira, admitting Korra's power was something she could never compete with, surrenders herself to the authorities and apologizes to Su for the pain she caused her and her family. She is then taken away to be tried for her crimes.

Gaoling crisis

Three months after her surrender, and following Zhu Li's election as president of the United Republic, Kuvira was brought before a special tribunal in Republic City to stand trial for the crimes she committed as leader of the Earth Empire. Addressing the five judges after the charges against her were read out and she was asked for her plea, Kuvira apologized for the harm she had done to the people of the Earth Kingdom and Republic City, but accused the tribunal of ignoring her achievements and overemphasizing her crimes. She told the court that she had restored order to the Earth Kingdom and dragged it out of the dark ages, and declared that everything she had done had been for the good of the Earth Kingdom and its people. When asked for her plea again, Kuvira claimed that she was not guilty.

After the tribunal session was concluded, Kuvira was led out of the courtroom by two Order of the White Lotus members, where she was confronted by Suyin, who had attended the session and was incredulous that Kuvira would attempt to plead innocence when the whole world knew what she had done. Kuvira acknowledged the hurt she had caused the Beifong family but noted that they had turned their backs on her long before she had formed the Earth Empire. Despite Suyin giving her a home and providing for her, she stated that she had never really been part of the Beifong family. When Suyin brought up Kuvira's invasion of Zaofu and her attempted killing of Baatar Jr., Kuvira replied that she had apologized for these actions numerous times and asked when Suyin was going to see through her anger and forgive her. Suyin told her that being sorry was not enough and that she needed to take responsibility for what she had done, before leaving.

Kuvira was returned to her prison cell following these events. She would later be visited by Korra, her first visitor since her imprisonment, with the Avatar seeking help on what to do about Commander Guan, who she feared was planning to sabotage the Earth Kingdom's new democratic election in the State of Gaoling. When asked what she would do in such a situation, Kuvira suggested that Korra take someone who had Guan's respect and who he would listen to, namely herself. When Korra realized this, Kuvira warned her that Guan would not accept orders from the Avatar, and claimed that she could convince him to stand down if allowed to meet with him. Korra refused to release Kuvira, claiming that she could handle Guan without her, and left the cell as Kuvira told her to think over the offer, and that she would be there when Korra inevitably needed her help.

As Kuvira predicted, Korra returned to the cell with papers for Kuvira's temporary release, having discussed the matter with the rest of Team Avatar, as well as Zhu Li and King Wu. Kuvira was released into Korra's custody, and as the two women boarded the airship that would take them to Gaoling town, Kuvira tried to convince Korra to be less formal with her now that they were "partners", but Korra warned that the two of them were merely working together, and not teammates. Further, she told Kuvira that she would not hesitate to take her down if she attacked Korra's friends or stepped out of line, a condition that Kuvira accepted with a smile, assuring Korra that she was in charge. Entering the airship's cabin, Kuvira was greeted with hostility from the other members of Team Avatar and King Wu, all of whom had their own grievances with her as a result of the Earth Empire's actions, with Asami attempting to lock her inside a platinum pod. Kuvira assured Asami that she had no intention of trying to escape, and Korra convinced her girlfriend to relent, though Asami insisted that she would not take her eyes off Kuvira. The former Great Uniter then remarked to Mako, Bolin, and Wu that she was happy to see them too, in response to their silence toward her.

Asami warns Kuvira

When Kuvira remarked about possible difficulties in Asami and Korra's relationship, Asami angrily rebuffed the ex-Earth Empire leader.

Three days later, the group arrived in Gaoling and waited for Guan to make his move. Korra and Wu left to see Mayor Rhee, while Kuvira borrowed some of Asami's clothes to make herself more presentable for when she met Guan, the others staying to keep watch over her. As she changed and prepared, Kuvira remarked to Asami that it must be difficult being Korra's girlfriend, saying that Asami could have been running her company or inventing machinery instead of having to guard her. Asami replied that she was happy to do so to protect her girlfriend from Kuvira, and warned the other woman that she would not drive a wedge between the couple, but Kuvira answered that she was merely admiring the group's camaraderie, which was something she claimed to have never had in her life. Bolin told her that this was because she had always pushed people away in the past, having been told by Opal that Kuvira had rejected her attempts at friendship when they were growing up. Kuvira, however, told him not to believe everything that Opal said, and that her childhood had been very different from Opal's. She insisted that she was a different person than she was three months ago, but Asami replied that while she believed people could redeem themselves, it was not something that happened overnight.

The discussion was then interrupted by Korra calling to inform them that Guan and his army had arrived, and the four of them set off toward the capital in a jeep. Arriving at a standoff between Korra and Guan, Kuvira tried to persuade her former commander to surrender, only to learn that he had abandoned his former loyalty toward her following her surrender to Korra, which he considered an act of betrayal. He told her that there was much more that the Earth Empire could accomplish, and that they should not allow others to reap the rewards of what they had done. Kuvira told him that there was nothing but death and destruction along the path he wanted to take and that the Earth Empire had nevertheless been defeated, with Guan's army merely a weakened remnant that wrongly believed the Earth Empire had a future. She then tried to appeal to the soldiers themselves, only to find that their loyalty now lay with Guan and not her. She then offered to settle the matter with a duel, but Guan told her that he was not going to fall for her ploy and added that she was nothing but a spineless coward.

Finally accepting that Guan would not give up willingly, Kuvira used her bending to throw him off his feet, and then to strangle him with his metal collar in order to force him to surrender. Guan's soldiers ordered her to release him as Korra tried to get her to do the same, but before the situation could escalate further, Kuvira was suddenly electrocuted into unconsciousness by remotely activated electrodes secretly built into her belt, courtesy of Asami. Korra had Mako and Bolin put the unconscious Kuvira in the jeep and drive her back to the airship, intending to deal with her later.

When Kuvira woke up, she was back on the airship and inside the platinum pod, Korra and Asami explaining that this was to help her cool down, and prevent her from doing anything else foolhardy. After learning that Guan had entered himself in the election and that King Wu was unwilling to call it off to prevent him winning, Kuvira suggested that they beat Guan at his own game by presenting a candidate more popular than him, which led to Korra suggesting that they recruit Toph.

Reunion with Suyin

With Team Avatar unable to return Kuvira to Republic City in time for the election, she remained imprisoned on board the airship while Korra and Wu journeyed to the Foggy Swamp to recruit Toph, with the plan being to imprison her in Zaofu until the election was over. Before the airship could take off, Guan's men took advantage of Korra's absence to attack it. Kuvira asked Asami to set her free during the battle, offering to help them, but Asami was unwilling to trust Kuvira and refused, and everyone on the airship was captured.

Kuvira and the others were taken to Guan's base, where Guan spoke with her in private and asked if she was willing to serve the Earth Empire again. Kuvira refused, telling Guan that she did not serve Korra despite what he thought and that she would not serve him. Guan responded by revealing that he had hooked up Asami, Mako, and Bolin to brainwashing equipment and that Dr. Sheng, another former subordinate of Kuvira's, had developed a new and improved method of the technique with the aid of modern technology. Disgusted, Kuvira made clear that she would never have tolerated such things had she known about them in the past, but Dr. Sheng reminded her that she had not cared how her followers achieved their goals before. Kuvira denied this, saying that she had always wanted to motivate others to change their ways through her strength and leadership, rather than with a machine. Guan suggested that Kuvira would change her mind after seeing the brainwashing procedure for herself, ordering Dr. Sheng to start it despite Kuvira's plea. Before the brainwashing began, Kuvira told Asami that she had never intended any of what had happened.

Once Asami, Mako, and Bolin had been brainwashed, Guan ordered them to hook Kuvira up to the machinery, intending to brainwash her as well. Upon being taken out of the platinum pod, Kuvira seized her chance to escape, overpowering Korra's friends and Guan, disguising herself as one of Guan's soldiers and leaving the camp in a stolen jeep. After spying on the camp later that night, she contacted Suyin via radio to ask for her help. Though Suyin was initially suspicious of her, Kuvira convinced her to help after she acknowledged that her former adoptive mother had every reason to hate her, before admitting that she did not know anyone else she could go to.

The next day, Kuvira met Korra, Toph, and Wu as they were on their way back to the airship. Seeing Kuvira free and in an Earth Empire uniform, Korra threatened her with firebending and did not believe her when she tried to explain what had happened until Toph stepped in and verified that Kuvira was telling the truth. Believing that Guan was going to take over the Earth Kingdom through brainwashing, Wu blamed himself for what had happened, as he was the one who had asked them all to come, although Kuvira assured him that he could not have predicted what was going to happen when he did. She later expressed approval when Wu decided to call off the election, but prevented him from going to Gaoling to do so, warning him that Guan would not allow it. Korra asked what they should do, pointing out that Asami, Mako, and Bolin were still in danger, to which Kuvira said that they could travel to Zaofu and gather reinforcements there, revealing to the others that she had gotten Suyin's help.

When Suyin, Wei, Wing, and Opal arrived in a Metal Clan airship moments later, Kuvira expressed her appreciation for them coming to her aid, although the reunion would be cut short when Toph warned that Guan and his troops were heading toward their position. As they got onto the airship, Kuvira and Suyin passed by each other without exchanging a word. After Korra refused to leave without Asami, Mako, and Bolin, Kuvira tried to persuade her that they could figure out how to reverse the brainwashing in Zaofu, before relenting and agreeing to help her rescue her friends and girlfriend, Suyin and the rest of the Beifongs soon following suit.

Guan, his troops and the brainwashed Asami, Mako, and Bolin arrived soon afterward. When Opal and Korra tried to get their significant others to break free of their brainwashing, Kuvira told them that doing so was pointless. After fighting broke out, Kuvira, along with Suyin and Toph, used earthbending to hold back Guan's soldiers, though the three women were unable to prevent Wu from being captured. Korra did succeed in capturing Asami, and Kuvira took her onto the airship before it took off, allowing her and the others to escape.

Following the battle, Kuvira was allowed to go unchained for the trip back to Zaofu, Suyin deciding that she was not a flight risk. When asked by Korra if Asami's brainwashing could be reversed, Kuvira assured her that she could figure out a way, but that she would not be able to do so on her own; she would need the help of her former fiancé Baatar Jr.

Return to Zaofu

Kuvira grew anxious about her reunion with Baatar Jr. when the group arrived in Zaofu. Suyin noticed her worry, telling her that she would have to face him sooner or later. Baatar Jr. approached her as soon as the metalbender entered the Beifong estate, telling her that he thought she would never have the courage to return home. She told her ex-fiancé that she never thought she would see him again, and he retorted that she would not if Korra and her friends had not saved him. She tried to apologize, telling him that she felt terrible, but reminding him of the position they were in, and supposed that he would have done the same. Baatar Jr. interrupted her, saying that he never would have tried to kill her with a blast of spirit energy, as he loved her. He noted that his mother had told him that Kuvira was trying to change, but believed her to be exactly the same, entering his room and slamming the door behind him in spite of her protest that she needed his help. Suyin proceeded to have Metal Clan guards escort Kuvira to her quarters.

Kuvira sat beside Korra as they enjoyed a meal with Suyin's family. She asked the Avatar if Baatar Jr. was willing to work with her, who responded that he had agreed to temporarily put aside his anger toward Kuvira for the greater good, since he still felt guilty for everything he had done while being part of the Earth Empire. Kuvira was delighted, but Korra clarified that Baatar never wanted to see his ex-fiancée again after they recreated the brainwashing device, the former simply stating that she would respect his wishes.

After Kuvira remarked that Guan brainwashing the king and control the kingdom was a brilliant plan, Opal retorted that she supposed Kuvira wished she had thought to brainwash everyone so she could still be in power, though she denied the implication, and Suyin asked both of them to stop arguing. When Toph noted that Guan's victory was almost certain after they left Gaoling, Baatar Jr. entered the dining hall, noting that if he could restore Asami's mind, then he could use the knowledge to free the brainwashed citizens, Kuvira and Suyin adding that Guan would lose all support once they realized what he did to them, leading to Toph's victory. Kuvira told her ex-fiancé that she appreciated his agreeing to help, and he curtly told her to get started.

By evening, Baatar Jr. had constructed a brainwashing device, which Kuvira complimented him on, noting that it looked almost exactly like the device in Sheng's lab. Baatar Jr. noted that he was familiar with Sheng's thought process, having worked closely with her, but thanked Kuvira on her thorough descriptions of the setup, noting that Kuvira always had an excellent memory.

When Baatar Jr. began with low-intensity electromagnetic pulses, Kuvira read aloud statements in reverse of Sheng's earlier ones, telling her to no longer obey Guan's orders, that the Avatar was no longer her enemy, and that her mind was her own. Kuvira repeated the statements multiple times into the night, with Baatar Jr. using many different settings, but none of them worked, Asami affirming her loyalty to Guan.

With Baatar Jr. unsure why none of the results worked, Kuvira suggested starting with someone who had not been brainwashed, which he considered as a strong possibility. Korra immediately offered to be the test subject in order to help Asami, but Baatar Jr. was uncertain, noting that it could cause memory loss and he would not want to be responsible for the Avatar's mind being scrambled. Kuvira then offered herself as the test subject, and despite Suyin's objections, she resolved that Guan and the remnants of the Earth Empire were her messes to clean up. Kuvira was attached to the brainwashing technology, causing her to relive a childhood argument with Opal. When she was finished, Baatar Jr. confirmed that he now had what he needed. The next time they tried the process, Asami's brainwashing was undone, though she remembered nothing about her brainwashing.

Shortly after, Opal, Wei, and Wing rushed in the room, asking Suyin to turn on the radio, as Guan had just won the election. Korra proceeded to telephone Zhu Li, and the president ordered Kuvira to be brought back to Republic City, having proven herself far more a hindrance than a help. Korra confirmed to Kuvira that they would leave first thing in the morning, and she told Baatar that he would be getting her wish to never see her again. Her ex-fiancé wished her a safe trip back, and she told him that it broke her heart when she chose the Earth Empire over him, realizing that she could never repair their relationship, but telling him that she truly loved him in return. Baatar Jr. told her it had been nice working with her and departed.

Ending the Earth Empire

In the night, Kuvira left the guards outside her room unconscious and stole a Metal Clan plane, fleeing Zaofu. She quickly arrived in Gaoling, revealing herself to Guan inside Gaoling City Hall after he arrested Mayor Rhee. He commended her on her cunning and asked if she was there to try to stop him again. Kuvira denied this, commending him on resurrecting the Earth Empire, adding that he had always been a shrewd leader. She proposed a deal that she claimed would benefit them both. She told him that in her quest for power, she had alienated everyone she considered family and that things could never go back to the way they were, regardless of what she did. She decided that the only path she could follow was his. Guan asked if she wanted to rejoin the Earth Empire, and she agreed on one condition. Guan told her that he would not let her reclaim the title of Great Uniter, but Kuvira assured him that he would not challenge his authority: she wanted to forget the painful memories about her biological parents, the Beifongs, and the people she had hurt. Guan considered that this would put her under his complete control and was surprised that she would yield so willingly. Kuvira stated that it was not the first time she had surrendered, and him brainwashing her was the only way he could fully trust her. Kuvira reiterated the deal and asked Guan if he would accept.

Kuvira was taken to the Gaoling reeducation camp and restrained before the brainwashing could begin. Sheng welcomed her back to the Earth Empire as she began the process, pleased to finally share her invention with the former Great Uniter. However, as soon as the scientist began the process, Kuvira used metalbending to levitate brainwashing helmets above Guan and Sheng, trapping their heads in them as she used metalbending to free herself from her restraints. Kuvira told Guan and Sheng that she was beating them at their own game, and they would have no choice but to surrender and tell the world about how they stole the election. Sheng raised that Kuvira did not know how the machine operated, but she informed her that she did, as Baatar Jr. figured out how Sheng's brainwashing worked in a matter of hours. However, Mako and Bolin quickly entered, ordering Kuvira to release them, Mako shooting fire at her and giving enough time for Guan and Sheng to remove their helmets.

Kuvira rushed outside while pursued by Mako and Bolin, though Korra, Asami, Toph, Suyin, and Opal soon landed to help on Juicy, holding off the Earth Empire soldiers. Kuvira noticed Guan trying to escape in a jeep, and threw the vehicle with metalbending, sending the commander flying out of the vehicle. Guan bent metal strips from his uniform to Kuvira, which she avoided, and readied her metal cables to try to attack Guan. However, he elevated himself on an earth platform and sent a rock flying toward Kuvira, striking her on the shoulder. He told her that she never had the potential to lead the Earth Empire, unlike him, and threw the jeep at her, though she split the vehicle in two and bends metal strips to pin Guan against a tent. He surrendered to Kuvira, but she told him it was too late, and that she would make sure he never rose again, levitating a sharp piece of metal in his direction. However, Suyin approached, telling Kuvira that killing Guan would not solve anything, nor bring her any peace. Kuvira accepted the truth of Su's words, lowering her metal, but telling Guan that he was finished, and the Earth Empire was permanently over. The commander subsequently ordered his entire army to stand down.

After the battle, Kuvira joined Korra, Wu, and Mayor Rhee in Gaoling City Hall, where the state's citizens had their brainwashing undone. When the mayor thanked Korra for her help, the Avatar told him to thank Kuvira for taking matters into her own hands, before informed Kuvira that she was not off the hook as she had been ordered to return her to Republic City, which the metalbender accepted.

Kuvira was returned to Republic City for the end of her tribunal. Varrick was called as a witness, and he spoke about Kuvira threatening to kill him after he tried to stop working on her spirit weapons, adding that she was a horrible person. Kuvira told him that his testimony was enough, though the judge told her not to intimidate the witness, and that the court would hear what he had to say. Instead, Kuvira told the court that they would not have to, as she confessed to everything. She admitted she was wrong to think she knew what was best for everyone by refusing to turn over her emergency powers, and adds that she should have known everything that was going on in the reeducation camps. She noted that she so badly wanted to wield power and change the world that she did not consider the consequences, and wished that she could forget the things she had done and the people she had hurt, but could not. She added that she hoped she could begin to heal the pain she had caused by accepting responsibility and thus decided to enter a guilty plea.

As White Lotus sentries escorted her from the courtroom, Kuvira was approached by Team Avatar. Korra noted that she respected Kuvira for taking responsibility, and Mako, Bolin, and Asami noted that they were thankful she was on their side. Suyin approached Kuvira, telling her that she owed her an apology, thinking that if she had been a better mentor and mother she could have guided her on an appropriate path. Kuvira thanked Suyin for taking her in, and never abandoning her, even at her worst, telling her that she should be the sorry one. Suyin and Kuvira embraced, the latter wishing they had more time and the former telling her that they will, as she spoke with President Moon and the tribunal, and that they agreed to release her into Suyin's custody under house arrest at the Beifong estate due to her remorse and her actions in stopping Guan and the Earth Empire. Kuvira asked what Baatar Jr. would think, and Opal noted that since they all came around, she was sure he would too, adding that even though Kuvira was not born a Beifong, she would always be a part of the family.

Trivia

  • Kuvira is voiced by Zelda Williams, daughter of the late Robin Williams.
  • Kuvira is the first main Legend of Korra villain to be female.
  • Kuvira is the first main antagonist of Legend of Korra to be introduced in the preceding book and the second in the franchise after Azula. In addition, she is the first main antagonist to start out completely as an ally.

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