“The Library” was one of the episodes I still remember to this day. In this episode we see just how short sighted Sokka can be and also how deeply his understandable vendetta against the Fire Nation goes. All of what goes wrong this episode can be tied back to Sokka and his desire to get back at the Fire Nation for all they’ve done (and his fear for what will happen when Sozen’s Comet arrives).
The episode was directed by Giancarlo Volpe and written by John O’Bryan.
The story involves Team Avatar taking individual vacation breaks with Katara choosing the Library when it is mentioned by Professor Zei from Ba Sing Se University who is seeking it. Things unfold when they discover it and Sokka seeks a vulnerability of the Fire Nation as the Knowledge Spirit warns them against seeking any action that could be used to harm another. Outside Sand Benders kidnap Appa and Toph is unable to stop them.
The Pros: The Library – The Library is very cool! Fox Spirits as the bringers of knowledge with the Owl-Dragon Knowledge Spirit as it’s Guardian who doesn’t trust humans after Zhao stole knowledge of how to kill the Moon. It has a great design and I like how it was buried beneath the sand before being discovered.
Professor Zei – Zei is all about knowledge and even when he is about to buried beneath the sand he chooses to stay in the library showing for him knowledge was never means to an end. I really liked this character and could relate to him.
The Sandbenders – The Sandbenders have a great design and are a great minor threat. We see them first eye Appa and the group and later are the ones who follow them into the desert to capture Appa. Curious to see how they will be explored later beyond being traders and thieves.
Katara – Katara loves books we learn as she chose the Library for that reason and we see her most committed to that and not using the Library as a means to an end. She is the balance to Sokka who sees it only as a tool against the Fire Nation.
Toph – Toph is blind so can’t read any of the books (which she points out to the group when they ask her to come) and we get to see her humor at work as well as her commitment to her new friends as she tries to protect Appa and hold up the Library for as long as possible so Team Avatar can make their escape.
Sokka – Sokka is all about defeating the Fire Nation so much so that he often misses the point of places. They do need to find a way to fight the Fire Nation but he broke a deal with a very powerful spirit and showed humans could not be trusted. This is the consequence of how Sokka’s activeness and vendetta against the Fire Nation can sometimes lead to trouble.
The Knowledge Spirit – The Knowledge Spirit has an awesome design! It is a mixture of Owl and Dragon and is super threatening and distrusting as it witnessed what happened when he let Zhao in and one of his fellow spirits was killed in the process. He is a great character and I wish we’d have seen him again in ATLA.
Okay: Aang – Aang is just kind of there, he agrees with Sokka and doesn’t fight him on seeking knowledge to hurt and it costs him Appa and access to the Library so he feels the consequences of his actions but that is largely on Sokka, Aang was a small player in Sokka’s game.
This was a good episode that is worth checking out. More could have been done with the theme as we don’t really see the dangerous knowledge that the library holds. I see that as a missed opportunity given the superweapons like the Drill that we will see later. Still, I recommend the episode for sure, a great Sokka episode.
Final Score: 8 / 10