(originally posted March 27th 2015)
(WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for The Legend of Korra and Avatar: The Last Airbender)
Let’s talk about that Legend of Korra ending, shall we? Not the final episode, just the ending. I mean, that episode was pretty frigging great for a number of reasons but after it aired, a lot of people’s focus was on that last scene. If you’ve seen the show, then you know what I’m talking about. If you don’t, then go watch all four seasons, then come back and continue reading.
That final shot of Korra and Asami walking into the newly created spirit portal, holding hands and looking into each other’s eyes left me… quite confused. I’m not kidding – I did not know what was going on. But then the credits started rolling and I quickly forgot about it. Legend of Korra was officially over and so I got all contemplative, as you do when a show ends. I then took to the Internet and… wow.
I was met with nothing but cheers and cries of joy; people everywhere were screaming with delight at the ending. I know people get emotional but I wasn’t expecting this kind of reaction. That was until I saw why people were so happy.
“I can’t believe Korra and Asami got together!”
“Did they?” I mused, “I don’t think they did. I mean, all they did was express how much they cared about each other and Asami saying how she couldn’t lose both her father and Korra in the same day and it was just the two of them holding hands and staring into each other with beautiful music playing in the background, with the whole scene being oddly reminiscent of how The Last Airbender ended with Aang and Katara kissing – OH MY GOD THEY DID HOOK UP!”
I found myself looking at those last scenes over and over again. I couldn’t get my head round it. Surely, we were looking too deep into it. We were just trying to find something that wasn’t there. There wasn’t any romantic subtext, right? But, how could we not? All the signs were there! It was subtle, yeah, but not that subtle.
I spent the next few days finding myself occasionally grinning like an idiot just at the mere thought of that ending. I found myself looking up fanart of Korra and Asami together; just pictures of the two hugging or holding hands kind of made me internally squeal. But there was still a part of me that was worried that we were all getting hyped over nothing and it was just a massive misinterpretation. So imagine my joy when Bryan Konietzko, co-creator of the Avatar series, outright said in his own blog post that Korrasami was canon.
If it wasn’t obvious by now, I love Korrasami, but that wasn’t always the case. Let me take you back to when Book 3 had just come out. Before I had seen the first episode, I saw a couple of comments about KorraXAsami and how the two were now girlfriends and I just rolled my eyes and pretended to ignore it. I had seen enough stupid fan pairings in other fan-bases to the point where I had got used to it. I still thought people were being silly; after all, there was no evidence that the two were even gay and this was obviously just a result of the two having both dated and broken up with Mako. Plus, LoK is still a kids cartoon on Nickelodeon. It wasn’t going to let a bisexual couple appear on one of its shows.
I then actually watched the episode and there is one scene where Korra and Asami are just driving around and chatting. “Aw, this is nice” I thought. And it struck me. As I looked at them, I realised that they could make a good couple. I can’t explain what happened but something must have clicked in my brain because, before I knew it, I was sort of supporting the Korrasami ship. I wasn’t as outspoken about it since it was never gonna happen but suddenly every subsequent scene the two had, I saw in a different light. Asami protecting Korra while she’s in the spirit world, Korra writing to only Asami while going through her rehabilitation; Asami commenting on how much she likes Korra’s new hair, causing Korra to blush made me scream “THEY KNOW! The creators know and they’ve thrown us a bone cause even they know it’s not gonna happen!”
I should note that I was no stranger to those feelings of joy at seeing a pair of characters get together. I’ve watched shows and played games where there would be two characters that I was mentally screaming at to kiss and profess their love, and whenever they did, I was super happy. Hell, that happened with The Last Airbender. I wanted Aang and Katara to get together so badly and when they did, I was very happy and cheered with delight. But I didn’t realise how much of an impact Korrasami had on me until I started seeing the impact it had on other people.
It sounds weird when I think about it but I wasn’t aware of what Korra and Asami’s relationship meant. This was two women, two people of the same gender, forming a romantic relationship on a show aimed at kids. This was a big deal. Most media aimed at younger audiences would never even consider having something like this unless it was between a man and a woman, because of some weird logic that the so-called ‘moral guardians’ have. This was another step forward in helping the gay/bisexual community get some actual representation.
This train of thought then led me to how I would’ve reacted had people been pushing Korrasami about 10 years ago. I probably would’ve just flat out ignored it and when the ending happened, I’d be one of the people saying that they’re being ridiculous and are forcing homosexuality onto these two clearly not gay characters.
That’s how I reacted whenever I saw gay or bi ships in other communities. I used to think it was kind of sick trying to alter a character’s sexuality just to appease their own weird desires, especially in the cases of stuff that was orientated towards children. But now, I think I know why there are people who do this.
They’re not trying to ruin things or make people uncomfortable or being perverted; they just want someone they can relate to. They want representation. They’ve spent their lives seeing heterosexual characters and heterosexual relationships on their screens – what is that telling them? That they’re wrong? They’re the odd one out?
I know it sounds overdramatic but I really think Korrasami had a huge effect on me. Ever since then, I’ve actually found myself more supportive of fictional gay/bi relationships. I’ve found myself seeing the subtext that other people see and I kind of want to see more of them.
There are still some people that seem to think that Korrasami isn’t real (you know, despite one of the creators outright saying they planned it from the start) but there are some that deny it because there wasn’t enough build-up to it. And, in a way, they’re right. The best relationships in media require a lot of development and some focus needs to be spent on them. Given Korrasami didn’t properly start till Book 3; it certainly could’ve done with more support. Compare it to Aang and Katara’s relationship; a lot more was put into that.
But I still think that Korrasami had enough support in order to not only put the relationship across but also make it seem believable. I’d have loved it if we actually heard them say those three words to each other or even kiss but given with what they had to work with, it was still great and I love everything about it. It was a necessary step in the right direction and, hopefully, it’ll lead to more stuff like it elsewhere.