Avatar: Did Kanna Know Katara Would Kick Pakku’s Keister?

Like any great work of fiction, Avatar: The Last Airbender only gets better the more you consider its story from every available point of view. Looking at the story through the eyes of any character, no matter how big or small, can have startling revelations, and there's one sage woman whose perspective is too easy to forget.

Introduced at the start of the series as Gran Gran, Kanna knew precisely where Katara's journey would take her -- the Northern Water Tribe. The only reason she wouldn't tell Katara about Master Pakku is if she had plans of her own set in motion.

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At the start of the series, Kanna is introduced as the grandmother to Katara and Sokka, initially suspicious of Avatar Aang when he first awakens from the iceberg but hopeful once his status as the Avatar is revealed. Fueled by that hope, she wishes Sokka and Katara well on their journey north as they set out to train Aang in the bending styles of all four elements -- including finding a waterbending master to help hone Katara's skills. From what we learn later on, Kanna should know exactly what master Katara would find in the north.

When the Gaang reaches the North Pole, they learn there are sexist customs that forbid women from learning waterbending aside from the art of healing. Katara is enraged and challenges Pakku -- the old master enforcing the tradition -- to a duel. While Katara fights capably, she ultimately loses, but in the scuffle that ensued, Pakku discovered a familiar betrothal necklace around Katara's neck. It was the same one he gave Kanna decades ago before she left the Northern Water Tribe in protest for their custom of arranged marriages.

The crisis shook Pakku out of his stubborn obedience to such outdated practices, and with his perspective refreshed, he set out southward to reunite with Kanna. By the end of the original series, he reports that his reunion was successful and by the comics they even get married, meaning the two live happily ever after. And if you think about it, that may be just how Kanna planned it.

Kanna would have known that Katara would meet Pakku if she headed northward and that her old flame would recognize the betrothal necklace. Though she never told Katara of the necklace's history, she knew her granddaughter cherished it as a family heirloom and similarly knew Katara's stubborn individualism would clash with Pakku's. From where she sat, the dominos were all perfectly set in place. Through Kanna's eyes, the audience suddenly sees how a minor character who appears in just a handful of episodes could be a mastermind behind significant events in the series all along.

7 Sokka Katara Kanna and Pakku from Avatar

Iroh may get all the credit for his sage guidance of Zuko's redemption, and Azula may take the cake for sheer cleverness and cunning throughout the series. But when you consider the first season from Kanna's perspective, there may be a whole new contender for wisdom and intelligence who combines both qualities into an equally effective union. She may not be able to bend the elements, but it turns out Gran Gran was a people-bender all along.