Wan was the first Avatar, and he lived about ten thousand years before Aang and Avatar Korra. He was banished from his home and sent into the then forbidden forest. The forest was inhabited by spirits, and at that time, the balance was very shaky, and relations between humans and spirits were not at their best. He eventually learned to coexist with the spirits. He made it his life’s mission to help bring balance between them and the rest of mankind. This eventually led to him becoming the first Avatar.

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Avatar Wan’s History

Avatar Wan lived in poverty in a city that was built on the back of the fire lion turtle. His main goal was to survive and feed his friends. He did this by regularly stealing food from the wealthy Chou family. He had agility and explicitly cunning behaviors to aid him in staying alive and achieving this task.

On one of these days, he was chased by three of the Chou brothers and ultimately captured. He managed to outrun them at first and make his way to the rooftops. When he stopped to eat, the angry Chou brothers caught up with him. He tried to escape again and was tripped by one of them. His sack of stolen food was taken away from him, and Wan was thrown from the roof into a muddy pen with hybrid pigs.

After he eventually returned to his treehouse, he offered Jaya and Yao the little food he had managed to salvage and stow away in his tunic.

He gave away his own portion to several hungry animals while wishing that their lifestyle could be a lot better. He wished that they could live like the Chous. During this time, however, he devised a plan to gain more power so he could change the way they lived.

The Legend of Korra: The Art of the Animated Series--Book Two: Spirits

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His Great Plan

Avatar Wan’s plan was about to commence. He joined a group of hunters who were going out of the city into the forbidden forest (Spirit Wilds) to get food for the town.

Although the head Hunter was skeptical at first about letting Wan join the hunt. He did eventually give in and was allowed to accompany them since there were no other people that were willing to undertake the task.
The customary task was that they travel to the fire lion turtle to receive the power of fire bending before venturing into the spirit wilds. This was so they would be able to defend themselves against the hostile spirits that lived in the spirit wilds.

Soon after the group set off, Wan pretended to suddenly have gotten cold feet and was subsequently ordered by the head hunter to go back to the lion turtle to return his newly acquired ability.

Wan, however, did not return to the lion turtle and instead returned to the city directly, keeping his fire. Despite his friend Jaya’s protests to return the power back to the fire lion, he inspired a few other poor people to join him on a raid on the Chou palace to get more food. Although the raid was going smoothly at first, the Chou brothers called in reinforcements, and Wan was accidentally unmasked by Little Chou and captured.

He was brought before the lion turtle and, although the creature permitted him to keep his fire at his request, Wan was banished to the Spirit Wilds for his crimes.

Avatar Wan Befriending The Spirits

At first, he wandered the spirit wilds, shooting at every spirit he came across. While he was running away from a frog spirit that was chasing him, Wan got eaten by a plant but was able to save himself by using his fire bending ability.

He ran on until he collapsed from exhaustion on an open grassy spot. However, much to his surprise, the grass started to wrap itself around him and pulled him under. He used his fire to save himself from death by suffocation and continued his journey through the wilderness. Afraid to lower his guard in the hostile environment, he stayed awake the whole night.

By morning, he was tired, exhausted, and hungry, which made him stop by what looked like a tree that was carrying a fruit. This eventually turned out to be a swarm of bees that were hurdled together. They swiftly attacked Wan for his disturbance of their habitat.

He couldn’t Get Away

Wan’s frantic attempt to get away from the enraged insects led him to fall off a cliff.
As he landed, he found himself looking at a peaceful island-like oasis with more fruit trees.

Still consumed by hunger and exhaustion, he made his way over toward the little island. He soon found his path blocked by an aye-aye spirit who appeared out of nowhere before him and told him he was not welcome at the oasis. He said humans were not welcome, and the oasis was only open to spirits.

Wan, at first, tried to reason with the spirit. He told the spirit that he was hungry and in need of sleep. Wan attempted to force the creature aside by fire bending at him when the spirit coldly said that it was not his problem.

Enraged by the effrontery, the spirit met Wan’s challenge and easily evaded the attack by teleporting behind him. He grabbed Wan and threw him aside in a nearby bush, causing Wan to walk away in defeat. When he noticed that several other spirits were granted access to the oasis, he covered himself in leaves and branches, disguising himself as “Bushy, the Bush Spirit.”

He briefly managed to fool the oasis guardian, but this was not for long as the guardian was able to tell and discover Avatar Wan’s deception through his human scent. When ordered to return home, Wan told the spirits that he had been banished by the other humans. The other spirits took pity on him and suggested he find other lion turtle cities. Shocked that there were other cities but his own, he asked for directions, but the guardian refused to give any to him, creating a joke out of it, which irritated Wan to the core.

Introduce The Lion Turtles to Avatar Wan

Wan eventually set out to find these lion turtle cities on his own. While traveling through the wilds, he spotted a cat deer that was caught in a net. Still hungry, he approached it with the intent of eating it. Although after seeing the creature up close, he felt pity for it and climbed into the tree instead of in an attempt to free it. At that same moment, the group of hunters that he had accompanied before arrived at the scene with the intent to kill the cat deer.

Wan fire bent at the hunters and ran off, hoping the men would forget about the animal and chase him.
Understanding the dangers of the spirit wild, he used them to his advantage to get rid of two of his pursuers. Before he could free himself completely from the hunters, Wan was struck by a fire blast that sent him flying against a tree branch, rendering him unconscious.

However, before the men could do anything, the aye-aye spirit, touched by Wan’s selfless act, intervened and saved him. Wan was brought back to the oasis by the spirit, where he was placed in the spirit waters, healing him. Wan chose to stay at the oasis and learn the ways of the spirits, which earned him the nickname “Stinky” from the aye-aye spirit.

As time went by, Wan befriended the spirits and developed his fire bending skills by learning the Dancing Dragon form from a white dragon, training himself to the point where his bending became an extension of his own body, not just a tool. He used his abilities to protect the spirits and drive off hostile humans.

Meeting Raava, Becoming The Avatar

Two years after Wan had been banished, he was still insistent on seeing the other cities. He left the spirit oasis with Mula, his cat deer. During his journey, he was disturbed by a horde of fleeing spirits who were trying to get away from an all-raging battle from two “powerful “spirits. The battle was so chaotic that it threatened to destroy the whole valley.

Concerned for the landscape and its creatures, Wan heads over to investigate. He is met by Vaatu and Raava in an all-raging battle. Oblivious to who they both were, he tries to get them to stop. Raava, the white spirit, tells him to move along, stating that the battle does not concern him.

He objects and tells her that it is his concern, stating that the lives of the spirit animals were at stake. Vaatu, sensing weakness and empathy that can be exploited, begs Wan and tells him that Raava has tortured him for ten thousand years. Wan uses his bending to break the hold Raava has on Vaatu. He soon learns the error of his ways, and Raava tells him who she is.

Wan tries to help after knowing this is his fault. He is told to stay out of the conflict, stating that this is not his business.

While on his way, he comes across harvesters with the ability to control air. He unintentionally scares them away. Curiosity getting the best of him, he constructs a catapult and lunges himself up to the city as he has no ability to get all the way up there.

Vaatu Needed to Be Put Away By Avatar Wan

Fascinated by their knowledge while conversing with the people living there. Vaatu arrives, and his presence turned the peaceful spirits living in the town into raging dark entities. After helping them fight off the dark spirits, Wan decides to help Raava further by fighting Vaatu.

To do this, he asks the air lion turtle for its power. No human had ever held two elements before, but Wan insists that he is unlike any other human and says he can do it.
The lion turtle decided to give him the power of the air; however, Raava would have to hold the power for him until he mastered it.

Raava gave the element of air to Wan by passing through his body and combining their energies. Although a dangerous undertaking, Wan survived the ordeal, and the small yet unlikely alliance set out to find the water and earth lion turtles to receive the last two elements.

Wan and Raava work together to master all four elements so he would be ready to defeat Vaatu come Harmonic convergence.

The great battle began, and he called upon Raava to merge both their energies. This gave him additional strength to his own, and he was able to land a few shots to Vaatu. This state put him in great danger, but he was not about to give up. Vaatu pinned him to the southern spirit portal when Harmonic convergence began.

Final Thoughts On Avatar Wan

Wan placed his hand on the spirit portal, permanently bonding his spirit with Raava’s. This, in turn, created the Avatar Spirit, making Wan the first Avatar. With his newfound strength from the Avatar State, Wan managed to trap Vaatu in an elemental cage and imprisoned him in the hollow of the Tree of Time that is in the spirit world. He also closed the northern portal to prevent any human from ever physically entering the spirit world and freeing Vaatu.

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