In "Avatar: The Last Airbender" bloodbending was invented and it was discovered through water in a human's blood which allows a bloodbender to control someone using bloodbending.

There is one problem with how the creators said that only a waterbender can bloodbend, but if you really think about it waterbenders are not the only benders who should be able to bloodbend. Could an Earthbender who can metalbend also bloodbend? In a human's blood there is also metal which should allow any metalbender to bloodbend.

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    ...The creators said that only a waterbender can bloodbend - this looks like the answer to whether or not they can bend. It seems like what you want to know isn't whether or not they can, but why they can't.
    – Misha R
    Oct 7, 2019 at 8:21
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    I think an earthbender is more likely to successfully bonebend.
    – Kreiri
    Oct 7, 2019 at 14:07
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    Obligatory XKCD. I could swear there was one about specifically a "rhodium bender", but Google couldn't find it. Maybe it was another comic... Oct 7, 2019 at 14:37
  • As a comment, there are metals (types of compounds in the periodic table) and metallic (type of property a macroscopic material has). Not all metallics are metals (but all metals have metallicity). Next fact, once a metal loses its macroscopic integrity, for instance is reduced and dissolved in water, it stops having metallic properties. In the example of iron in blood, it is iron bound to a heme complex. It does not have any properties that separate it from a non-iron bound to the heme complex. Solvated metal ions do not necessarily exhibit metallicity
    – Stian
    Oct 8, 2019 at 12:40
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    @DarrelHoffman Holy crap, Mendeleev is one cold SOB. All the Avatar did was introduce himself.
    – Misha R
    Oct 10, 2019 at 5:19

5 Answers 5


Probably not with the metal that exists in normal amounts in human bodies, and we haven't seen it.

Metalbending is a form of earthbending... however, when Toph first developed the ability, it was made clear that she wasn't bending the metal itself. She was bending the small impurities of Earth inside the metal. In essence, she was already doing what waterbenders do with bloodbending, only with metal.

This is why Platinum (in the Avatarverse) is resistant to metalbending, because it's highly purified and these earthbenders have nothing (or not enough) earth within it to work on. Of course the show has not entirely been internally consistent on various matters (mercury, for example, seems to be controllable by metalbenders despite it being a liquid and any impurities used to shape it more likely to be wrenched out, but maybe mercury, though a metal, is considered a form of 'Earth' that can be directly manipulated rather than the impurities within it).

In the human body, metal certainly exists... but it tends to exist in extremely minute form, basically atomic, and diffuse throughout the body. The metal itself is the impurity, and so to manipulate it you'd need to find microscopic impurities within already microscopic impurities and control them all to manipulate a person. Even if you could, you might be able to draw the metal out (which could well be fatal), but using it to control a person's body? There's just not a lot of structure there to do it, compared to bloodbending, where water is everywhere in the body (and waterbenders are already skilled at controlling free-flowing material).

That's not to say it could never happen, as metalbending itself was once considered impossible, but it seems to be far more difficult. And there are edge cases, like Suyin, Toph (and eventually Korra herself) attempting with various degrees of success, to control the extra metal within Korra's body from Red Lotus poison, or if somebody had, say, a hip replacement (so far unseen in the Avatarverse to my knowledge), the metal hip might be controllable by a metalbender who wanted to make them do the hustle or anything else.

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    Iron in humans is mostly in the form of hemoglobin and that is a molecule that contains loose atoms of iron, no room for impurities.
    – Borgh
    Oct 7, 2019 at 14:25
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    With that logic, there is something readily avaiable that would make "earthbending" a person faesible: the bones! It would be rather scary, too. More so, if Earthbenders can bend coal - and thus, carbon - there are a lot of stuff in the body that they could mess up with.
    – T. Sar
    Oct 7, 2019 at 22:48
  • You say it was mercury, but what was it ever confirmed to be mercury?
    – Cell
    Oct 8, 2019 at 1:34

Considering that waterbender can only bend a specific molecule, H2O, and only an airbender can bend either H2 or O2 individually, the "bending" works on substances, not elements. The metal present in blood forms no metallic bond, instead is bound inside an organic molecule, that can not be considered a metal in any definition I know of. Only because the substance contains Fe (iron), does not mean it is metallic in some way.

  • See most upvoted answer; metalbending is a subset of earthbending, the impurities in the metal are what is bent, not the metal itself.
    – NathanS
    Oct 7, 2019 at 15:15
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    @NathanS Which still means "it has nothing to do with chemical elements". It's all about the "classical" elements - earth being distinct from "various silicon and aluminium oxides plus a bunch of other stuff".
    – Luaan
    Oct 8, 2019 at 9:01

Besides that this is not seen in the story, this is really stretching the definition of metal.

Metals as chemical elements are pretty much in everything. Sodium is a metal and forms table salt. Sodium also forms other compounts important for organic life.

However what makes metal "metal" from our perspective is usually the loose electrons that give it its conductivity and shiny look. Those properties are properties of the atomic structure (that is, multiple "metal" atoms), not individual atoms.


It might be possible, but not because of the metal

Much of what we consider "Earth" is made up of ionic compounds (usually a metal and nonmetal). Salt, an ionic compound, makes up about 0.9% of our blood. So if you say that ~1% is enough, and earthbending includes all ionic compounds, and that it doesn't matter if it's dissolved (a limitation of the "Earth, Fire, Wind, Water" elemental division), then you could make a case for earthbenders being able to bend blood, but they shouldn't need to be able to bend metals first to be able to do so.


No Blood can not be bended by metalbenders

If for say you had a knife and stabbed someone then let their blood slowly drip out onto the knife you couldn't bend blood, though like how leaves capture water droplets you could bend the knife to make the blood flow in a different direction, but you couldn't actually bend blood.

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