watching toph and aang work in tandem gives the chills
The disparity between the “best of the best” elite Ba Sing Se guards and two 12-year-olds, one of whom has only been earthbending for a couple months and was taught by the other, is staggering. People always talk about how Firebending got perverted after the destruction of the dragons. Yet, the Earth Kingdom has fallen to the same.
Aang and Toph use everything at their disposal, combining the man-made structures with typical bending moves to pull off some pretty cool feats. Toph was taught by the Badgemoles, and therefore uses her skills in the earliest/most pristine form of the art.The guards, meanwhile, are very rigid in their bending. They only use intended/designated earth to bend, conscious of keeping in-tact the immaculate man-made structures that make up the heart of Ba Sing Se. Another example of the city’s folly.
Earth is a Great Equalizer. From the time we are born, we all must walk it, and rely on it to provide sustinence for survival. Yet the Elites at the center of the City of Walls and Secrets think themselves above such things. They’ve shaped the earth in intricate designs, intended to be a visual symbol of their superiority. They will not compromise the trophy-structures they built, even in the face of an invasion. And, when the absolutely must? They sacrifice the statues of the Badgermole, symbols of earthbending’s humble and natural beginning.
The end of book 2 was devoted to showing how flawed and perverted the Earth Kingdom had become as well, and this fight scene is a perfect visual representation of the values and reasoning behind the ultra-(artificial)control-oriented Ba Sing Se government and how it operates. Strict. Rigid. Controlled. Nobody thinks outside the box. Not even to defend what they hold dear.
Intriguing insightful analysis. 🙌🏻