I was wondering but how exactly is the avatar state very useful for example if an avatar like Korra gets poisoned by a metallic based venom?

The Avatar State, yes, is a defense mechanism designed to empower you with skills and knowledge from your pasts lives and stuff but if we think about it, it would only ever be good in attack or if you were nearly killed by some huge fire blast of some magnitude.

When I think of how the Avatar State was shown in both Avatar the Last Airbender and Legend of Korra, I think of the Avatar State as some type of safety shield. It gives you the wisdom and knowledge and power which practically make you invincible.

If you were poisoned however, the avatar state can't really do much. Suddenly becoming powerful at bending and being able to destroy a mountain out of lava really wouldn't save you from getting killed, would it?

So if Korra stayed poisoned while in the forced Avatar State, would that mean it would have somehow healed her or would she have died anyways and if she died, would the avatar cycle had ended?

3 Answers 3


How exactly is the avatar state very useful for example if an avatar like Korra gets poisoned by a metallic based venom?

It isn't. That's the point of Zaheer's plan: since the Avatar State is automatically triggered when the Avatar is in absolute danger, he knows that the pain from the poison will force the state on Korra so that he'll be able to kill her and finish the cycle.

However, keep in mind that Zaheer's posion was flawed either way. Suyin Bei Fong was capable of extracting the poison by bending it - in the same manner, Korra may have done the same (but she was raging against Zaheer so she either didn't have the time or didn't even think about it).

If an avatar goes into the avatar state while being poisoned, do they still die?

Yes, this becomes specially clear from Zaheer's statement when he is finally caught:

You're too late. The poison has been in her system for too long. The Red Lotus, has won!

Zaheer can't kill Korra with his own hands since he's been finally defeated - but he knows that Korra will die either way thanks to the poison. Until Suyin comes to the rescue, of course.

So indeed, the poison would effectively kill Korra even with her Avatar State - given enough time.

Ultimately, the Avatar State doesn't provide any particular help against the poison. One could theorize that the "extra wisdom" could aid Korra into extracting the venom on her own, but technically speaking, there is no extra wisdom since she lost her connection with her past lives.

  • We don't know for sure that the poison would have killed her, as the Red Lotus tried to kill her either way. She was chained and they seemed to think she couldn't free herself as she took them by surprise when she did. If they were sure it would kill her, they wouldn't have bothered to try to kill her as soon as the Avatar State triggered. Maybe the poison was able to kill her at the end of the fight because she was weakened by the fight and the Avatar State couldn't heal her anymore - she doesn't have past Avatars, but she still has Raava.
    – Ananas
    Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 12:05
  • @Ananas They needed to kill her as soon as she entered the state, to avoid complications such as, you know, escaping thanks to the extra strength she gets. If she escapes, she can seek aid and get the poison out of her system. The key here is Zaheer's statement at the end - he doesn't care that he's been defeated because the poison has been for way too long already. It's sheer luck that they extracted it just in time.
    – Saturn
    Commented Sep 3, 2014 at 2:40
  • Besides, the Avatar State doesn't make you immortal. Poison is poison. Give it enough time in your body and it'll do its work.
    – Saturn
    Commented Sep 3, 2014 at 2:42
  • Of all of the seasons of Avatar and Korra, Korra season 3 was the one I struggled the most with. I was pretty happy up until the metallic poison plot because it simply just raised way too many questions for me to believe it's effects.
    – Ellesedil
    Commented Mar 25, 2016 at 23:22

If the poison kills them, yes. The Avatar State is, among other things, a failsafe that protects the Avatar from harm. To do this, it triggers when the Avatar is in danger of dying. However, it cannot make the Avatar invincible, which is why it is also a vulnerability: the Avatar can die while in this state, and doing so would be Very Bad.

The problem with this trigger is that it is not very smart. In particular, the mechanism which triggers the Avatar State does not know whether or not it can be of any actual use against whatever danger the Avatar faces at the moment. It only knows that the Avatar is in mortal danger, and so it activates, because that is what it's for.

Zaheer's plan was to trick the Avatar State. He figured out a situation in which it would trigger, but not be able to get the Avatar out of her predicament, and also not pose any additional threat to him (he turned out to be wrong about the last part, but he got the rest of it right). If the plan had worked, then the Avatar State -normally one of Korra's greatest strengths- would have been nothing but a weakness, even though it was working properly.


Yes, they would still die. I got amout that Zaheer's plan was a genius one Korra would've die from Zaheer's minion or the poison ultimately ending the avatar cycle. I think the reason Korra didn't bend poison out was because, if you remember zaher it platinum and even toph can't bend solid platinum so think really hard to bend liquid platinum which is less pure them solid. Platinum and you got you to remember that Korra only learned metal bending a couple episode ago is a while to from being a master but suy who has been metal bending for year could

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