i vowed to reblog this everytime i see it.
unfollow me all you want. i regret abso-fucking-lutely nothing.
Can we just talk about their expressions for a moment?
Tarrlok has been the fail child, the Zuko. Nothing he does is good enough. I can even imagine Yakone wondering aloud why he needs a second son when Noatak does everything perfectly. All Tarrlok has is his mother (who isn’t present during most of this and probably doesn’t know) and Noatak. Much like the Mako/Bolin brother dynamic, Noatak overshadows Tarrlok, but he also protects him, partly by bearing the brunt of their father’s expectations. Without Noatak, Tarrlok doesn’t yet know that Yakone will give up his quest for revenge. All of the pressure will be on him, and his parents will be too busy grieving for Noatak with sadness and probably anger on Yakone’s part. And the last thing his brother says to him is that he’s weak. His brother, his friend, going to his death.
And Noatak, oh man. You can see the regret, the sadness and horror. ALL he’s ever been was a prodigy for his father. Yes, that makes him brilliant, but I’m sensing severe identity issues. He’s strong and wants to be independent, wants to be himself and not a tool of his father’s, but it’s what has made him great, unique. Without it, he’s nothing in his own eyes, which is maybe why later he strove to create a cult of personality amongst the Equalists, where people like the Lieutenant admire him so deeply. He hates bloodbending and tries to stop the pain by withdrawing, but that only makes him use it more because he realizes in his detachment that that’s what has made him stand out: not being a good brother; not being kind or gentle. Being a prodigy bloodbender. Even in the end, that’s what made him win against the Avatar. Technically, he did defeat her. It was an accomplishment, but it was also a failure because his bending is still a crutch, even thoughhe hates it and wants to escape his father’s influence.
And Tarrlok is the only person who both really loves him in an innocent way without conditions and knows about what they’ve been forced to do. However, there’s that frustration of having to carry Tarrlok. Tarrlok NEVER fights back or defends himself against their father. Whenever Yakone berates him, it’s Noatak who comes to his rescue. And Noatak’s sick of it, but at the same time he’s sacrificing one of the truest relationships he’s ever had. He’s leaving his brother to the figurative wolves.
And for about twenty-five years, the last thing Noatak remembered his brother ever saying to him was “DON’T LEAVE, PLEASE.”