Sibling rivalry is a huge problem for everyone, but what do you do when your father was the savior of the world. Bumi vs. Kya vs. Tenzin were the three very different children that Aang and Katara had offscreen following the events of Avatar: The Last Airbender.
It’s always interesting to see how young TV protagonists we “grew up with” ultimately acted like adults and passed on to their children. While their family always remained close, there are definitely some major conflicts between the three siblings that are worth exploring. While it seems pretty clear that the parents in this situation picked their favorites, did the audience share their sentiment?
Bumi vs. Kya vs. Tenzin & Who Were There Children?
Aang and Katara had three children in the end – Bumi, Kya, and Tenzin in that order. All three grew up and played major roles in the Korra universe, all having a direct influence on their father’s reincarnation at one point or another. While all impressive, they were certainly different from one another.
Bumi: Bumi was the first-born son and the only non-bender of them (initially). While his younger siblings were off mastering their bending techniques, Bumi got more involved in the military. He was a well-respected commander with a track record of success – even earning the praise of General Iroh.
Although retired by the time we really meet in The Legend of Korra, he held a big position as the commander of the Second Division of the United Forces. As many fans were quick to realize, Aang named Bumi after his earthbending childhood friend. Like Bumi, he is a more comical character with a lot of jokes and shenanigans that everyone kind of groans at (although they do secretly enjoy him, you can tell).
Appearance-wise, he is the one sibling that really brings together both Aang and Katara’s traits – with light skin and blue eyes. While he relied heavily on strategizing and battle accomplishments, he does ultimately get Airbending powers. Although shocked at first, he does come to train them and takes part in defending Republic City.
The Kya Story: (Bumi vs. Kya vs. Tenzin)
The middle child, Kya, is the spitting image of Katara. She is the only one that inherited the darker skin and Waterbending. Like her mother, Kya has healing abilities, although she acknowledges that her mom is still a bit better.
Following Aang’s death, she moves to be with her mother in the water tribe after traveling around the world. She continues to visit Republic city on a regular basis and a very capable warrior. This is reflected in her strong personality as she never backs down – very comparable to the young Katara we were used to seeing. Although not as happy-go-lucky as her older brother, she is nonetheless very playful and likes to tease Tenzin (and apparently scared him a bit as a child).
Another striking characteristic of her is she is an LGBT+ character, having an attraction towards women. While the universe was always diverse, this was a pretty big deal – especially considering how supportive her whole family was towards her.
The Tenzin Story (Bumi vs. Kya vs. Tenzin)
As the baby of the family, Tenzin is often picked on by his older siblings. It’s easy to see how as he is a very strict character who takes every job seriously. Although he is no doubt compassionate and caring, he is not someone who likes to joke and seems to take his duty as Aang’s son seriously. How could he not?
As the only Airbending son to the Airbending Avatar, it’s easy to see why he has a lot of pressure on him. If you remember, the previous show, Avatar: The Last Airbender, let us learn about the fate of the air nomads pretty early on. The fire nation wiped them out in a horrible genocide leaving only Aang to carry on the legacy of an entire culture and nation.
It’s easy to see how he was overjoyed when his final son possessed Airbending skills. As such, Aang put a lot of time and effort into teaching Tenzin all the ways of the air nomads. He wanted to make sure that Tenzin would continue on and preserve the culture (and possibly pass his bending skills off to young heirs).
He has a strong sense of duty and often feels like he’s the only responsible one out of his siblings – but you have to admit there was a lot of weight on his shoulders. Luckily, he had children and went on to teach Korra about Airbending.
Without the pressure to master the elements in under a year (as with Aang’s situation), Korra lived with the monk and his family during her training. In many ways, he also became a father to Korra (as well as his biological children, who became benders as well).
What Was Their Dynamic?
Their family dynamic is pretty complicated, and it’s easy to see why. Those kids had a lot to live up to and, even as adults, seemed to carry some heavy baggage from the pressures. There is something so organic and natural about the three siblings interacting with each other, though, that most people can relate to – especially in families of three or more kids.
When stranded together, they tend to bicker (mostly against Tenzin’s lecturing), but they always pull through for each other. Anything they “held against” each other of kids, they addressed at one point or another during the show – including Bumi’s annoyance of not having bending or Tenzin acting all high and mighty when he wasn’t the only one to make sacrifices.
In the end, they are a family that would be incomplete without each other. While we will still try to crown a favorite, it’s important to point out that the siblings need each other to be themselves – otherwise, it just wouldn’t make sense.
Who Is the Best? (Bumi vs. Kya vs. Tenzin)
When you put all of their accomplishments out there like this, it’s hard to pick a favorite. Every one of the siblings has its own strengths and weaknesses that we can completely relate to. Maybe who you like the best has to do with your feelings between your own siblings. While there is no one that gives you a reason to hate them, there is one sibling that seems to have the most entertainment value and leads to the least amount of problems.
We’ll have to give this one to Bumi! Being the only non-bending child must have been tough (especially as the first-born son). However, getting Airbending must have been a lot to handle. In many ways, he feels like the perfect personality embodiment of Sokka, Iroh, and Aang’s childhood friend he was named after.
There is also something impressive about an underdog who retains their sense of humor and confidence despite the cards he was dealt. The show would not have been the same without the loveable general.
Who is your favorite of Aang and Katara’s kids? Do you think Bumi is overrated? We want to hear from you! Let us know in the comments below!