The Avatar Character Comparison – Sokka

Continuing our series of posts on the characters in Avatar: The Last Airbender, we’re taking a look at Sokka this week. Needless to say, there are spoilers ahead.

Sokka is the odd man out in Team Avatar for the simple reason that he has no bending abilities. That does little to distract from his character however as he is forced to bring a whole different set of abilities and skills to the series.

Background

Sokka undergoes a lot of character development throughout the series, more so than other characters. At the beginning, he is comparatively younger, more unfazed, more reckless and certainly less understanding. Witness his blatant attack on Zuko when he arrives in the Southern Water Tribe village. No doubt it was a stupid act in itself, but Sokka attempted it in full war paint!

Gradually, we see Sokka assuming the planning and strategy role within the group, something he excels at. His development as a character grows in each episode, but helpful lessons from the likes of the Kyoshi Warriors and others gradually create a character that is very well rounded. The culmination is the episode ‘Sokka’s Master’ where we see that Sokka really has matured to the point where he is a master swordsman; a far cry from his earlier exploits.

Why We Like Them

Although Sokka is the most grounded one of the group, he is also the fall guy; every show needs one, and thankfully in this role he excels. Whether it is intentional or not, Sokka is the one we have a laugh at and with. How the “mature” one of the group is able to pull this off is testament to how the writer’s approached his character and how they place him within the group.

In contrast, Zuko and Iroh are just as serious and comedy-prone and yet their attitudes make them very different characters to watch. The culmination of this is when Zuko and Sokka attempt to rescue Hakoda from prison. Sokka attempts a planned approach but it is Zuko’s seat of the pants strategy that proves successful; yet another lesson for our hero.

Besides his skills, Sokka’s essential presence within the group is as the protector of Katara. A noble role for any older brother and one that he excels in again and again over the course of the show. Sokka’s compassionate side is one that is hinted at now and again (mostly when he thinks of Yue) and it’s nice to know that that the comedic side simply balances that, not outweigh it.

What Makes Them Great Characters

Sokka is the character to look up to in the show. Yes, Aang is ultimately the stronger character overall, but Sokka is much more realistic. His lack of any bending abilities make him much more relatable to the audience and his actions and decisions make him one to admire.

There is a depth to Sokka (as there is Katara) that underlies all his actions and deeds. Although he does not openly display his emotions regarding the loss of his mother, we can still see them driving everything he does. His unwavering determination to break his father out of prison is surely the peak display of this.

Sokka is a bit more explosive than the other members of the team. While Toph is just downright forthcoming in her temper and Katara being a bit more measured, Sokka is quite explosive on occasions. The most blatant one being when the team accosted Azula on the Day of the Black Sun and she mentioned that Suki and the other Kyoshi warriors were imprisoned where Sokka’s aggressiveness got the better of him.

His various successes with the ladies should not be overlooked either.

Conclusion

Sokka is the balancing member of Team Avatar who brings the grounded opinion and skills that prove necessary for the team to succeed. Furthermore, he undergoes a remarkable transformation throughout the series that is easily the best in the whole series.

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