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He may not have been his father, but he accomplished things Aang never could

Alright this will be my last Avatar proposal for now. I’ve wanted to propose this guy for a while as he has proven to be quite admirable even more so than his father in some respects. Without further ado, let’s discuss Aang’s son Tenzin.

What's The Work

The Avatar franchise is a Nickelodeon animated fantasy franchise consisting of the titular Avatar: the Last Airbender show and the sequel show the Legend of Korra along with tie-in/sequel/prequel comics. The franchise is about an individual known as the Avatar who is the master of all the elements of the four nations (earth, air, fire, and water) and must keep balance and protect the world.

Who is He/What Has He Done?

Tenzin is a major character in the Legend of Korra, the sequel to Avatar: The Last Airbender. He is the youngest son of Aang and his successor as Airbending master as well as the husband of non-bender Pema and father of Jinora, Ikki, Meelo, and Rohan. He is the mentor of Avatar Aang’s teenage successor, Avatar Korra, who teaches her airbending and helps Korra grow and mature into a selfless young woman.

Admirable Standard

Now the Avatar franchise has a high standard but Tenzin does stand out for his heroism which includes:

  • He saved a young Korra in the past from being kidnapped by Zaheer and the Red Lotus with the help of Sokka, Tonraq, and Zuko.
  • He postponed his upcoming training of Korra so he could focus on and resolve the instability of Republic City as Councilman of the Air Nation.
  • He bailed Korra out from jail and agreed to cover all the damages Korra caused.
  • Despite his initial reluctance, he realized Korra was right that Republic City needed its Avatar and agreed to let her stay on Air Temple island and train with him.
  • He started Korra's training and remained relatively calm with Korra and tried to teach her patience.
  • Although initially skeptical of pro-bending matches, he realized that they had helped Korra learn airbending skills and apologized to Korra for getting angry with her and previously forbidding pro-bending. He even complimented her on her gameplay and recognized how important pro-bending was in helping Korra learn.
  • He was the only councilman against Tarrlok's plan to create a taskforce to hunt down "suspected" Equalists, correctly arguing that it would only increase tension between benders and non-benders and it was just a ploy for Tarrlok to gain more power.
  • Despite not liking Tarrlok, he agreed to let him into his house and stay for dinner.
  • He told Korra that it was okay if she was afraid of Amon and told her he would be here if she needed to talk about anything.
  • He found Korra after she ran off to duel Amon and comforted her when she started crying and admitted she was scared.
  • He was the only councilman who wanted to close the pro-bending arena to keep it safe when Amon threatened it, trying to convince Lin that Tarrlok was playing her when she sided with him. He then decided to accompany Lin to the pro-bending arena to ensure its safety.
  • He comforted Lin when she felt regret over inadvertently playing into Amon's hands.
  • He helped Lin interview witnesses following the Equalist's attack on the pro-bending arena, including interrogating Hiroshi Sato.
  • He was the last person standing when he, Korra, and Lin went to investigate Hirsohi Sato's factory and Sato revealed his Equalist ties and ambushed them, putting up a long fight before going down.
  • He tried to convince Lin not to resign as police chief.
  • He advised Korra to meditate on her visions of Aang to figure out what they meant and contact her past lives to help fix her block on airbending.
  • He contacted every possible lead when Korra was supposedly kidnapped by the Equalists and figured out that Tarrlok was actually the one who kidnapped her.
  • He confronted Tarrlok and exposed him in front of the police as a criminal and a bloodbender
  • He got Korra to narrate the events of her captivity and expose Tarrlok's backstory as the son of crime lord Yakone.
  • He left Lin in charge of protecting Air Temple island while he and the newly formed Team Korra stop the Equalist insurgency in Republic City.
  • He sent a dispatch to the United Forces for aid to help save Republic City from the Equalists.
  • He rescued Police Chief Saikhan and the other police officers from the police HQ when the Equalists gassed it.
  • He advised and convinced Team Korra to go into hiding until the United Forces arrived to help take back Republic City from the Equalists.
  • He defeated Amon and the Lieutenant so Korra, Mako, and his family could retreat.
  • He tried to comfort Korra when she lost her bending, stopped Mako from going to Korra as she needed her space, and congratulated Korra when she regained her bending, unlocked her spiritual connection, and restored Lin's bending, terming her Avatar Korra.
  • He chastised Korra for using the Avatar State irresponsibly as just a "booster rocket" to win petty races.
  • He was the only one who tried to reason with the dark spirit when it attacked the Glacier Spirits festival.
  • He complimented Unalaq for his spirit calming technique and although he tried to convince Korra to keep training with him to master airbending instead of going to Unalaq, he respected her decision and respectfully bid Korra farewell when she decided to train with Unalaq.
  • Although his relationship with his siblings Bumi and Kya was somewhat strained due to their teasing and bullying of him as a child, he agreed to take them with his family on a vacation so they could spend some family time together.
  • He calmed his wife down after she got angry when Ikki ran away due to Meelo and Jinora's teasing and went to go look for Ikki, accepting Bumi and Kya's offer to help.
  • He found Ikki and returned her back home.
  • Although he initially got angry with his siblings for teasing and getting angry at him and pointing out that Aang wasn't a perfect dad, he later apologized to them for getting angry and for overlooking some of Aang's faults.
  • He agreed to help Meelo train his new pet Poki, but once Meelo went too far and became a control freak, he convinced Meelo just to have fun with Poki and forget about training discipline.
  • Once Korra reunited with him and his family, he convinced Korra to tell them everything that happened in the outside world since the start of his family's vacation.
  • He comforted Korra when she blamed herself for getting manipulated by Unalaq, telling Korra that it wasn't her fault but Unalaq and agreed to help her enter the Spirit World to close the Southern spirit portal and prevent Vaatu's release.
  • Although he was a little jealous of Jinora's spiritual connection, he agreed to follow Jinora's spirit friends and fly the group to follow them into an ancient meditation circle.
  • He performed a cleansing ceremony on the airbending meditation circle to strengthen its connection to the Spirit World.
  • He reconciled with Korra over how they left things before his vacation/her decision to train with Unalaq and he vowed to not let her down and hugged Korra.
  • He admitted that he might never have the connection to spirits like Jinora had and he wanted before agreeing to let Jinora take Korra to the Spirit World and hugged Jinora, telling his daughter how proud he was of her.
  • He tried to convince President Raiko to send troops to help the South and Team Korra stop Unalaq from freeing Vaatu during Harmonic Convergence.
  • He went to rescue Jinora in the Spirit World with his siblings.
  • He conquered his insecurity and realized he was not a reflection of his father but his own person, allowing him to rescue his siblings and Jinora from the Fog of Lost Souls.
  • He stopped Korra from giving up hope and reminded her that Raava isn't who she was and showing the Tree of Time and telling her to meditate beneath it to connect with the cosmic energy of the universe and find her own inner spirit, making Tenzin responsible for Korra connecting with her inner spirit and saving the world from Unalaq/Vaatu.
  • He helped defend Korra's body from dark spirits while she was unconscious and in spirit form.
  • He encouraged Korra to do what she felt was right, motivating her to keep the Spirit portals open to connect the Spirit World to humanity.
  • He supported Korra by telling her he knew she would find a solution to the new spirit vines in Republic City caused by Harmonic Convergence.
  • He offered and convinced the new airbender Daw to train as an Air Nomad and set out with Jinora and Team Korra to rebuild the Air Nation.
  • He tried to convince numerous new airbenders to join the Air Nomad but remained firm that it must be their free choice and refused to coerce them to join.
  • He agreed to take Kai into his custody to train as an Air Nomad and turn over a new leaf despite Kai formerly being a thief and a liar.
  • He formed a successful plan to rescue all the new airbenders from the Earth Queen at night, calming them down when he and Korra freed them. Once they escaped from the Earth Queen, he offered the new airbenders a choice to relocate them somewhere safe or come with him to train at the Northern Air Temple and was delighted when they all chose the latter.
  • Although he initially took Bumi’s advice to train the Air Nomads like military recruits and be rigid with them and Bumi, he soon realized he was being too harsh with them and they needed time to adjust. He also apologized to Bumi and Jinora for losing his patience with them and agreed to think about letting Jinora get her airbending master tattoos.
  • He attacked Zaheer and the Red Lotus when they came to attack the Northern Air Templeand told Jinora to lead the evacuation of all the Air Nomads while he asked Bumi and Kya to help him fend off the Red Lotus.
  • He refused to surrender and give up when surrounded by Zaheer and the Red Lotus, battling them until he could no longer stand.
  • Once rescued by Mako, Bolin, and Asami, he told them of a secret passageway out the temple where they escaped.
  • He comforted Korra in the weeks when she was recovering from Zaheer’s poison.
  • He anointed Jinora as airbending master in a traditional airbender ceremony.
  • He returned the Air Nation to its nomadic roots to serve all nations to restore peace and balance.
  • He told Korra to focus only on her recovery and that Avatar duties could wait, and when he visited her he urged her to be patient, consoling her about her slow recovery and telling her not to focus on the future but the progress she had made.
  • He along with the other world leaders made Kuvira the temporary leader of the Earth Kingdom after she proved herself in stabilizing the situation.
  • He sent Air Nomads across the Earth Kingdom to help people in need by delivering food and driving off bandits.
  • He tried to assure Prince Wu that it would be safe to return to the Earth Kingdom and the situation was mostly stabilized.
  • He alerted Air Nomads across the globe to be on the lookout for a missing Korra.
  • He was the only world leader who was concerned by Kuvira’s increasing authoritarianism and reports of her throwing dissenters in prison. Once she refused to step down and hand power to Prince Wu, he and the other world leaders convinced Suyin to talk with Kuvira as their representative and to try and convince Kuvira to peacefully step down.
  • He tasked his children with finding Korra and bringing her back home, praising them all when they successfully completed the task, hugging Korra and warmly welcoming her home before assuring Korra that she wouldn’t have to face Kuvira alone as it was their collective responsibility.
  • He consoled Korra when Korra was losing hope by telling her that there would always be new enemies and conflicts to face, but the importance thing was to learn from her enemies and better herself over time which he assured Korra that she did, telling her that she had matured from a hothead and slightly selfish person into a thoughtful young woman.
  • Despite Kuvira’s actions, he refused to support launching an unprovoked attack against Kuvira’s Earth Empire or create a superweapon to wipe the Earth Empire out since Kuvira hadn’t attacked any other nation yet and only seeking to use violence against Kuvira as a last resort.
  • He reluctantly agreed to allow Korra to visit Zaheer in prison despite warning that it could be dangerous.
  • He hugged Jinora once Korra freed her.
  • He hugged his family once they decided to stay with him to help stop Kivira, telling Pema to aid Prince Wu in the evacuation of Republic City while Jinora, Meelo, and Ikki keep track of Kuvira’s advancing army with the other airbenders and told Pema to increase evacuation efforts once Kuvira was actually arrive in Republic City ahead of schedule in a few hours.
  • He agreed with Korra’s idea to capture Kuvira’s fiancee Baatar Jr. to get him to reveal how to stop Kuvira’s superweapon, infiltrating Baatar Jr.’s ship with Korra and Bumi, and personally capturing Baatar Jr. with Bumi before going back to Future Industries to interrogate Baatar Jr.
  • He alerted everyone that Kuvira and her army was heading their way and helped lead the defense of Republic City from Kuvira’s mech by slowing it down to buy time for Asami and Varrick to finish the hummingbird mech that would allow the heroes to penetrate and infiltrate Kuvira’s mech.
  • He saved Korra from Kuvira’s superweapon by knocking the superweapon off balance and saved Jinora by pushing her out of the way of the superweapon.
  • He ordered everyone to keep looking for Korra when she disappeared and once she emerged from the Spirit portal with a defeated Kuvira, he hugged Korra with the rest of her allies.
  • He allowed Varrick and Zhu Li to host their wedding at Air Temple Island.
  • He complimented Korra by telling her that she had transformed the world in a few years than most Avatars did in their entire lifetimes and was happy to hear Korra full of hope and joy again especially when she reflected on the purpose of her past suffering being to learn empathize with her foes.
  • He led the Air Nomads in helping out Republic City evacuee camps.
  • He hugged and welcomed Korra and Asami back from their vacation in the Spirit World, informing them of what had happened while they were gone.
  • He comforted Korra after they witnessed some of the Spirit portal lands turn grey and congratulated her on her new relationship with Asami.
  • He held off the Spirit vines from attacking the group until they could escape.
  • He suggested Zhu Li run for president to oust the corrupt President Raiko
  • He tried to convince General Iroh and the United Forces to withdraw from Spirit portal lands and let the Air Nation watch over the Republic City Spirit Portal.
  • He tried to petition Raiko to withdraw the United Forces from the Spirit portal and led a peaceful protest in the Republic City Spirit Portal to pressure Raiko to withdraw the United Forces from the Spirit portal. Despite Raiko and the United Forces hosing him and the Airbenders, he told the airbenders not to retaliate but to stand their ground, convincing General Iroh and the United Forces to stand down.
  • He helped evacuate civilians from the Spirit portal area with Zhu Li when Tokuga threatened to poison and kill them all.
  • He led the Air Nomads in bending away Tokuga’s poison when Tokuga released it.

Corrupting Factors

Initially, his relationship with his older siblings was a little strained because his older siblings self admittedly beat him up and teased him, but Tenzin still treated them politely all things considered and invited them to join his family on vacation. During their vacation, he gets into an argument with his siblings when they dump their frustration over Aang prioritizing training Tenzin to continue the Airbender legacy over spending time as a family. However, he ends up fully reconciling with his siblings, apologizing for getting angry and admitting that he overlooked Aang’s (unintentional) mistakes while they apologized to him for dumping their frustrations with Aang onto him, and they all end up looking at a photo of their happy family when they were children, reminiscing about the past.

He is not a control freak. Although he had Korra sheltered in the Southern Water Tribe as a child while she was growing up, he only did it to protect Korra after Zaheer and the Red Lotus tried to kidnap her when she was 5 years old. Regardless, once a now teenage Korra goes to Republic City, Tenzin allows her to stay and train with him on Air Temple Island, realizing he was wrong and she was right that Republic City needed its Avatar. He also initially was against Korra's interest in pro-bending as he believed it was a distraction to her airbending training and once Korra destroyed an 2000 year training mechanism and lashed out at him, he got angry at her and got into an argument with her to convince her to leave the pro-bending arena. However, once he saw Korra play and learn airbending techniques through pro-bending, he apologized for getting angry with her and he complimented Korra on her gameplay as he saw that pro-bending was the perfect tool for Korra to learn airbending and they reconciled. Once Korra found out that he and her father were the ones that sheltered her as a child, he felt remorse and tried to convince her to keep training with him but respectfully bid her farewell when she went to train with Unalaq and once Korra came back after discovering Unalaq was evil all along, he reconciled with Korra with Korra herself pointing out that he always selfless helped her for her benefit and not out of personal gain like Unalaq and Tenzin vowed to support Korra no matter what, urging Korra to do what she felt was right which inspired her to keep the Spirit portals open after the defeat of Unalaq/Vaatu. In season 3, when he was trying to train the new airbenders but they weren't paying attention to his lessons, he took advice from Bumi to train the new airbenders like military recruits and be rigid with them and ended up lashing out at Bumi for failing the exercises and Jinora for asking if she could become an airbending master. However, he soon realized with the help from his wife that he was being too harsh with the new airbenders and that they just needed time to adjust, resolving to be patient with them and apologizing to Bumi and Jinora for getting angry at them and reconciling with them, and he anointed Jinora an airbending master in a large ceremony at the end of the season. I should also point out that Tenzin was the only hero who was always against kidnapping and coercing new Airbenders into joining the Air Nomads, explicitly saying that they had to come freely as it was their choice and convincing everyone else to respect people’s refusal to join the Air Nomads, proving Tenzin values the freedom of others and doesn’t wish to control people. In other words, while Tenzin may have initially been a little strict, it was always out of the best/selfless intentions and he quickly realized his mistakes and apologized/reconciled for them.

Final Verdict

I believe he qualifies. He helped save a young Korra in the past from the Red Lotus, taught Korra airbending and trained her to help her connect with her spiritual side. He was the only council member against Tarrlok's plan to persecute non-benders to seize power for himself, rescued police chief Saikhan and the police from the Equalists, and saved his family by defeating Amon so they could escape. He rescued his siblings and Jinora from the Fog of Lost Souls and refused to aggressively attack Kuvira in a preemptive strike, single handedly fought off Zaheer and the Red Lotus to buy time for the new airbenders to escape, tried to settle things with Kuvira peacefully and only resorted to violence as a last resort.  Best of all though, he not only stopped Korra from giving up hope after she was beaten by Unalaq/Vaatu and told her how to connect with her inner spirit to allow her to defeat them, making him responsible for saving the world from Unalaq/Vaatu but he also rebuilt the Air Nation from the brink of extinction, something his father Aang never accomplished in his lifetime and Tenzin brought the Air Nation back to his nomadic roots to travelling around the world to help people in need. He should be approved.