Northern Water Tribe
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Water Tribe money
The Northern Water Tribe is the northern division of the Water Tribe, Sister of the Southern Water Tribe. Its people are entirely contained within one city located at the North Pole, which is referred to by the same name.
The city is the only surviving city of the Water Tribe. Built inside high walls of ice, and in inhospitable tundra terrain, the city prospers in its isolation. No attack by the Fire Nation on the city during The War has ever succeeded, including the massive Siege of the North. After the fall of Ba Sing Se, the Northern Water Tribe is the only major city not under Fire Nation control.
Unlike its southern sister tribe, the people of the Northern Water Tribe are still plentiful and prosperous.
Ages ago, Waterbenders built the city as a way to unite all the various Northern Tribes in one place. The Waterbenders used the ice and water to create the various temples, villages, and canals that comprise the city. Important to the city's transportation and defense are the canals. The canals are a series of interconnected waterways that spiral through the city. Boats, powered by Waterbenders, use these waterways to transport people and things. To get into the city from the ocean, boats enter a series of water-locking chambers. Once in, Waterbenders raise the water levels, lifting the boats until the vessel finally reaches the waterways of the Northern Water Tribe. This special entrance ensures that no unwanted ships can make it into the city. Because of these special security features and the city's location, the Northern Water Tribe has been able to fend off numerous Fire Nation attacks.
Prior to the war, the Northern Water Tribe was an open port city that was accessible to any visitors. However, when the Fire Nation declared war on the Water Tribes, a thick wall of ice was erected at the mouth of the city as a means to keep the Fire Nation out of the Northern Water Tribe. Since the war began, the Northern Water Tribe has become increasingly isolated, cutting off most of its contact with the outside world and eventually losing touch with the Southern Water Tribe, leaving the battered tribe to fend on its own.
While the Northern Water Tribe did fall under attack from the Fire Nation, the attacks did not succeed as they did against the Southern Water Tribe. After a while, the attacks ceased entirely. The last time Northern warriors recovered Fire Nation uniforms was 85 years ago, and Chief Arnook referred to an impending attack as the day feared for a long time.
In the Siege of the North, the Northern Water Tribe was nearly destroyed when Admiral Zhao led a massive naval assault on the capital city in an attempt to crush the Water Tribes and to kill the Moon Spirit Tui, in an attempt to eradicate Waterbending. The tribe was saved when Avatar Aang, merged with the Ocean Spirit La, destroyed the Fire Navy fleet and when Princess Yue gave up her life to revive Tui, thus becoming Tui's successor.
In the aftermath of the Fire Nation's siege of the North Pole, select benders and healers from the Northern Tribe left for the South Pole in an effort to rebuild their ravaged sister tribe.
Government System: Tribal Chiefdom
Head of State & Government: Chief
The Northern Tribe is a patriarchal monarchy but has the aspects of a tribal group because the Chief is the Head of State. Labor division is dependent on gender: men serve as hunters, fishermen and warriors, and women serve as homemakers. In the Northern Water Tribe, if a woman wanted to learn to fight using Waterbending, she would be denied.
There is a small council that advises to the Tribal Chief, including the tribe's greatest Waterbending master, Pakku. Politics can also be personal. For example, marrying the Chief's daughter, the Tribal Princess, can be a significant step in a political career.
Layout and Description Edit
Unlike the obliterated Air Nomads and their southerly sister tribe, the Northern Water Tribe has survived a century of war with the Fire Nation, due to the defenses their icy terrain provides. Resting on the shores of the Northern Sea, behind high walls of ice and an ice gate and canal lock system passable only by the use of Waterbending, there lies a large and bustling monarchic nation-state. Ruled by Chief Arnook, the capital city features a palace, an army, and many skilled warriors, Healers, Waterbenders, and a hidden oasis which houses Tui and La, the Moon and Ocean Spirits. Flanked by icy sidewalks, the city roadways are canals, which people travel by gondola.
Located at the North Pole, the Northern Water Tribe is a huge, multi-tiered city built into the icy landscape. Looming over the city are giant ice cliffs from which it was originally built. The city rests on the shores of the Northern Sea, and behind it is an enormous frozen tundra.
Chief Temple Edit
The Chief's palace is a large structure built on top the highest tier of the capitol city and is the most recognizable landmark. In here, the Chief Arnook sits and makes decisions regarding the Tribe.
Healing Huts Edit
The Healing Huts are small classroom-like structures. In these, Yugoda teaches her young, female students how to use their healing abilities properly, with mannequins with human chi paths carved into them.
Spirit Oasis Edit
Main article: Spirit Oasis
The Spirit Oasis is a verdant and lush garden located in a cave in the Northern Water Tribe's capital city at the North Pole. Although the land outside is perpetually frozen, the Spirit Oasis itself is warm. According to DVD commentary for "Siege of the North", it is a place where the Spirit World overlaps with the mortal world. It's known to be one of the most peaceful places in the bending world.
Located on the warrior training grounds, the Water Tribe armory is where Water Tribe weapons are stored and kept in pristine condition. The armory doubles as a war planning room where orders are given to the warriors. Some Fire Nation uniforms are also kept there, captured about eighty five years prior, possibly during a previous expedition against the Northern Water Tribe.
Underground Ice Cavern Edit
These interconnecting ice caverns are located underneath the city and were naturally created by the ocean water eroding away the ice. Seals and other animals live in these ice caverns and the only way to get to them is to swim underneath the freezing water.
Frozen Tundra Edit
This massive stretch of arctic tundra covers most of the North Pole. The treacherous terrain makes it impossible for anyone to live there. Only highly skilled, arctic hunters travel on the terrain, hunting the animals that live there, and they never stay longer than a few days at a time. Heavy winter blizzards constantly pelt the tundra, and unstable ice sheets often give way under the slightest pressure. Even experienced Waterbenders and warriors think twice about venturing into this dangerous environment. During the war, the Fire Nation conducted continuing raids against the Southern Water Tribe, resulting in the depletion of their Waterbenders and leaving their tribe defenseless. The Fire Nation may have attempted to do this against the Northern Water Tribe but due to the harsh terrain surrounding the pole and high level security that the tribe has made it impossible and too life risking to do such a task.
Women become marriageable at the age of 16. Some marriages are arranged, with the bride in particular having no say in the matter. Engaged women wear "betrothal necklaces", navy blue chokers bearing blue stone pendants carved by their husband-to-be. It is forbidden by custom for female Waterbenders to learn waterbending for fighting purposes. Instead, they are trained as Healers, able to use bending to heal wounds. Whether male waterbenders have the right to learn waterbending for healing purposes or not is unknown.
While the Southern Water Tribe seems to have similar traditional roles, they are apparently much more strict in the North, as Katara, who was raised in the South, expresses surprise and anger when she is initially denied equal treatment in Waterbending training. We can thereby conclude that female waterbenders are allowed to learn waterbending for fighting purposes in the Southern Water Tribe. Kanna, Katara's grand mother, Hakoda, Katara's father and Bato, a Southern Tribe Male and a friend of Katara's father, also showed no signs of disapproval when observing Katara's Waterbending skills; a flashback shows southern female waterbenders using their bending to attack Fire Nation soldiers.
The rules against women could have possibly been changed after Pakku battled Katara, learned that Kanna was her grandmother when he taught her, and when she assisted in the battle against the Fire Nation.
Natural Resources and Foods Edit
Inhabiting frozen poles near the seas, the Water Tribes inherently are dependent on the oceans for a majority of their natural resources and well as the bounty of the frozen tundra. Sea prunes are a favorite, while giant sea crabs are considered a delicious delicacy to those in the Northern Sea. Squid and seaweed can be used to make a wide variety of dishes, including soup, seasoning, and even bread and cookies.
Skins from seals are used to create tents, while pelts from polar bears and other furry animals are used as clothing and to cover barren surfaces. Naturally, hunters and fishermen of the Water Tribes are some of the best in the world in their field.
One of the most prevalent natural resources of the Northern Water Tribe is ice. Ice is used as the main building material used to make buildings, walls, dikes, locks, and other structures, as well as a medium of bending.
Notable Figures Edit
Real World Connections Edit
- The water level gate in the front of the city works just like the locks on the Panama Canal in Panama.
- The canal system in the city that provides transportation is similar to that of many canal cities like Venice, Amsterdam, and Birmingham. The design of the bridges connecting the two sides of each canal resemble that of Venice, and the architecture of most of the city is strikingly European.
- The city's tiered design resembles that of Minas Tirith in the movie Lord of the Rings: Return of the King