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I have a crazy theory, and it all stems from the fact that Book 2 has felt...off, at least story-wise, to me. I think the reason is because we're in for the reveal that Unalaq has been the villain since Book 1.

Let me explain.

In Book 1, both Tarrlok and Noatak (Amon) wanted power. Specifically, they wanted to control Republic City, but through different means. Tarrlok wanted to gain ultimate political power, possibly as President (before the council disbanded, and the first election was held).

In contrast, Noatak decided to use his perfect style of bloodbending to raise an army and overtake Republic City by force. But why would he want to do this in the first place? He clearly doesn't have an agenda against bending, since he is a bender himself. You could argue that the seeds for an anti-bending revolution would work best in a mixed city, but he had to know that he was rising against an unstoppable army (The United Forces) when it would make more strategic sense to slowly build an army all over the world. It's not unreasonable, but it does seem weird to me.

Remember how Amon claimed that he gained his powers from the spirits? We're then told that he takes bending away with bloodbending. Wouldn't it make more sense, then, if someone who is a master of spirits...like Unalaq...actually taught Amon to do this? What if Noatak never disappeared as a child. What if he went to Unalaq after being disgusted by his father? What if, in order to seek real balance in the world, Unalaq employed Noatak to help him free Vaatu and create a new Avatar that would balance out the old one?

After all, we learned in "Beginnings" that Wan and Raava only won against Vaatu because the match was uneven. It was 2 versus 1. If Vaatu had his own master bender, like Noatak, to bond with, there would be two Avatars, which would allegedly create real balance and prevent wars. What if the Civil War is just evidence Unalaq wants to use in order to prove that Korra is not fit to be the Avatar, since she can't be neutral? And no Avatar in existence has ever been able to achieve real peace, so Unalaq's goal may be to create a perfect world.

Why Republic City? If Unalaq has control of the North Pole, and he acquires the South Pole, then the tree where everything started is the key to freeing Vaatu. This is the tree from A:TLA in Book 2, when Aang learns that "everything is connected." I believe this ancient tree is where Vaatu was sealed, and Republic City must not be far away.

(Side note: the Spirit Oasis in the North Pole is the oasis from "Beginnings," in my opinion.)

This would also explain why Amon decided to "accelerate his plans" when Korra showed up in Republic City. To do all this, they needed Korra to open the portals, but she can only do that if she unlocks the Avatar State. Amon had to spare her in their first encounter and force her to her breaking point in order for this to happen. Maybe he never really robbed her of her bending, hence she was still able to airbend. He may have done that intentionally in order to keep her spirit intact and allow her to use the Avatar State to restore her bending. It was all Unalaq's plan.

What Unalaq didn't count on was Tarrlok, who was ultimately Noatak's demise, though Noatak seemed ready to just escape forever right before this happened. He might have been more enslaved by Unalaq than anything else.

That's all I got. I think this revelation would salvage Book 2, giving us a series villain akin to Avatar: The Last Airbender's Fire Lord Ozai, and this development would provide Korra with the opportunity to fail at the end of this book, giving us a Dark Avatar via Unalaq or even Noatak if he secretly survived. Book 3 could then be about the world ending and ultimately being saved in Book 4.

What do you think?

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