Anyone else get the sense that Korra will be the last Avatar?
I think I started suspecting it early on in Book 3 and now that I'm re-watching Book 2, I'm seeing more signs that point to that ending. Think about what the Avatar is: the bridge between the physical and spirit worlds and the keeper of balance in the world, especially between the four nations. Thing is, when Korra left the spirit portals open, bridging the two worlds, she rendered obsolete one of the major duties of the Avatar. Then there's the other duty. The United Republic of Nations is tasked with uniting the world with or without the Avatar and, now that the Air Nomads are taking on more responsibilities, the Avatar is needed less and less. Or so it seems. All of this leads up to Korra's depressed state at the end of Book 3. She feels that the Avatar is no longer needed.
All three villains have tried and failed to destroy the Avatar, but what if Korra separates herself from Raava of her own free will, thus ending the Avatar cycle? This idea ties a lot of ideas in the show together. Korra's inability to truly defeat every villain she's faced (physically, yes, but she hasn't answered their philosophies). The theme of being open to change and that things we think of as permanent might not be. There was an era before the Avatar, so why not an era after the Avatar?
So that's my theory, but if this actually happened, I think my thoughts would be very mixed. As a standalone series, I think it would be an interesting ending and it would be a good way to make the story more cohesive, but I have a problem with it (other than "No!!! Avatar forever!!!") in light of the larger story, including the original series.
In the Avatar Wan episodes, the story goes that people lived on separate Lion Turtles, ignorant of each other's existence and therefore hostile to each other's differences when they come in contact. One of the reasons Wan became the Avatar was to make peace between the four nations. At the end of his life, Wan thinks he has failed but Raava assures him that the Avatar will be back and they will never give up (until they achieve balance?). I get the sense that each Avatar leaves the world a little more balanced than it was and that if balance is ever truly achieved the Avatar will no longer be needed. It makes the Avatar universe feel like an allegory for the history of our world - with the conflicts resulting from our separation from each other in the past - and the idea of progress.
However, that is not at all the sense I got from the original series. I've heard these words a million times: "Long ago the four nations lived together in harmony. Then, everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked." Before the war, the world was at peace. It was, relatively speaking, balanced. The Avatar disappeared, the Fire Nation went on a rampage, and went Aang woke up, the world was severely imbalanced and Aang was shocked to hear of a war that had been raging for a hundred years because the time he lived in had been so peaceful i.e. balanced. I always got the sense that Aang had one of the most difficult tasks of any Avatar, because it was the Avatar's job to maintain balance - not steadily progress from the imbalance in Wan's time to some endpoint in the future. That is why an Avatar like Kuruk could be a "go with the flow" Avatar. The world was already pretty balanced and he didn't have any major tasks to do. Hopefully I'm making sense.
Also, remember that the White Lotus, an order that transcended the borders of the nations, presented themselves as those who still cling to the ancient ways. I always took this to mean the time before the war, or maybe earlier before the nationalism and rigid borders of the four nations during the Hundred Year War. This also doesn't fit with the idea of a world that gradually becomes more balanced.
Where sky and water meet,
Where the waves grow sweet,
Doubt not, Reepicheep,
To find all you seek,
There is the utter east.
Last edited by Reepicheep on Mon Sep 29, 2014 2:19 pm; edited 2 times in total