In the world of Avatar, there is something we can’t ignore. Bending is incredible. Having control over one of the elements brings some major advantages, but looking at all the different variations of bending it is clear that some are much more powerful than others. Just by looking at masters like Hama, we distinguish one bending style that is better than the rest. The art of bloodbending is not only creepy but incredibly powerful. Trying to fight a bloodbending master is even deadly. In today’s post, we will discuss how Hama showed us what we consider to be the most powerful bending in Avatar.
How Hama Extended Bending in Avatar
Avatar did an excellent job showing how the elements adapted and evolved. The four primary elements eventually got a nice addition to them with a little extra flair, but after examining all the different and unique bending styles we have concluded that bloodbending is the most powerful. We’re not just saying that because a creepy old lady is manipulating the fingers of those who write on this blog but because there are many proofs along with the show.
When people talk about the most powerful bending styles they often overlook water when comparing it to fire or earth, but after watching the show many times we have a new appreciation for waterbending. This style can be devastatingly powerful if used correctly. It also provides strong defense as well as healing abilities, which gives waterbenders a great advantage.
With this, it is no wonder that their evolution was one of the best and scariest.
It seems that every improvement or evolution in one of the primary bending styles comes from a great trauma; Zaheer learned to fly after watching his beloved P’Li explode. Toph invented metal bending after being confined in a cage. So how did bloodbending begin? That’s where Hama comes in.
The History of Hama
Hama was a waterbender from the southern water tribe that the fire nation captured in a raid, imprisoning her for many years. The fire nation was quite cunning when it came to controlling their prisoners. They made sure to keep certain elements away from the waterbenders and took extra precautions with them. For example, they purposely kept humidity to a minimum and chained their arms and legs when giving them water to drink.
Hama was subjected to horrible conditions, but she would not stay that way. Each month Hama felt stronger because of the full moon and she realized that if she escaped it would be during one of those nights. She discovered that during the full moon she could manipulate the bodies of the elephant rats around her.
Controlling the water in their blood, she didn’t care how brutal or unethical it was. She was consumed by the feeling of revenge. So, even though it took her years of practice, only being able to use her power to its fullest on full moons. Hama developed her skills enough to become a full-blood master to then control the guard of her cage to free herself.
It was not enough for Hama to escape and return home. She moved to a village in the Fire Nation where every full moon she controlled the villagers in the village and kept them in chains as the Fire Nation did to her.
Introduce Team Avatar to Hama
When Team Avatar showed up in the village Hama wanted to make Katara his heir and pass on his new waterbending ability, but Katara recognized how dangerous it could be. She watched Hama drain the life from nearby objects to extract water from them and eventually saw her reveal her true intentions.
Although Katara was initially against something as cruel and unethical as bloodbending she had to subdue Hama with bloodbending to save Aang and Sokka. This fight means a lot on a narrative level if we think for a moment that Hama’s bloodbending was so powerful that it incapacitated the avatar instantly and almost killed him. That’s why Katara had to resort to bloodbending to stop Hama.
Katara had to do something evil to prevent something eviler, this makes bloodbending so dangerous. Anyone who could handle it could win any fight and it would be tempting to use it to defeat her enemies by forcing them to retreat. Katara vowed she would never use it again, she recognized the danger and knew it was a dark bending style she shouldn’t mess with.
The Power and Dangers of Bloodbending
Although we know that Katara used it again while facing the man who killed her mother with Zuko. Katara used bloodbending on a full moon to unleash her fury when anger and rage got the better of her. She then paused to think about the morality of bloodbending, but it undoubtedly proved that she should not be messed with on any day, but especially on a full moon
There is a balance to bloodbending as with most of the powers from the show. It is incredibly dangerous and effective, so much so that only powerful waterbenders could use it, but moreover, it could only be performed on a full moon. But things change and if there’s one thing we’ve learned about bending in the world of Avatar is that it’s prone to evolution and drastic change. Change may start as an anomaly, but then it becomes something more powerful and generally accepted.
Hama and Her Legacy Continued Into Legend of Korra
In the Legend of Korra, we can see how a powerful crime lord in Republic City who adult Aang and his team had to deal with appeared. By that time bloodbending was forbidden in Republic City, but there was a growing group of waterbenders who could perform this ability in an even more dangerous way. Yakone, the crime lord we spoke of had taken bloodbending to the next level. Being able to wield it without a full moon.
This was a total game-changer, practicing bloodbending without a full moon removed the major restriction to the skill and suddenly it became the most powerful bending style. Although at first, no one could believe it was possible, Yakone’s entire defense at his trial said it was impossible to do bloodbending without a full moon, but the council led by Sokka cleverly pointed out that certainly, it should be impossible but they had already seen some strange things over the years. And that bending has always been able to evolve.
This led Yakone to fully unleash his power by bloodbending the room full of people, including Sokka, Toph, and Aang. All without moving his hands, so much power was incredibly dangerous in the hands of a criminal bent on ruling Republic City. So Aang knew what he had to do. Yakone almost finished off the avatar, but fortunately, the avatar state helped him out of that predicament. Aang restrained Yakone and ended up taking away his waterbending powers.
The Evil of Bloodbending Being Passed Down
We might think that this is the end of the antagonists using bloodbending, but after being defeated Yakone finally escaped from prison and fled to the Northern Water Tribe, where he had two sons: Noatak and Tarrlok who would become waterbenders. Yakone trained them in bloodbending to the point Noatak and Tarrlok, with their different shades would become antagonists to the avatar of the day.
Because of all this, we believe that bloodbending is the most incredible bending style, not only it is one of the most powerful, devastating, and deadly that can be applied to a person, but it also continues to grow and evolve. In a short period, we went from Hama using bloodbending on a full moon to take revenge on the Fire Nation to Noatak “Amon” using it to appear to remove control forever. All in less than 100 years.
The ability to incapacitate your enemies before they can attack could save many lives, but at a terrible moral cost. If a normal bloodbender like Yakone could control a room without using his hands how powerful would the avatar be if he used this ability? Could he control an entire city by entering the avatar state and bloodbending everyone?
Final Thoughts On Bloodbending & Hama
It sounds terrifying, but we consider that the story leaves us with a moral from the chapter in which we are introduced to the ability. Hama, as well as all the bloodbenders shown in the series, were blinded by power and although they were all incredibly powerful. The craving consumed them. Bloodbending is very similar to how Toph created metal bending. It helped to take the series to another level.
What do you think of bloodbending, do you think it is the most powerful bending in the world of Avatar?