In the Avatar Universe, several very important organizations take part in world politics, such as the Dai Li agents. But there was one that stood out above the rest, because for centuries it was composed of wise masters from all over the world: The White Lotus. However, softer times changed things, and new organizations with different paradigms like The Red Lotus emerged.
The White Lotus impressed all the fans, after more than 100 years of inactivity. They stepped up to the plate, and tipped the scales in the Avatar’s favor in the final battle releasing Ba Sing Se. For that reason, in The Legend of Korra, The White Lotus surprised everyone again when they had almost no influence on the Avatar’s numerous battles, and seemed to be a shadow of their former glory, so how did they end up like that? Did everyone agree with the path The White Lotus took? What is the Red Lotus?
What is The White Lotus?
The Order of the White Lotus for centuries went unnoticed and only acted when the avatar in turn needed it. The best and wisest masters in the world composed the order. So its activities and importance were beyond borders and allegiances to the Four Nations. Its original mission was to help the avatar bring balance to the world. It functioned when necessary as a small private army. Their most important function was to find, protect and even train each new avatar. Members identified to each other with a white lotus tile from the popular board game called Pai Sho.
They revealed themselves to the world at the end of the 100 Years War. A group with the most notable members of the White Lotus composed by: Iroh, Jeong Jeong, Pakku, Piandao, and King Bumi attacked a large detachment of the Fire Nation army without reinforcements. With a great show of power, they freed Ba Sing Se, the capital of the Earth Kingdom. While the Avatar team took on Azula and Ozai.
Thanks to their victory, the White Lotus established themselves as a recognized force for good. Considered to have an eye to the future. Unfortunately, the change in the White Lotus’ leadership did not benefit them after Iroh ascended to the Spirit’s World.
White Lotus in Korra’s Times (Red and White Lotus)
Decades after the last battle of the 100 Years’ War, The White Lotus became a publicly known organization. They dedicated to serve the avatar and his family, as a sort of personal escort.
When Aang passed away, it was them who took it upon themselves to search for the next incarnation of the avatar. When they found Korra. They were surprised by the great power she demonstrated at a young age. They took it upon themselves to care for her, guide her and train her.
Unfortunately, the new generation of The White Lotus is considerably weaker. Most of the members are young and inexperienced and the older ones have roles closer to being more advisors than warriors.
The young members of the White Lotus seem unable to cope with the threats of the modern world and the others are too old for active service.
Amon and the Equalists defeated them with terrible ease, when they attacked the Air Temple island. Besides, they are no match for the Red Lotus.
We believe that for a time, Katara, Zuko, and Toph were part of the White Lotus. During that time they met promising young masters, but with their withdrawal, these boys were exposed to the bad influence of the Red Lotus.
What is the Red Lotus?
Originally, The Red Lotus in Avatar comes from the White Lotus. Xai Bau , a member of the White Lotus, founded the organization. Since the society changed its direction after the events from ATLA. Xai Bau felt disgusted for being just a mere bodyguard for the Avatar. Many members shared this feeling and even Iroh The Grand Lotus realized about this and tried to reconcile. However, tensions inside the order increased until this faction deserted.
The Red Lotus’ main goal was to bring freedom to the world by dismantling world governments. They intended to unify the world. They wanted to reconnect the spirit world and the human world by using the Avatar to open the spirit portals. The White Lotus was aware of this. They understood their point of view, but didn’t realize The Red Lotus would become an extremist, terrorist group.
The creation of this different Lotus group may have been one of the reasons why The White Lotus deteriorated. The new organization was more attractive to more powerful young people. It was similar to its counterpart in previous years, it was kept underground. We know that Zaheer, Ghazan, and Ming-Hua once had some relationship with the White Lotus. But since they did not have the same ideas, they parted ways for good.
The Red Lotus tried to accomplish its plan trying to kidnap the Avatar twice. First, when Korra was still a baby. Zaheer, Ghazan, P’Li, and Ming-Hua tried to kidnap her. They wanted to indoctrinate her with their organization’s ideology to reverse Avatar Wan’s actions from the past. Avatar Wan did not only separate Raava and Vaatu, the spirits of light and darkness. In addition, he also divided the spiritual and physical worlds. To the eyes of The Red Lotus, those actions had brought imbalance to the world.
Kidnap The Avatar (The Red and White Lotus)
Toranq, Tenzin, Sokka, Zuko frustrated their first attempt to kidnap Korra. So they incarcerated the members aforementioned in maximum security prisons until the Harmonic Convergence in the year 171 AG.
The main members of the Red Lotus escaped and tried to kidnap Korra again, with a slight difference. Since Korra was a grown-up by that moment their plan to implant their ideology on her was no longer viable. They decided to kidnap her to induce Korra into the Avatar State to assassinate her, and put an end to the avatar cycle. While The Red Lotus tried to accomplish its main goal. They didn’t lose time causing instability everywhere they went to the point they suffocated to death the Earth Queen.
Besides, Zaheer, Ghazan, P’Li, and Ming-Hua we could see other members from The Red Lotus during TLOK like Aiwei and Unalaq. However, since The Red Lotus is a secret organization we don’t know how many members there are hidden or if they are going to counter-attack again in the future.
As we could realize given this information both organizations had the same origin. However, The Red Lotus diverted from the righteous path when they decided to start terrorizing to accomplish their plans. Anyone could agree with either organization but as we know the end doesn’t justify the means.