In Avatar: The Last Airbender because of the possibility of war with the Fire Nation Aang was told about his status as the Avatar at the age of 12, 4 years earlier than the traditional age of 16 by revealing the connection between his choice of the 4 toys he selected as a child. Obviously this means at Age 16 an Avatar begin their formal training to master the other 3 elements.

In Avatar: The Legend of Korra the Order of the White Lotus discovered the next Avatar after the death of Aang in the Southern Water Tribe but unlike Aang the discovery wasn't made by the selection of 4 toys, rather Korra, being a pot-belly a 4 Year old water bender demonstrating not only Water Bending but Earth and Fire Bending.

Sure she may haven't mastered Water, Earth or Fire bending but Aang was only Air Bending up until he was 12 (+100 years of him being frozen) until he began to travel with Katara and Sokka. Does this make Korra a prodigy as an Avatar being able to bend other elements at 4 years old?

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    @Thunderforge yeh. i omitted Avatar: from both series but i'll add it back in to avoid confusing the first series with the movie-that-shall-not-be-named
    – Memor-X
    Apr 4, 2017 at 4:39

1 Answer 1


Depends on how you measure being a prodigy

There are four Avatars that viewers have seen learn the four elements: Wan, Roku, Aang, and Korra. Unfortunately, this gives us a small sample size.

Wan was the first Avatar and didn't become so until later in life. Given that he's the only one who wasn't the Avatar from birth, I don't think it's really fair to compare him to the other Avatars.

As for the remaining Avatars:

  • Roku
    • Knew he was the Avatar at age 16
    • Mastered the elements several years later
  • Aang
    • Knew he was the Avatar at age 12
    • Mastered the elements in about a year (not counting his hundred years in ice)
  • Korra
    • Knew she was the Avatar at age 4
    • Mastered the elements when she was 17

Korra knew that she was the Avatar at the earliest age of these three because she could bend three out of four elements. On the contrary, Aang and Roku were completely unable to bend the other elements when they were told they were the Avatar.

However, Korra also spent far more time training than either Aang or Roku, and she was completely unable to do any sort of Airbending during that time. So it took much longer for her to get to the same end point as the previous two Avatars.

So is Kora a prodigy? I think I'd be more likely to call her an "early bloomer" and Aang the prodigy for mastering all the elements so quickly (and discovering a previously unknown type of bending: energybending).

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    There's also an important consideration to be made in the culture. Aang, and all previous avatars, grew up in a society of separate bending nations. A four year old would only be exposed to their own bending. However, as Aang united the nations, it's highly likely that young Korra was introduced to (or at least witnessed) other types of bending, thus prompting her to try it (just like how children always try to play act whatever they see that impresses them), thus making it more likely for her to stumble upon additional bending abilities.
    – Flater
    Aug 21, 2018 at 8:52
  • Something else to consider: in Rise of Kyoshi it's revealed that the Fire Nation has a special test for bending ability administered to newborns (to avoid accidental village burning). If every Avatar were naturally as capable with fire at birth as fire benders, there would likely be no need for each nation to have convoluted "identify the avatar" rituals. You'd just look for the first Earth/Water Tribe/Air Nomad village in flames after a baby was born.
    – DukeSilver
    Aug 9, 2022 at 0:24

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