In The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra, we saw some disagreements between Avatars and world leaders, but it was never clear to me who should have the last word (of course, not talking about wartime, so Aang vs. Ozai is pretty obvious.)

For example, when Avatar Roku discovered that Firelord Sozin had started the war, he confronted and attacked him. Still, when Korra visits the Earth Queen, I would have expected that Korra's command for the queen to hand over the air nomads must happen, but the Earth Queen did not acknowledge Korra's authority over her.

Any other references on who is actually superior to who, maybe from comic books, the chronicle books of Kyoshi and Yangchen, or some other source?

  • It's an interesting question, it's similar to asking "Who is really in charge? The king or his spiritual leaders?"
    – Turbo
    Commented Apr 24, 2023 at 19:01
  • Avatar Kyoshi didn't seem to have any legal backing when she confronted Chin the Conqueror, aside from her willingness to throw hands. But that might just be her style.
    – Cadence
    Commented Apr 24, 2023 at 19:13
  • @Cadence: I have not read the Kyoshi books, but I imagine they might shed further light on that.
    – Kevin
    Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 6:44
  • 1
    What do you mean by "superior" and "authority over" (e.g., temporal versus spiritual authority)?
    – Lexible
    Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 15:38
  • What @Lexible said, this is a very unclear question at the moment.
    – AncientSwordRage
    Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 17:04

1 Answer 1


If it is anything like our world, at the international level there is anarchy. That is to say, there is no one world government that dictates the actions of sovereign nations (in the way that local, state, or national governments are able to do so in their jurisdictions).

So, like in our world, the main decider of who has to listen to whom is one thing: power. This is many times in the hands of the Avatar, since high levels of bending of all elements is his "thing". However it is not impossible that the leader of one of the nations could overpower or out-think the avatar.

Of course we also can't discount the symbolic status of the Avatar, so there might also be cultural reasons that the leaders of the various nations would listen to him.

  • 5
    There are many assertions here, but no evidence to back them up
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 24, 2023 at 23:16

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