Comparison is a Thief of Joy

I’m not exactly where the phrase originated, but I have been acquainted with it several times and I quite agree: “Comparison is a thief of joy.” While it’s usually encouragement for one not to compare themselves to others, I think it can be applied to the shows and movies that we enjoy, as well.

I was watching this fan-made compilation of Korra sequences added to music, and it was a really nice edit. I really enjoyed it. Then someone claiming to be “Aang” showed up and said that Aang was the best avatar, and it really rubbed me the wrong way.

Korra and Aang are two very distinct and different characters with two very different journeys. Aang is a twelve year old boy who must bring the world to peace after a hundred year war where he remained dormant and trapped within a giant ice ball. Korra is a seventeen year old girl who has to learn how to be the Avatar.

While I enjoyed Avatar the Last Airbender and think it has better world building, I also really enjoyed The Legend of Korra. Korra, to me, was really relatable and a I connected with her more. I find her to be a superior avatar to Aang. It doesn’t mean that I don’t like Aang, but she seemed more powerful and her struggle was personally more relatable.

I’m not sure why people are so adamant and dead set in hating Korra. I think it is deeply rooted in misogynoir. Because many of these same people love Zuko – but Korra is a direct parallel to Zuko. Both of their journeys to become who they are are mostly internal rather than external, they both grew up in relative isolation, and they both have to figure out their identities by being alone. Zuko has to learn to be more than just the banished son of Ozai, and Korra has to learn that there’s more to being the Avatar than simply bending.

It is okay to have a preference for the Avatars. I’m not telling anyone who to like, but I think that this constant comparison between Aang and Korra is very unhealthy. Especially when there’s a media that references only one of them. Unless someone wants to debate which one is stronger in their videos or social media content, then there really shouldn’t be a comparison.

Both Avatar the Last Air Bender and Legend of Korra are great shows, and both show be appreciated for what they are. They’re experiences meant to be independent of one another, and whilst it is sad that Aang had to die for Korra to be born; I still appreciate both of them and the story as it happened (mostly – since Nickelodeon made some changes to Korra that definitely hindered the show).

My point is we should stop comparing them. Let Aang be Aang and Korra be Korra. They’re both great avatars.

Linda M. Crate’s works have been published in numerous magazines and anthologies. She is the author of seven poetry chapbooks, the latest of which is: the samurai (Yellow Arrow Publishing, October 2020). She has also authored two micro-collections, and three full length poetry collections.

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