Ten thousand years ago, during Avatar Wan’s time, humans and Spirits roamed the Avatar World separately but together at the same time. They lived on the same playing field but remained separated for the well-being of each other. As displayed perfectly by Aye-aye’s initial interaction with Wan, humans and Spirits were never fond of each other and that negative relationship is what ultimately led to separation. Humans lived on Lion Turtle cities while Spirits lived in Spirit Wilds.
The separation worked out nicely for both parties until Wan showed that living in the Spirit Wilds with the powers given by the Lion Turtle (bending) was possible. As shown in Beginnings – Part 1 & 2, many humans abandoned their lives on Lion Turtles and set out to live the life that Wan was successfully living. The only issue was that not all humans had the relationship with Spirits that Wan did.
A battle between humans and Spirit commenced, worsening the relationship between the two than ever before. Avatar Wan resolved the issue by separating the Spirit World from the Physical World, which allowed Spirits and humans to live separately in peace.
Ten thousand years later, the bridge between the Spirit World and the Physical World has opened and the separation between Spirits and humans is no more. Book 3 will take a unique approach of showing us the continuity of a poor relationship between Spirits and humans that took a ten thousand year break.
Thanks to some special features showcased on the iTunes-purchasable Book 2 DVD, we know that Book 3 will deal with the aftermath of Unavaatu’s death: the Spirit Portals are open, Spirits can travel to the Physical World and Republic City has sprouted Spirit Wilds that house Spirits. The main thing we can take from all of this is that humans and Spirits are once again living on the same playing field.
That being said, Book 3 will essentially act as a throwback to Wan’s time by re-establishing the relationship between humans and Spirits as an important factor to the season’s plot.
Since that relationship was left on a fairly negative note, we can expect issues to arise from the start. In fact, we saw bits of the tension-filled relationship during the Spirit World portions of Book 2. Remember when Tenzin, Bumi and Kaya had a run in with the maroon-colored scorpion-like Spirit? When Tenzin asked for its attention, it responded by saying, “You dare disturb me human? Humans in the Spirit World belong in one place only!”
The Spirit then proceeded to run the trio off of a cliff.
Next season is all about change and one thing that certainly needs to change is the relationship between Spirits and humans. For ten thousand years now, the “solution” to resolve the tension between the two parties was separation. While separation worked for an extended period of time, it’s nothing more than a temporary solution.
A permanent solution would involve finding common ground between humans and Spirits and resolving the conflict that has painted the past for so many centuries.
That’s one of the reasons why I find Book 3 so fascinating. If anything, Book 2 demonstrated how intriguing past history in the Avatar World is. Through the telling of Avatar Wan’s story, we learned about the conflicts that plagued the world ten thousand years ago.
Book 3 will look to continue the story regarding some of those past conflicts and find a permanent solution for them. The relationship between humans and Spirits is rocky – no doubt. But through the help of Avatar Korra, who is now a much more spiritually developed character, a resolution is imminent.
If you ask me, that’s very exciting. What are your thoughts?