In The Legend of Korra the first element that Avatar Wan gained was fire from a Fire Lion Turtle, which he eventually mastered in the Spirit Wilds some time later with Dragons on the Spirit Oasis.

Would this mean that the first Avatar (Wan) was a Firebender and that the Avatar Cycle started with a Firebender?

Answers are appreciated. :)

  • Check the episodes at the Southern Air Temple in each series. They comment (or show through the statues) a lot about the cycle. I have a vague memory that they specify the original Avatar's element.
    – rsegal
    Commented Apr 22, 2014 at 16:57

7 Answers 7



I think

Would this mean that the first Avatar (Wan) was a Firebender?

First, observe that Wan can only use one element at a time, and Raava holds the other ones - Wan is able to unlock them if she fuses with him.

Now, have some definition for Avatar:

One who controls all four elements.

By this definition, the Avatar comes to existence when the following conditions are fulfilled:

  • Wan is holding one element, W.
  • Raava is holding exactly three elements, X, Y an Z.
  • Raava is fused with Wan.

And the Avatar stops existing the moment any of these three conditions is not fulfilled.

So, we need to know what was the element W that Wan was holding the first time the above occurred (because the first time it occurred is also the first time the Avatar was created).

Unfortunately, it is not trivial to say fire because Wan could have switched at any point for any reason whatsoever. In fact, the element W must have been the last element he trained on. According to the sequences we see in the episode, the last one he trained was Earth.

The moment the Earth turtle gave Wan the element of Earth, Raava must have been holding the other three elements (because Earth is the last one he visited).

Since the Avatar first came into existence given the three points I give above, it follows that Wan was an Earthbender before becoming the Avatar, as it was the element he last held before joining Raava who was holding the other three.

  • 7
    The Avatar has always been identified by which element he mastered first and which nation he originated from. Wan mastered firebending first and came from the firebending lion-turtle city. He would have been an Avatar when he gained access to each element, but the last element to be mastered would not impact his place of origin.
    – Taejang
    Commented Aug 25, 2014 at 21:35
  • As @Taejang specified, Wan hailed from the fire nation. Avatars are born with all 4 elements present, so your theory would make people wonder how an Avatar is picked in the first place. Commented Dec 2, 2016 at 9:37

There are a few ways we can look at this:

The first possibility is ofcourse the element he learned first, which would be Fire;

The second possibility would be what @Voldemort suggested: the last element he learned, which would be earth.

The third possibility is something different altogether: it would be the last element he used before he took Ravah inside him (note: just inside hime, the permanent fusion). Following Voldemorts theory, it would be the element W, which he was holding inside him, while Ravah then held elements X, Y & Z.

The last possibility is closely related to the third one: here however, it would be the element he used last just before the permanent fusion. In the previous theory, each time he switched while Ravah was inside him (but not permanently bonded), you could argue that Ravah simply switched Wan's element W with her X/Y/Z element. So the last element Wan held (his W element), would become the first element of the cycle.

The easiest way to determine this would be to find the second avatar and get their element, because it's mostly guesswork at this point.
Personally, I find either #1 or #4 the likeliest.

EDIT: Thinking about it, the logic in the OP could be correct too. There is always a cycle that has to be followed: Fire->Air->Water->Earth->Fire->Etc... The avatar has to learn the elements in order of that cycle, starting with his own (nation's) element. And Wan first learned fire, so you could reason that makes him a firebender.


The Avatar is designated based on what tribe/nation they come from. Wan came from the town with the Fire lion turtle, thus making him a firebender first.

Fire is also the first element Wan mastered, and in every case we have seen, the Avatar first masters their clan's element before learning the others.


I would have to say the element that he began with, Fire. Therefore, the first Avatar in the cycle, in my opinion, was fire. The second, in keeping with the cycle, and the order that Avatar Wan mastered the 4 elements, would be air, with the third being Water, and the forth beginning with Earth, thus completing the cycle, and beginning anew with firebending.

  • Is this just your own opinion or is there something in the TV series or supplementary materials that makes you think this?
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 27, 2014 at 22:05

Firebender. Think about it like this:

Wan mastered firebending first, then airbending, waterbending, and finally, earthbending

Aang learned airbending, waterbending, earthbending, and firebending last

Korra presumably learned waterbending, earthbending, firebending, but didn't begin airbending until the series began.

All of the Avatars we've seen so far mirror Wan, but with their starting element instead.


Avatar Wan was a native of the Fire Lion Turtle, the predecessor of the Fire Nation. In addition, his eye color is similar to that of Fire Nation citizens. The first element he mastered was also Fire. So I would have to say he'd be considered a Firebending Avatar.



Technically, Wan is a firebender, waterbender, airbender, and earthbender. This is because he is the avatar. However, what nation he is considered is another question. I would say fire, because the town he came from had a fire lion turtle. Also, how you can consider Korra a waterbender, Aang an airbender, then Wan would be a firebender. Aang came from the airnation and he mastered airbending first. Korra (probably) mastered waterbending first and she is from the waternation. Therefore, since Wan first mastered firebending, and is also from a town with a fire lion turtle, he should be considered a firebender.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.