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20 Times 'Avatar' Fans Pointed Out Something In 'The Boiling Rock' Arc That We Hadn't Noticed Before

February 25, 2021 18.7k votes 2.4k voters 185.9k views20 items

List RulesVote up your favorite details about "The Boiling Rock!"

Did you know that arguably one of the best prison escape arcs in the history of television occured on a children's show? Let's talk about it. We've gathered some of our favorite analyses and details that 'Avatar: The Last Airbender' fans noticed about one of the most beloved parts of the series: 'The Boiling Rock.' There's comedy, plot holes, suspicion, and more! Vote on your favorites fan analyses below!

  • 1

    The 'Breath Of Fire' Technique May Not Have Been A Native Firebending Technique. And There's A Pretty Large Amount Of Evidence To Prove It.

    From Tumblr user phantomrose96:

    The coolers are a means of Firebender suppression. They are designed, specifically, to shut down firebenders who have toed out of line. Like the metal prison in 'Imprisoned,' and the suspended cages in 'The Puppetmaster,' these are prison facilities designed with a specific sort of bender in mind.

    So then—Zuko.

    Subjected to the most severe form of Firebender suppression in the Fire Nation’s most high-profile prison, Zuko is able to dismantle the cooler and walk away smiling.


    In a tidbit of behind-the-scenes trivia, it was revealed that Airbenders can regulate their body temperature with their breath alone. This is why Aang is so weirdly comfortable traveling around the South and North Pole (and really any climate in the series) in his normal monk garb. Everyone else changes outfits to reflect the changing climate, but not Aang.

    It would be quite useful if a technique like that could be adapted to another style of bending in the same way that a Waterbender’s redirection of their opponent’s energy could be adapted to the redirection of a Firebender’s lightning. I bet the man who invented lightning redirection by studying waterbending would have some brilliant insight into using the breath for warmth by studying airbending.

    In fact, in 'The Siege of the North,' that exact man [Iroh] tells Zuko, 'Remember your breath of fire. It could save your life out there.' We see Zuko use his breath to warm himself that very episode, per his uncle’s instructions.

    And we see Zuko use his breath of fire in one other case: to endure the cooler.

    I’m willing to bet that breath of fire, as a means to keep oneself warm, is not a native firebending technique. If it was, the whole concept of the cooler would be laughable. Any prisoner would just 'breath-of-fire' himself warm in there and the prison guards would all collectively say, 'oh wow, the cooler was a stupid idea. Time for a new plan.'

    But we know a traditional firebender would be sapped so cold in the cooler that his firebending becomes unusable. If Zuko were relying on traditional firebending techniques, the same would happen to him. But he’s not.

    Zuko’s breath of fire is an airbending technique. 

    One that Iroh taught him. One the Fire Nation has no precedent for. One which lets Zuko ward off the freezing effects of the cooler like it’s nothing and allows him to dismantle it from the inside and come away smiling, unhindered, unaffected, warm to his core.

    It’s another case of Iroh’s brilliance. And I’m betting he and Zuko may be the only two firebenders in the world who could pull this off.

    Interesting 'Boiling Rock' analysis?
  • 2

    Analyzing Why Zuko And Sokka Make Such A Good Team

    Tumblr user dragonofthemountain explains:

    Zuko KNOWS he can’t win against Azula. All his life he’s been the weaker bender. But he knows his enemy and he knows his space. They’re fighting on an impossibly cramped space with Suki and Ty Lee’s battle taking up half of it. If Azula doesn’t want to hit her 'friend' or get blown off herself, she has to pull her punches. And that gives Sokka the advantage.

    Sokka, with his sword, can get up close to Azula and strike in her ways she may not anticipate. But Sokka’s still not fireproof.

    So this scene shows how perfectly the two of them work together. Without words, Zuko blocks Azula’s fire blasts and sends a few off himself. While Auzla dodges Zuko’s blasts and regains her footing, Sokka comes in and strikes with his sword. They dance and dodge for a bit until Azula composes herself at which point Sokka ducks completely back behind Zuko again and the dance restarts.

    They’re very clearly holding their own against a powerful bender who has beaten the both of them before. But Zuko and Sokka’s ability to work as a team, each using their strengths to their advantage is what helps them keep the stalemate.

    It’s such a fun scene to watch, and I always love watching these to 'ride or die' idiots instantly click and fall into a rhythm like it’s nothing.

    Interesting 'Boiling Rock' analysis?
  • 3

    The Arc Was A Perfect Spotlight For The Nonbenders Of The Show

    Interesting 'Boiling Rock' analysis?
  • 4

    The Warden Doesn't Even Clock Zuko As A Fire Nation Traitor At First 

    Interesting 'Boiling Rock' analysis?