If Aang (or Korra) can take or give the power to bend elements then can he (or she) make a non-bender into a bender?
I realize that the creators made Aang's son Bumi into a non-bender to add drama and conflict but why didn't Aang just make Bumi into an Air bender?
For that matter, why didn't Aang just find people willing to become Air Benders to rebuild that poplution?
I'm looking for a canon source for this question.

  • 1
    I think you've kind of answered your own question... if Aang had the ability to do this, he would have. Therefore he didn't have that ability.
    – evilsoup
    Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 17:39
  • 4
    Aang (or Korra) hasn't been shown to be able to give anyone the power to bend. He used energy bending to effectively "take away" Ozai's bending abilities, but it has never been fully explained what that entails. Korra (and everyone else's) bending had been blocked by a highly advanced water/bloodbending technique.
    – phantom42
    Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 18:00

7 Answers 7


Given that the recent episode of The Legend of Korra -- Beginnings -- showed

Ancient Lionturtles granting bending to humans by energybending,

It seems likely that in theory the Avatar does have this ability. However: Aang never learned how to lightningbend or bloodbend or metalbend so far as we know (so the Avatar can't necessarily do everything), and it seems like a bit of a leap to go from taking bending away to giving it to non-benders. Aang probably didn't give his non-bending son Airbending because he didn't realise that it was an option, even if he may potentially have had the capability.

  • That was my underlying reasoning; if Aang could take bending away, then theoretically, he should be able to grant it as well... And it was nice to see it happen in Korra.
    – djm
    Commented Oct 21, 2013 at 3:33
  • 1
    "...so the Avatar can't necessarily do everything..." I just think Aang can't do everything. But I could very well see Korra master lightning, and the next Earth avatar might master metal bending at some point. Though, bloodbending is a completely different story.
    – Bobby
    Commented Oct 21, 2013 at 21:36
  • 3
    I find it more likely that Aang would have declined to change his son Bumi on such a fundamental level, regardless if Aang could have granted him a bending discipline or not.
    – Ellesedil
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 17:59

No. Canonically, the two effects you mention:

Katara's Bloodbending and Aang's Energybending

can block or sever what exists, or repair the same, but cannot create new abilities where there never was any before. It's unclear whether this is because the abilities themselves are subtle constructs and no bender knows how to recreate it or if there's a fundamental reason they cannot.

  • 3
    Didn't energybending come from the lion-turtles; they seemed to talk about taking and giving bending away rather than break/repair.
    – Nick T
    Commented Dec 24, 2014 at 6:42
  • 1
    Do you have evidence of this assertion? We never see Anon "repair" a person's bending, and he has an obvious candidate as he took his brother's bending away before apparently realizing who he actually was. And we have no idea how "bending" actually works in a person so we haven't any idea if Korra's energy bending is "repairing" or "granting" the bending ability.
    – Ellesedil
    Commented May 26, 2017 at 9:19

NO; they could not make a non-bender into a bender.

  • Aang, and presumably Korra could, if their spiritual focus were right, be capable of energy bending and removing a bender's ability using the Avatar State.
  • The process of energy bending is never fully defined, so we are never sure if the power of of giving the ability to bend is an aspect of the turtles presumably immense spiritual capacity or whether it is an aspect of the energy bending capability.
  • Since the turtles protected humanity from the rogue spirits in the environment, it can be presumed the lion turtles spiritual energy made rogue spirits reluctant to attack humans while they were on the back of the lion turtle.
  • No Avatar has show the ability of giving a non-bender the ability to bend the elements. If an Avatar could give bending to non-benders, it would have been one of the things the Avatar would have surely been requested to do over the centuries.
  • Only the fire lion turtle (and presumably other elemental lion turtles) has been shown to be able to bestow the ability to bend to humans.

The fire lion turtle was a creature that lived during the era before the Avatar, where it served as one of the protectors of mankind. This lion turtle possessed the ability to bestow firebending unto people. ("Beginnings, Part 1")

  • So, Lin Beifong has her bending removed by Anon's bloodbending. Korra restores it with energy bending she learned from communicating with Aang (after Aang essentially restores the rest of Korra's bending himself). Does this not completely contradict this answer?
    – Ellesedil
    Commented May 26, 2017 at 9:16

Ok, now, this response is just made because i haven't seen it yet from anyone else, but I think that the Avatar can only give ending to the people who have had it taken away. If you hear how Amon takes away bending, they say that he severs the connection to their bending ability. I think that Korra just reconnecs it. Then again, LoK leaves many things nonsensical, like being ale to airbend after Amon severs her connection to the elements, unlike TLAB, where everything adds up and is explained, so if we only look at the series that isn't a joke, then we can't deduce it. Still though, it makes sense that he couldn't, otherwise Aang would've searched for spiritual people and given them the power of Airbending and rebuilt the Air Nation, instead of the nonsensical happenings whereby the harmonic convergence inexplicably gives airbending to a random bunch of people.


Yes because in one of the episodes Bumi got Airbending when he was in deep trouble and some of the episodes show Bumi Airbending when the Red Lotus came and nearly beat them all. And that shows that Bumi was a non bender to an Airbender.

  • Can you remember what episode this is and edit it in to back up your point some more?
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented May 5, 2020 at 10:35

Well the lion turtles gave the first avatar bending, if you've seen that episode

  • Episode name??? Commented Nov 28, 2013 at 16:17
  • 1
    Aang and Korra are not Lion Turtles. Lion Turtles are the only beings who have been shown to grant bending abilities to non-benders. An argument could be made that Raava can, but it is unknown if she still possesses elemental bending abilities herself once she passes them to Wan.
    – phantom42
    Commented Nov 29, 2013 at 14:21

I presume that the lionturtle gave Aang (therefore subsequent avatars) the ability to energy bend, just as they gave people the ability to bend the elements during Avatar Wan's time, which is why the avatar is the only person in the world with the ability.

Even though it hasn't been shown, perhaps the avatar can give non-benders the ability to bend but hasn't for some reason (imo it wouldn't make sense for the avatar to be able to take but not give bending abilities). Some say that if it can be done then Aang would have done it, but really it's not up to Aang it's up to the writers, and perhaps they're just skating around the subject because they don't want the storyline in the script (korra only has 14 episodes per season, as opposed to 20 for A:LAB. And due to seasons 2-4 not being confirmed before book 1 aired they couldn't write a running ark through all 4 seasons, causing major creative constraints for the series as a whole).

It may be touched upon or even explained in season 3 or 4, but I suspect it won't be mentioned at all. Which would be a shame, because I think it would be nice for the air acolytes to be rewarded for their devotion by being given the ability to airbend, and being able to truly bring back the culture.

  • Welcome to SF&F:SE. You'll find you get a more positive response if you keep you answers more closely focused on answering the question :-)
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 22:53

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