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Bolin
Avatar: The Last Airbender/The Legend of Korra character
[[File:Bolin (The Legend of Korra)|250px]]
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[[Bolin (The Legend of Korra)|250px]]
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Bolin, voiced by P.J. Byrne, is a major character in Nickelodeon's animated television series The Legend of Korra, which aired from 2012 to 2014. The character and the series, a sequel to Avatar: The Last Airbender, were created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko. Bolin is able to manipulate the classical element of earth, which is known as earthbending. It is revealed in the third season that he is also able to manipulate lava, known as lava bending.

Character overview

Bolin (愽林, in in-universe orthography) is an earthbender from a multicultural family who grew up on the streets of Republic City as an orphan with his older brother, Mako. As an "earthbender", Bolin has the ability to move and shape earth at will. As a friend of Avatar Korra, the character often plays the role of comic relief within The Legend of Korra, taking over Sokka's role in The Last Airbender. Bolin is characterized as being somewhat dimwitted, but having a "heart of gold." His enthusiastic personality led him to becoming an actor. Furthermore, much like Sokka, Bolin has had relationships with various young female characters within the show.[1][2]

Creation and conception

File:P. J. Byrne by Gage Skidmore.jpg

According to Bryan Konietzko, Bolin's character was inspired by the original concept of Toph Beifong, who was going to be a male character Konietzko described as "kind of a big, not sharpest tool in the shed." When Toph's character was decided to be a smaller girl, the creators still had many ideas for the male earthbender, which they implemented into Bolin.[3] Voice actor P.J. Byrne related to the character as he explained, "I’m a people person, I’m a peoplely people, and I think that’s what my character is."[4]

Bolin along with his brother Mako were designed by Ryu Ki-Hyun.[5] The character went through a series of design changes in its development. Joaquim Dos Santos originally wanted both characters to have strong noses, however the idea was nixed. It was decided that as the younger brother, Bolin's character would have a somewhat simplistic and naive view of the world, while Mako's character as the older brother and provider for the two, would be more cynical and serious in nature.[6]

Bolin and Mako live in Republic City a “modern metropolis” in the United Republic. According to the creators, the United Republic was founded by Aang and Zuko after the Hundred Year War as a place where benders and non-Benders from all four Kingdoms could live in harmony. Mako and Bolin were created in part to highlight the radical changes that had occurred in the seventy years since the end of the war, specifically the ethnic diversity and blending of cultures of the various nations in the United Republic. The two are the sons of an Earth Kingdom father and a Fire Nation mother. Because of the heritages of their parents, Bolin is an earthbender and Mako is a firebender.[5]

Appearances

In Season One, Bolin was initially infatuated with Korra. He befriended her showing her pro-bending tricks.[7] When the team needed to come up with thirty thousand yuans to enter the pro-bending Championship, Bolin accepted Shady Shin's offer to work for the local criminal underworld. He along with four triad members was kidnapped and taken before Amon, leader of the Equalists, a revolutionary movement dedicated to removing bending from all benders. Bolin was rescued by Mako and Korra.[8] Bolin would take Korra on a date, although his feelings were unrequited. Later Amon and his Equalists destroyed the pro-bending arena, leaving Bolin and Mako homeless.[9] Asami offered them a place to stay. However after Hiroshi Sato was revealed as an Equalist, the brothers and Asami moved to Air Temple Island with Korra.[10] After Bolin and his brother were arrested for allegedly interfering with police activities, Lin Beifong freed the two.,[11] who informed them that Korra was kidnapped. After finding Korra, Amon launched a large-scale attack on the city. "Team Avatar" (Korra, Mako, Bolin and Asami) was forced to retreat into the underground tunnel system of the city, where they would await the arrival of reinforcements.[12] After the reinforcements were overwhelmed by the Equalists biplanes, the team split up, and Bolin accompanied Asami to an Equalist airfield in order to stop the planes from flying.[13] They would eventually destroy the airfield capturing Hiroshi Sato in the process.[14]


In Season Two, after the Anti-bending Revolution, Bolin accompanied Team Avatar to the Southern Water Tribe. He became romantically involved with Eska, a macabrely domineering princess from the Northern Water Tribe, who was visiting her southern counterparts.[1] Bolin soon found the relationship borderline abusive and intended to break up with the princess. However, when he tried to do so, Eska engaged herself to him. Bolin secretly left the Southern Water Tribe for Republic City, avoiding an angered and deranged Eska in the process.[15][16][17] Later, Bolin was cast to play Nuktuk, the male lead in the businessman Varrick's film The Adventures of Nuktuk: Hero of the South.[18] The movie was a success and Bolin enjoyed fame and fortune. On the night of the final screening of the film, Bolin thwarted a kidnapping of President Raiko. Despite being outnumbered by the would-be kidnappers, Bolin overpowered them. He forced one of them to reveal who his employer was, thus exposing Varrick's duplicity.[19] Later Bolin rejoined Team Avatar at the South Pole.[20] At the end of Season 2, Bolin assisted in the efforts to keep a multitude of evil spirits away from Korra's meditating body in the Tree of Time while the Avatar defeated the Dark Avatar. Bolin had an unlikely ally in this effort in Eska and at one point admitted his love for the princess, who in turn kissed him. Before they were completely overrun by the evil spirits Korra's returning spirit nullified the threat. After the crisis ended, Bolin suggested to Eska that she move with him at Republic City. However, Eska declined, confessing that she was only caught up in the moment when she kissed him. She told Bolin that he would have a special place "in the organ that pumps [her] blood".[21][22]


In Season Three, Bolin would accompany Team Avatar as well as Tenzin and Bumi, in their quest to find new airbenders in the Earth Kingdom to help recreate the Air Nation. Initially they enjoyed limited success.[23] However at the Earth Kingdom capital of Ba Sing Se, the group discovered that a number of airbenders were imprisoned by the Earth Queen. While in the capital Mako and Bolin reunited with their extended family, who resided in the city.[24] The group would successfully liberate the captive airbenders who all agreed to join the Air Nation.[25] Team Avatar traveled to the Earth Kingdom city of Zaofu to recruit one more known airbender, Lin Beifong's niece Opal. When the Bolin met Opal, the two almost immediately fell in love, beginning a romantic relationship. Opal agreed to join the Air Nation, and departed Zaofu to join the nascent Air Nation at the Northern Air Temple.[25] Later Bolin and Mako would find themselves locked in the first of a series of battles with Zaheer's Red Lotus allies Ming-Hua and Ghazan. The earthbender was routed by Ghazan and the brothers were captured. The brothers were transported to Ba Sing Se, where there was a bounty on the two for aiding the airbenders’ escape,[26] and incarcerated. After Zaheer murdered the Earth Queen, ushering a period of anarchy in the capital, Zaheer allowed every prisoner to escape except Bolin and Mako. Zaheer informed the two that they would be freed, but only after they agreed to relay a message to Korra.[27] The two commandeered an airship and subsequently rescued their extended their extended family from their burning house. They reunited with Korra and Asami where Mako relayed Zaheer’s message to Korra: Zaheer and other members of the Red Lotus planned to travel to the Northern Air Temple to eliminate the Air Nation unless Korra surrendered to him.[28] The Avatar agreed to surrender to the Red Lotus in exchange for the Air Nation, who were being held captive by the Red Lotus. When it became apparent that the Red Lotus double-crossed the group; Bolin and Mako attempted to battle Ghazan and Ming-Hua, but Ghazan utilized his lavabending to trap the brothers. Facing certain death in the collapsing temple which was being consumed by lava, Bolin miraculously discovered that he, like Ghazan, could lavabend. Coupled with the timely appearance of Kai on his baby bison, Lefty, the brothers were able to escape the doomed Northern Air Temple.[29] Later the brothers would be locked in yet another battle with Ming-Hua and Ghazan, with Bolin once again battling Ghazan, this time in a cave. With Bolin utilizing his newly found lavabending abilities, the two were much more evenly matched in this duel. However when Ghazan began to gain the upper hand Mako, having dispatched Ming-Hua, joined the fray. When it became apparent that Ghazan was no match for the two, the lavabender collapsed the entire cave on the three. Ghazan died in the process while the brothers safely escaped.[30]

Mako & Bolin's family Portrait

Mako & Bolin's Family Portrait. Young Bolin is seated, lower left


During the fourth season, the character of Bolin found himself working to re-unite the broken apart Earth Kingdom under Kuvira, who would become the season's villain. During this season, he was stuck between being loyal to his boss or to his friends, where he believed that Kuvira was doing the right thing despite his friends trying to convince him otherwise.[31] Later in the season, the character realized that Kuvira was going too far and escaped her control.[32] By helping saving the family of his girlfriend Opal, Bolin regained her trust.[33] After returning to Republic City, Bolin along with Lin, Suyin, and Zhu Li, interrupted a conference of President Raiko's, who was meeting with Korra, Prince Wu, Tenzin and Mako. Zhu Li informed everyone that Kuvira planned to attack Republic City in two weeks. The President ordered the evacuation of Republic City while Bolin, along with the rest of team Avatar, decided to launch a preemptive strike against Kuvira in an attempt to destroy the dictator's superweapon. However their mission was unsuccessful, discovering the army was only hours away from Republic city, a week earlier than expected, They also were surprised that Kuvira mounted her superweapon on a 25-story tall robot, which she controlled through her metalbending. The team briefed their allies on Kuvira's progress.[34] After Kuvira's army arrived in Republic City, Bolin took part in a plan to stop the large robot: the benders would relentlessly attack the robot to distract Kuvira while two hummingbird mecha suits would cut a circular hole in the machine without being crushed. A team would then enter the suit through the hole and ultimately destroy the massive machine from its inside. The plan was generally successful as he managed to enter inside the hole with Suyin, Lin, Mako, and Korra.[35] In the process Bolin saved Mako from certain death, carrying his brother to safety after he found him unconscious in the engine room of the crumbling machine. In the series' end, Bolin would preside over Varrick (who he befriended in Season Four) and Zhu Li's wedding at Air Temple Island.[36]

Outside of The Legend of Korra

Together with his brother Mako, Bolin starred in "Republic City Hustle", the first of three character-focused shorts Nickelodeon released in advance of the September premiere of the second season. In this short, a younger Mako and Bolin are shown living on the street, where they "enter the crime-ridden underworld of Republic City."[37]

Reception

Bolin was generally well-received by press and fans alike. The character's backstory was commended, with the three part prequel to the series, "Republic City Hustle" praised for sensitively depicting Bolin and his brother's Mako difficult childhood.[38] The depiction of the strong relationship between Mako and Bolin in the series also drew praise with the scene where Mako gives his grandmother his red scarf described as "an unbelievably powerful moment shared by [Mako], Bolin, and their family".[39] Tor.com editor Moddicai Knode praised Bolin's role in the episode "Operation Beifong", seeing it as the start of his character arc. According to Knode, here Bolin finally became as good as a character as Sokka was in the original series. Knode states that it was clear from the start that Bolin was designed to be a similar character to that of Sokka, but he states that "you can’t just provide a bit of comedic relief and call yourself the Sokka of the group." Knode claims that to be "the Sokka of the group," Bolin needed enough character growth, to be "the man with the plan" and, optionally, be the character with the most romantic development on the show. Knode praises how the character of Bolin makes bold, risky decisions while acknowledging when he makes a mistake, and that despite not being the "sharpest pencil in the box," he makes up for this by teamwork and "stepping up to the plate."[40]

Matt Patches of ScreenCrush compared Bolin and Varrick's escape in the season four episode "Reunion" to the 2008 film Defiance, where the characters are "blasting their way through [enemies] as they survived in the woods." Patches enjoyed the comedy in the dialogue between Bolin and Varrick, but also comments that "there’s a tremendous amount of moral insight too."[32] Reviewer Michael Mammano of Den of Geek also praised Bolin's role in this episode, pointing out the "sense of authority and competence he’s developed" and noting that he is "far more poised and precise" than in previous seasons.[41] P.J. Byrne also drew praise for his frenetic voicework, with reviewer Oliver Sava noting that Byrne's performance helped convincingly reflect the character's occasionally "chaotic" mindset.[42]

Bolin's relationship with "ice princess" Eska during season two has been criticized for playing an abusive relationship for laughs, with a scene where Eska forcefully separates Bolin and his friend Korra being brought up often as an example.[43][44]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Rebel Spirit". Director: Colin Heck; Writer:Tim Hedrick. The Legend of Korra. Nickelodeon. 2013-09-13. No. 1, season 2. Transcript.
  2. "Night of a Thousand Stars". Director: Colin Heck; Writer:Tim Hedrick. The Legend of Korra. Nickelodeon. 2013-11-15. No. 11, season 2. Transcript.
  3. Template:Cite speech
  4. "‘Legend of Korra': Mako, Bolin voice actors talk ‘Book 2: Spirits’". Hero Complex. September 11, 2013. http://herocomplex.latimes.com/tv/legend-of-korra-mako-bolin-voice-actors-talk-book-2-spirits/. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Lee, Marissa (28 July 2011). "Legend of Korra Panel at ComicCon 2011". Racebending.com. http://www.racebending.com/v4/featured/the-legend-of-korra-panel-at-comiccon-2011/. Retrieved 28 January 2015. 
  6. DiMartino, Michael, Konietzko, Bryan, Dos Santos, Joaquim (2013). "Early Development". The Legend of Korra—The Art of the Animated Series, Book One: Air. Dark Horse Comics. ISBN 1-61655-168-2. 
  7. "A Leaf in the Wind". Director: Joaquim Dos Santos, Ki Hyun Ryu; Writer: Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko. The Legend of Korra. Nickelodeon. 2012-04-14. No. 2, season 1. Transcript.
  8. "The Revelation". Director: Joaquim Dos Santos, Ki Hyun Ryu; Writer: Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko. The Legend of Korra. Nickelodeon. 2012-04-21. No. 3, season 1. Transcript.
  9. "And the Winner Is...". Director: Joaquim Dos Santos, Ki Hyun Ryu; Writer: Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko. The Legend of Korra. Nickelodeon. 2012-05-12. No. 6, season 1. Transcript.
  10. "The Aftermath". Director:Joaquim Dos Santos, Ki Hyun Ryu; Writers:Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko. The Legend of Korra. Nickelodeon. 2012-05-19. No. 7, season 1. Transcript.
  11. "When Extremes Meet". Director: Joaquim Dos Santos, Ki Hyun Ryu; Writer: Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko. The Legend of Korra. Nickelodeon. 2012-06-2. No. 8, season 1. Transcript.
  12. "Turning the Tides". Director: Joaquim Dos Santos, Ki Hyun Ryu; Writer: Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko. The Legend of Korra. Nickelodeon. 2012-06-16. No. 10, season 1. Transcript.
  13. "/episodes.php?num=111 Skeletons in the Closet". Director: Joaquim Dos Santos, Ki Hyun Ryu; Writer: Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko. The Legend of Korra. Nickelodeon. 2012-06-23. No. 11, season 1. Transcript.
  14. "/episodes.php?num=112 Endgame". Director: Joaquim Dos Santos, Ki Hyun Ryu; Writer: Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko. The Legend of Korra. Nickelodeon. 2012-06-23. No. 12, season 1. Transcript.
  15. "The Southern Lights". Director: Ian Graham; Writer:Joshua Hamilton. The Legend of Korra. Nickelodeon. 2013-09-13. No. 2, season 2. Transcript.
  16. "Civil Wars, Part 1". Director:Colin Heck; Writer:Michael Dante DiMartino. The Legend of Korra. Nickelodeon. 2013-09-20. No. 3, season 2. Transcript.
  17. "Civil Wars, Part 2". Director: Ian Graham; Writer:Michael Dante DiMartino. The Legend of Korra. Nickelodeon. 2013-09-27. No. 4, season 2. Transcript.
  18. "Peacekeepers, Part 2". Director: Colin Heck; Writer:Tim Hedrick. The Legend of Korra. Nickelodeon. 2013-10-04. No. 5, season 2. Transcript.
  19. "Night of A Thousand Stars". Director: Colin Heck; Writer:Joshua Hamilton. The Legend of Korra. Nickelodeon. 2013-11-15. No. 11, season 2. Transcript.
  20. "Harmonic Convergence". Director: Ian Graham; Writer:Tim Hedrick. The Legend of Korra. Nickelodeon. 2013-11-15. No. 12, season 2. Transcript.
  21. "Darkness Falls". Director: Colin Heck; Writer:Joshua Hamilton. The Legend of Korra. Nickelodeon. 2013-11-22. No. 13, season 2. Transcript.
  22. "Light in the Dark". Director: Ian Graham; Writer:Michael Dante DiMartino. The Legend of Korra. Nickelodeon. 2013-11-15. No. 14, season 2. Transcript.
  23. "Rebirth". Director: Colin Heck; Writer:Joshua Hamilton. The Legend of Korra. Nickelodeon. 2014-06-27. No. 2, season 3. Transcript.
  24. "Earth Queen". Director: Ian Graham; Writer:Tim Hedrick. The Legend of Korra. Nickelodeon. 2014-06-27. No. 3, season 3. Transcript.
  25. 25.0 25.1 "In Harm's Way". Director:Melchior Zwyer; Writer:Joshua Hamilton. The Legend of Korra. Nickelodeon. 2014-07-11. No. 4, season 3. Transcript.
  26. "The Stakeout". Director:Ian Graham; Writer:Michael Dante DiMartino. The Legend of Korra. Nickelodeon. 2014-08-01. No. 9, season 3. Transcript.
  27. "Long Live the Queen". Director:Melchoir Zwyer; Writer:Tim Hedrick. The Legend of Korra. Nickelodeon. 2014-08-08. No. 10, season 3. Transcript.
  28. "Ultimatum". Director:Colin Heck; Writer:Joshua Hamilton. The Legend of Korra. Nickelodeon. 2014-08-15. No. 11, season 3. Transcript.
  29. "Enter the Void". Director:Ian Graham; Writer:Michael Dante DiMartino. The Legend of Korra. Nickelodeon. 2014-08-22. No. 12, season 3. Transcript.
  30. "Venom of the Red Lotus". Director:Melchior Zwyer; Writer:Joshua Hamilton, Tim Hedrick. The Legend of Korra. Nickelodeon. 2014-08-22. No. 13, season 3. Transcript.
  31. Garofalo, Alex (2014-10-31). "'The Legend Of Korra' Book 4 Spoilers: Bolin Taken Prisoner In Episode 5; What Happened In 'Enemy At The Gates'? [RECAP"]. International Business news. http://www.ibtimes.com/legend-korra-book-4-spoilers-bolin-taken-prisoner-episode-5-what-happened-enemy-gates-1717084. 
  32. 32.0 32.1 Patches, Matt (2014-11-14). "‘The Legend of Korra’ Book 4 Review: "Reunion"". Screen Crush. http://screencrush.com/legend-of-korra-review-reunion/. 
  33. Sava, Oliver (2014-12-05). "The Legend Of Korra: "Operation Beifong"". A.V. Club. http://www.avclub.com/tvclub/legend-korra-operation-beifong-212678. 
  34. "Kuvira's Gambit". Director:Colin Heck; Writer:Joshua Hamilton. The Legend of Korra. Nickelodeon. 2014-12-12. No. 11, season 4. Transcript.
  35. "Day of the Colossus". Director:Ian Graham; Writer:Tim Hedrick. The Legend of Korra. Nickelodeon. 2014-12-19. No. 12, season 4. Transcript.
  36. "The Last Stand". Director:Melchior Zwyer; Writer:Michael Dante DiMartino. The Legend of Korra. Nickelodeon. 2014-12-19. No. 13, season 4. Transcript.
  37. Webb, Charles (2013-09-08). "Mako and Bolin Are The Criminal Element In This 'Legend of Korra' Web Short". MTV. http://geek-news.mtv.com/2013/08/09/legend-of-korra-new-short/. 
  38. Schick, Michal (23 August 2013). "‘The Legend of Korra’ webseries ‘Republic City Hustle’ concludes". Hypable. http://www.hypable.com/the-legend-of-korra-webseries-republic-city-hustle-concludes/. Retrieved 25 January 2015. 
  39. Hillman, Kevin (24 August 2014). "Depth of characters drives strong third Korra season". Hypable. http://www.curiata.com/content/3733.php. Retrieved 25 January 2015. 
  40. Knode, Moddicai. ""Operation Beifong" Strikes Back on The Legend of Korra!". Tor.com. http://www.tor.com/blogs/2014/12/the-legend-of-korra-book-4-episode-10-operation-beifong. 
  41. Mammano, Michael (2014-11-14). "The Legend of Korra: Reunion Review". Den of Geek. http://www.denofgeek.us/tv/legend-of-korra/241314/the-legend-of-korra-reunion-review. 
  42. Sava, Oliver (7 November 2014). "The Legend Of Korra: "Battle Of Zaofu"". A.V. Club. http://www.avclub.com/tvclub/legend-korra-battle-zaofu-211583. 
  43. Lurttrell, Gina (2013-10-16). "Nickelodeon’s "The Legend of Korra" Makes Light of Abusive Women, and That’s Not Okay". Thoughtsonliberty. http://thoughtsonliberty.com/nickelodeons-the-legend-of-korra-makes-light-of-abusive-women-and-thats-not-okay. 
  44. Tatum, Erin (2013-09-19). "Why ‘The Legend of Korra’ is (Still) a Feminist’s Headache". Bitch Flicks. http://www.btchflcks.com/2013/09/why-the-legend-of-korra-is-still-a-feminists-headache.html#.VLzjDYd-y3A. 

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