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Avatar: The Last Airbender

Season 1 Episode 18

The Waterbending Master

Aired Friday 6:30 PM Nov 18, 2005 on Nickelodeon
out of 10
User Rating
522 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

When Aang tries to find the north pole, he is found by the north pole waterbenders instead. When they are taken there, Aang and Katara are eager to find a waterbending master, only to find that girls are not allowed to learn waterbending. Katara decides to show everyone what she can do. Meanwhile, Sokka falls in love with the tribe's princess.moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • The Waterbending Master

    The Waterbending Master was a perfect, awesome, and entertaining episode of Avatar The Last Airbender. I really enjoyed watching this episode because we finally meet the Northern Water Tribe. I liked seeing the Northern Water Tribe Water Benders using their skills to apprehend Appa and the gang. I think the Fire Nation must be crazy with their new plans. This episode had lots of character development for Katara as she had to prove herself to the Master Water Bender, and for Zuko who's mission has taken a turn. I really like how layered and complex this series is and this episode is definitely a highlight. I also thought the city of the Northern Tribe was amazing, and the characters were intiguing!!!!!!!moreless
  • Wow, fired on all cylinders and failed to disappoint.

    The writing in this episode was just absolutely fantastic. In just one sitting, the writing in this episode was able to knock down a couple of birds with just one stone, and it worked beautifully. It's pretty neat how it foreshadowed Sokka's love relationship with the princess, explain it with the situation that Master Pakku had before with Sokka and Katara's grandmother, and then use that to help convince Pakku to finally take Katara as one of his students. The writing is just so brilliant and articulated so well, it makes you wonder why there aren't anymore cartoons with such good writing. Not to mention that there is also the stuff going on with Zuko and Admiral Jao that is also interesting in itself, plus the fight between Pakku and Katara is arguably the best up to this episode. Best episode in the show so far.moreless
  • Aang, Katara, and Sokka finally discover the North Pole. They are thwarted, however, when they learn that girls are not allowed to learn waterbending.

    This episode was absolutely amazing!!!! I loved every minute of it! When Aang and Katara find the Waterbending Master, they ask for lessons. The Master agrees to teach Aang, but not Katara. He says he doesn't teach girls how to waterbend. Katara is furious, and makes Aang promise to teach her what he learns. They are caught, however, and Aang is forbidden to be taught any more waterbending. Katara is furious, and confronts the Master. She forces him to fight against her. It was amazing!!! Katara certainly did hold her own. The Master was impressed, and studied her more closely. He discovered the necklace she was wearing to be one he made for her grandmother when they were to be wed several decades ago. Upon seeing this necklace and Katara's skills, he promises to teach her waterbending.moreless
  • Two words: awesome episode!

    Well after the good times at the Northern Air Temple, Aang and his friends venture out to the North Pole for homeland, not only is it a good place and has fine buildings with a lot of neat activities going on, but it is also fabulous for having some of the best water benders in the world teach you their techniques! The Water Bending Master however, is a real snob and does not care well for them at all, he's also a real poophead if you want to say Aang's words about him. Fortunately towards the end he isn't bad after all and becomes friendly. He is a good water bender and is willing to give out advice after seeing Katara's necklace and telling him about Gran Gran or other members of her family. This is also the last episode and chapter of this book before our last two finale episodes and chapters for book one: Water. Before the battle begins and Zhao arrives, Sokka meets his first love either in this episode or the next episode where in the last episode for this book she gets turned into the moon! Talk about a tearjerker. Zuko will also be coming for them soon. Now some real action and epicness begins when Aang and his friends are at the North Pole!moreless
  • This episode is another word for perfect.

    This is one of the top episodes from season 1. It is a great way to start the finale. This episode is adventourous, has romance, and is exciting. The Fire Nation is launching an attack on the Water Tribe. The Gaang must figure out how to prevent the Water Tribe from falling. Meanwhile, Zuko must try to capture the Avatar before anyone else does. I would give this episode higher than a 10 if I could. That's how good the episode is. It leaves a cliffhanger and it will make viewers want to keep watching the rest of the series.moreless
Johanna Braddy

Johanna Braddy

Princess Yue

Guest Star

Lucille Bliss

Lucille Bliss


Guest Star

Keone Young

Keone Young

Captain Li

Guest Star

Victor Brandt

Victor Brandt

Master Pakku

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (11)

    • This episode reveals that Katara's necklace is actually a Water Tribe engagement necklace that was originally made by Pakku for her Grandmother, Kanna. The two were set to be married.

    • Iroh: The Fire Lord will not be pleased when he learns who was behind the attack. Despite banishing him, apparently Ozai still cares for Zuko in some manner.

    • When Aang and Katara leave the house, the steps and candles are missing.

    • During Sokka asking Katara to leave him be while talking to Yue, Katara leans her head back while eating and her braid turns a dark blue.

    • The food on the table during the celebration changes throughout the scene.

    • If Master Pakku was engaged to Gran Gran and the marrying age is sixteen how could, in episode one, the fire navy ship that attacked the Southern Water Tribe haunt her ever since she was a little girl.

    • When Sokka first sees Yue, the crescent moon in the symbol on her hairband for her hair loops is missing.

    • When Yue tells Sokka to meet her on the bridge, Sokka falls in the water. When he gets out, he sits on the edge, his feet almost touching the water. But in the next shot, overhead, we see Sokka in the same position except the water is up to his knees.

    • While Appa is swimming through the canal, the man bending Yue's gondolianer has brown hair and a light blue parka, but when Sokka focuses on Yue, the man's hair is grey and his parka is much darker.

    • It is openly stated by Zhao that Zuko's weapons are broadswords; this is a common misconception. The twin swords that Zuko uses are known as Chinese Dao and are classified as saber not broadswords.

    • When Zuko's ship is being blown up, if you slow down the part were the fire engulfs Zuko, you can see him protecting himself by projecting a fire shield.

  • QUOTES (35)

    • Pakku: I carved this necklace for your grandmother when we got engaged. I thought we would have a long happy life together. I loved her.
      Katara: But she didn't love you did she? It was an arranged marriage.
      (Yue's eyes start tearing)
      Katara: Gran Gran woudn't let your tribe's stupid customs ruin her life. That's why she left. It must of taken a lot of courage.
      (Yue leaves with her eyes tearing)
      Aang(to Sokka): Go get her.

    • Pakku: You have disrespected me, my teachings, and my entire culture!
      Aang: I'm sorry, I-
      Pakku: You are no longer welcome as my student!

    • Zhao: He's heading north. The Northern Water Tribe. The Avatar needs to master waterbending. He's looking for a teacher.
      Captain Li: Then what are we waiting for? Let's go get him!
      Zhao: Patience, Captain Li. This isn't some little Earth village we can just march into. The Water Tribe is a great nation. There's a reason they've survived a hundred years of war. The frozen tundra is treacherous. The landscape itself is an icy fortress. We'll need a massive invasion force.

    • Uncle Iroh: He's taking everyone. (starts sobbing) Even the cook!

    • Zhao: So, have you reconsidered my offer?
      Iroh: Yes, I accept. It will be an honor to serve as your general. To the Fire Nation!
      Zhao: To Victory!

    • Sokka: Hi, there. Sokka, Southern Water Tribe.
      Princess Yue: Very nice to meet you.
      Sokka (after a brief pause): So... uh... you're a princess! (Yue nods and smiles) You know, back in my tribe, I'm kinda like a prince myself!
      Katara: Hah! Prince of what?
      Sokka: (to Katara) A lot of things! Do you mind? I'm trying to have a conversation here!
      Katara: (Katara bows) My apologies, Prince Sokka.
      Sokka: (to Yue) Looks like I'm going to be in town for awhile. I'm thinking maybe we an activity together?
      Princess Yue: Do an activity? (laughs while Sokka stuffs his mouth full with food)
      Katara: Very smooth.

    • Princess Yue: What do you want from me?
      Sokka: Nothing. I just want you to know, I think you're beautiful… and, I never thought a girl like you would even notice a guy like me.
      Princess Yue: You don't understand.
      Sokka: No, no, see, that's the thing. I think I do understand now. You're a princess, and I…I'm just a southern peasant.
      Princess Yue: No, Sokka…
      Sokka: It's okay. You don't have to say anything.

    • Iroh: The crew asked me to wish you good luck on your travels.
      Zuko: Good riddance to those traitors!

    • (On the boat)
      Uncle Iroh (singing): Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall
      Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall
      Four seasons, Four loves
      Four seasons for love

    • Pakku (watching Aang doing a waterbending move): Not bad, not bad. (laughs) Keep practicing and maybe you'll get it by the time you're my age.

    • Sokka: This is crazy, Katara, there's no way that you can win this fight!
      Katara: I know that, and I don't care.
      Aang: You don't have to do this for me, I can always find another master to teach me.
      Katara: I'm not doing this for you. Somebody's got to slap some sense into that guy.

    • Pakku (Katara runs up to him tired, he replies in an annoyed tone): What do you think you're doing… (softens his tone and gives a sly smile) It's after sunrise, you're late.
      Aang: Good to see you.
      Katara: You too.

    • Sokka: Hi, Princess Yue, I made you something. I carved it myself.
      (Sokka sticks out his hand, in the palm of his hand lies a wooden object)
      Princess Yue: It's a bear.
      Sokka: Actually, it's a fish (he turns it sideways) see, it has a fin.
      Princess Yue: Oh. I'm sorry. I made a mistake. I shouldn't have asked you to come here!
      (Yue runs away and Sokka gets mad and throws the fish-bear-thing carving into the water)

    • Katara (referring to the city): This place is beautiful.
      Sokka (with a dazed look on his face, referring to Princess Yue): Yeah, she is.

    • Pakku (to Aang): Just because you're destined to save the world, don't expect any special treatment.
      Aang: My friend and I can't wait to start training with you, after we relax for a couple days.
      Pakku: If you want to relax, then I suggest visiting a tropical island. If not, I'll see you both at sunrise. Good night.

    • Admiral Zhao (seeing Zuko's swords): I didn't know you were skilled with broadswords, Prince Zuko.
      Prince Zuko (perfectly calm): I'm not. They're antiques. Just decorative.

    • Uncle Iroh (to Prince Zuko): No, it's about our plans. There's a bit of a problem.
      Admiral Zhao: I'm taking your crew.

    • (Princess Yue kisses Sokka)
      Sokka: Okay, now I'm confused. Happy, but confused.

    • Pakku: I'm sorry. I think there's been a misunderstanding. You didn't tell me your friend was a girl. In our tribe, it is forbidden for women to learn waterbending.

    • Sokka (to Katara): So how's waterbending training?
      (Katara huffs and plops her head on the pillow)
      Aang (referring to Pakku): Master Poophead won't teach her because she's a girl.

    • Katara (to Sokka): How's warrior training going?
      (Sokka kicks his bag in frustration)
      Aang: That bad?

    • (Zuko is sitting in his room, Iroh knocks on the door and sticks his head in)
      Prince Zuko: For the last time, I'm not playing the sungi horn.

    • Aang (shouting, while approaching Master Pakku): Good morning, Master Pakku!
      (The water Pakku was bending falls onto his own head because he lost concentration)
      Pakku: No please, march right in. I'm not concentrating or anything.

    • Pakku (after defeating Katara): The fight is over.
      Katara: Come back here! I'm not finished yet!
      Pakku: Yes, you are.

    • Uncle Iroh (to Prince Zuko): It's a lovely night for a walk. Why don't you join me? It would clear your head. (Iroh waits for Zuko to reply, Zuko doesn't speak) Or, just stay in your room and sit in the dark. Whatever makes you happy.

    • Chief Arnook: What do you want me to do, force Master Pakku to take Aang back, as his student?
      Katara (sincerely): Yes, please.

    • Pakku: You are an excellent waterbender.
      Katara: But you still won't teach me, will you?
      Pakku: No.

    • Admiral Zhao (after hearing of news of the explosion on Zuko's ship): I'm devastated to hear about Prince Zuko, just devastated.

    • Sokka: I'm not one to complain, but can't Appa fly any higher?
      Aang (angrily): I've got an idea, why don't we all get on your back and you can fly us to the North Pole?
      Sokka (sarcastically): I'd love to! Climb on everyone, Sokka's ready for takeoff.
      (Momo jumps on Sokka's back)

    • Katara (while Pakku casually walks past her): So, you decided to show up? Aren't you gonna fight?
      Pakku: Go back to the healing huts with the other women where you belong. (Katara water-whips the back of Pakku's neck and he turns around) Fine. You want to learn to fight so bad, study closely! (Pakku gets ready to attack Katara)

    • Pakku (waiting to get a forced apology from Katara): I'm waiting, little girl.
      Katara (angry, makes the ice floor crack): No! No way am I apologizing to a sour old man like you!
      Aang: Uh, Katara?
      Katara: I'll be outside, if you're man enough to fight me!
      (Katara heads outside)
      Aang: I'm sure she didn't mean that.
      Sokka: Yeah, I think she did.

    • Pakku (while picking up Katara's Necklace): This is my necklace...
      Katara: No it's not, it's mine! Give it back!
      Pakku: I made this 60 years ago. For the love of my life. For Kanna.
      Katara: Gran Gran was supposed to marry you?

    • Katara: ...everyone's happy.
      Sokka: I'm not happy.
      Katara: You're never happy.

    • Sokka (to the princess): I think you're beautiful.

    • Aang (to waterbending master): If you won't teach Katara...
      Pakku: Then what?
      Aang: Then I won't learn from you!

  • NOTES (5)


    • The Northern Water Tribe is an allusion to the Inuit culture. The Inuit people live in the Arctic, just like the Northern Water Tribe. In addition, the Inuit people use fish and other marine animals for daily needs just like the waterbenders do in the Northern Water Tribe.

    • Given her harsh experiences of living in a world without the Avatar, Gran Gran's true name, Kanna, is most likely taken from the Japanese word 'kanna', which translates to 'godless world.'

    • The small boats seen inside the city are based off gondolas, traditional Venetian rowing boats used for centuries as the primary means of transportation within Venice, Italy and continue to have an active role in public transport, serving as ferries for major canals. The canals of the Northern Water Tribe capitol city themselves are clearly designed from that of Venice.

    • The water-locking chambers at the entrance of the Northern Water Tribe that are used to lift vessels to the level of the city's waterways are similar to that of the Panama Canal.

    • House of Flying Daggers.
      According to the DVD audio commentary for this episode, Pakku's method of disabling Katara at the end of their fight by trapping her within a cage of icicles was inspired by a sequence in House of Flying Daggers.

    • The romance between Sokka and Princess Yue is based off the classic theme of a princess falling in love with a peasant, but status prevents their union. Such as the Arab story of Aladdin and his Princess.

    • Master Pakku: In our tribe, it is forbidden for women to learn waterbending.
      This is similar to the old days, where at a young age, women were required to learn how to cook, sew, and care for the house, while men learned to read, write, and hunt.

    • Carved Necklaces in the Northern Water Tribe mean that a young woman is engaged, just as rings in our world mean a woman is to be wed.