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52nd Earth King

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The 52nd Earth King, born Kuei, was the King of Ba Sing Se and ruler of the Earth Kingdom. For most of his reign he was nothing more than a figurehead, with true power residing with the city's Grand Secretariat, Long Feng. Although he briefly regained power following the involvement of Avatar Aang, he was forced to flee Ba Sing Se after a coup orchestrated by the Dai Li and Princess Azula.

HistoryEdit

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The Earth King on his throne

Born Kuei, the Earth King's father died when he was four. Although he did ascend to the throne, because of the Earth King's youth, Long Feng was appointed regent and easily assumed control over Ba Sing Se. As such, for much of his reign the Earth King was a mere puppet of Long Feng, brainwashed and simple. The King had no knowledge of the War or anything beyond the confines of his mighty palace, which was located at the center of Ba Sing Se. Only the Avatar would eventually reveal to the Earth King all the lies that he had been fed by Long Feng.

With a love of animals, the Earth King collected an amazing menagerie of beasts from all over the world, brought to him by the many expeditions of the University of Ba Sing Se. The Earth King's most loyal pet is Bosco, a bear, whom he keeps with him most of the time (and seems to be his only real companion). It is unknown whether the Earth King is an Earthbender, but because of his lack of fighting during the coup, it can be assumed that the royal family is not of Bending capability as many other monarchical titles in the Avatar world are (such as Fire Lord).

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Princess Azula threatens to kill the Earth King

The Avatar and his allies, Katara and Sokka of the Southern Water Tribe, and Toph Bei Fong, launched an attack on the Earth King's palace in "The Earth King", battling past the Dai Li and the Earth King's royal guards. After getting to the King's throne room, the foursome told the King about the War and Long Feng's treachery. At first, the King did not believe them, but after the Avatar showed the King Appa's bite on Long Feng's leg, the King agreed to go with Aang and co, to see if their statements were true.

The four first took the King to Lake Laogai where the Dai Li secret headquarters used to have been. However, the Dai Li had already destroyed their base, and the Earth King remained skeptical of the childrens' efforts, encouraged by Long Feng. Aang then took the Earth King to the Outer Wall, showing him The Drill, a massive Fire Nation war machine. The Earth King then ordered that the Dai Li arrest Long Feng. They obeyed, and Long Feng was taken prisoner from crimes against the Earth Kingdom.

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After Ba Sing Se is conquered, Kuei and Bosco travel the world

Later, in "The Guru", the Earth King stays in Ba Sing Se with Katara while Aang, Sokka, and Toph depart to the East. During a Council of Five war meeting on the invasion of the Fire Nation on the Day of Black Sun, while the Earth King is out of the throne room, Katara rushes in to warn the Kyoshi Warriors that Prince Zuko is in Ba Sing Se, and learns that the "Warriors" are none other than Azula, Ty Lee, and Mai, the Fire Nation princess and her consorts. Ty Lee knocks out Katara, and she is taken to the catacombs of Old Ba Sing Se

When Sokka and Toph return to warn the Earth King, Azula and her consorts are revealed when Ty Lee starts flirting with Sokka, who admits he is into Suki, which leads Ty Lee to breaking their cover by admiting she doesn't know who that is. While she fights Sokka and Mai fights, Azula sneaks up behind the Earth King and threatens to kill him with blue fire, and they too are captured. However, Toph uses Metalbending to get them out of the Dai Li prison while Aang and Iroh rescue Katara and Zuko in the crystal catacombs. Toph and Sokka prepare to evacuate the city with the Earth King, as the Dai Li are launching a coup, but the Earth King refuses to leave without Bosco. Toph and Sokka face Ty Lee and Mai in a battle and win, and take Bosko. The Earth King, his pet, and the two children flee Ba Sing Se, but not before picking up an injured Katara and Aang, who fought against Azula, the Dai Li, and Zuko (who turned to Azula's side in the end). As the quintet leave Ba Sing Se, the Earth King remarks, sadly, "The Earth Kingdom...has fallen."

The Earth King is currently traveling around the world in exile with his bear, Bosco. They removed their royal robes to be replaced with poorer looking garments.

When Toph makes a sand miniature of Ba Sing Se in "Sozin's Comet, Part 1: The Phoenix King", a very detailed and identifiable version of him and Bosco can be seen. While his fate is unknown, it is likely that that he returned to his rightful place as the Earth King when Ba Sing Se was liberated by the Order of the White Lotus and Ozai was defeated by Aang.

PersonalityEdit

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Kuei described riding on Appa both thrilling, and terrifying

The experience of coming to power young, as well as spending most of his life isolated from the outside world with Long Feng encouraging him to ignore more and more of his royal duties, had a oblivious effect on Kuei. For much of his life his closest friend was his pet bear, and thus he is very self-conscious around people, made only worse by his people's reverence of him. While a young adult, Kuei is naive and child-like, never being confronted with the responsibilities that his position require and unaware of the complicities of political intrigue. Having been nurtured for much of his life, he has difficulty taking charge after arresting Long Feng, putting his faith in the Council of Five and never suspects the Dai Li of betraying him. This tendency to trust proves to be his undoing when he foolishly lets the "Kyoshi Warriors" (Azula in disguise) pass security and tells them of the planned invasion, a plan which relied on absolute secrecy to succeed.

Kuei recently began taking charge of his position after witnessing first-hand the underlying conspiracy within his government and the reality of the War that he reached the city walls. He was overthrown shortly afterwards and has since been traveling in exile. However, since the king has now had experience with the realities of war and has seen much of the war-torn Earth Kingdom for himself since his overthrow, it is likely that he will use the lessons he learned to become a more effective ruler upon returning to the throne.

Name Edit

The Earth King's given name may be a transliteration variant of the word 魁 (kuí), meaning "chief" - it may also be a variant of 傀 (kuǐ), meaning "puppet".

TriviaEdit

  • The Earth King's clothes are similar to the costume worn by the Manchurian emperors of China's Qing dynasty.
  • The relationship between the Earth King and Long Feng strongly resembles Japan prior to the Meiji Restoration (1867), where the Emperor was little more than a symbol, and real power lay with the Shōgun, or chief general.
  • It is also interesting to note the similarities between Long Feng's relationship with Earth King Kuei as compared to that of Mussolini and Emmanuel the III of Italy. Emmanuel the III reigned as a puppet leader throughout most of the time of Mussolini's Fascist regime in Italy, until King Emmanuel III deposed Mussolini and had him arrested, much like Kuei did to Long Feng.
  • Though it might be a coincidence, stylistically he seems to resemble Puyi, the last Emperor of China. The Earth King also wears spectacles, much like Puyi.

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