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Put an End to This Sad Story by xcgirl08 Put an End to This Sad Story by xcgirl08

(It's also up on tumblr if you feel like reblogging it: [link])

“That’s why I brought you out here — to learn your destiny. You two will become bloodbenders of the highest order. And when the time is right, you will claim Republic City, and you will destroy the Avatar. You must avenge me. That is your purpose in life.”

When you think about it, Tarrlok wasn’t far off in pointing out the similarities between Korra and himself during their conversation in Episode Eight; even disregarding their mutual conviction and intensity when faced with conflict, there are more parallels than he probably realized.

Both of them exist very much within the confines of their physical abilities, Korra putting all of her self-worth into them and Tarrlok doing the best he can to conceal them out of disgust. Both bear the weight of very different but equally heavy legacies, Korra often holding herself up in unfavorable (according to her own judgment) comparison with Aang, and Tarrlok constantly and consciously trying to distance himself from Yakone through his actions.

It’s rather suffocating to think about, and neither of them were really ever given the chance to realize that they are individuals outside of their titles, bending abilities and pasts (or past lives, as it were), capable of making their own ways in the world. Korra was given her bending back in fairly short order, after a broken-hearted voicing of her belief that she had failed as an Avatar, and Tarrlok seemed to realize that there was no way of ever escaping what Yakone had turned both him and his brother into.

Part of the reason so many fans (myself included) are holding on to the outlandish, extremely unlikely hope that Tarrlok somehow survived his murder-suicide attempt is because this seems like a despairing note to end his character arc on…Not that dark, mature themes ought to be avoided in narratives for young adults, no, but in a story that gave us quite a bit about fulfilling your duties without being consumed by them (in Aang’s case) and not letting who you were determine who you will be (in Zuko’s), it feels out of place.

So what exactly would unfold if Tarrlok were to come back?

(I know it’s not going to happen, but work with me here. People in television survive explosions all the time.)

Aside from some nasty, badass burn scars, and a terrible bitterness at being such a “failure” that he couldn’t even manage to end things on his own terms, there would be the consequences of his actions to deal with. He’d probably need to be put on trial, and I have the oddest image of him staying on Air Temple Island (he’s made himself a lot of enemies, and I can’t imagine the city jail would be very safe) as a kind of house arrest while he awaited it…besides, Air Temple Island currently has a very talented waterbending healer in residence, who also happens to be the Avatar and one of the only two people (if we’re counting Mako, who was sort of there just because) Tarrlok has ever told the truth about his past to. It would be an awkward reunion, to say the least.

And at some point or another, once his self-loathing attitude and outlook wore down her patience, I can see Korra feeling the need to headily point out that he is not Yakone, any more than she is Aang, and, well, “Let’s just make things easier for ourselves by trying to believe that, okay? Okay.” She might not even realize the significance of the words until they were out.

Tarrlok may have apologized for his crimes, but it’d be a long and difficult trek towards gaining the trust of those around him and undoing the harm he’s inflicted. Changes wouldn’t happen immediately. (Ikki, however, would declare herself his best friend and principal tormentor.) Korra would usually have to be there reminding people, “See? He’s not so bad once you get to know him…Or, you know, not bad in the same way”, and eventually she’d be proven correct. Ultimately the change would be up to him, but she’d try to help.

Heck, on the flip-side, we all know the girl could use a few lessons in the art of tact/how to play a smarter game than your opponents. Why not learn from someone who’s had years of practice? Maybe the next season will revolve partially around the gang wars of Republic City, which would continue addressing the inequalities between benders and nonbenders (and another type of enemy who cannot be dealt with by brute force alone) while providing us with something new (oh, hey, look, more ways of both purging Yakone’s influence and building up Aang’s dreams for Republic City.)

Having these two characters continue to develop in tandem with each other would be a revisiting of – and also a new take on – those themes of identity and accepting help from others which we saw in the first series. Avatar Aang took away Yakone’s bending because of the wrongs he had done, and then his successor gives Yakone’s son his bending back because of what he has done to make things right. It’s a nice parallel.

It would be an interesting partnership to watch develop from where Season One left us off: that shamed, self-conscious look on Tarrlok’s face after Korra thanks him for his help – he nods, but then he can’t look her in the eyes anymore and so he turns his own away – will never stop interesting me. It would be a humorous way of circling things around to Tarrlok’s Episode Four declaration that they make a good team. It would carry through with that lesson that when we reach our lowest points, we are open to the greatest change. It would be a challenge for Korra, a different kind of spiritual one, because being the Avatar is not all about fighting; it’s about connecting with the people of this world and sharing in their pain, their joys, their struggles and their triumphs, and now she has Aang as a mentor to help her do that and he’s watched this journey happen before. I just kind of want to see more battles featuring a master waterbender, and maybe the airbabies forcing him to play a game of Redemption with them.

(Including the totally un-ironic crows of “REDEMPTION! REDEPMTION!” that would follow.)

…I’m not sure where I’m going with this.

But anyway, I find the whole thing very compelling. Will it happen? No. Do I like thinking about how it would play out anyway? Sure.

And you know what else?

It would allow us to imagine a sort of follow-up to those words of Yakone’s, which ended up poisoning and ruining the first half of Tarrlok’s life:

“Ah, yes, that whole business about destroying the Avatar. Sorry, Dad, you must have stuttered or something. Whoops.”
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ShaSonSil Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I love the emotions you put in the picture. Watching how Tarrlok and Korra interacted in book 1 made me love this ship. Great job.
Wazzpinator Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
This is really nice! Great job!
clockworkporcelain Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2014
Now I kinda ship it. My baby.

Also, he looks like the Hound is supposed to look.
OtakuWilko Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Don't ship it, but still love this!!
beautifulshininghope Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2014  Student Artist
woah...I can totally see this happening.
KTKokaQ Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
The hurts...

Beautiful work!
uroboros2 Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2014
Normally I hate shipping, but I love this.
ChloexBowie Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
I love this!!! Heart 
RealmeNevertobeseen Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
It's so sweet :) that's why I like it and if Korra is with a serious person, it should be him because he would be able to handle her unlike Mako -__- but on another note, this is beautifully drawn and colored. Good job :clap:
PrincessEsalia Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I don't ship them, but their expressions are so sweet it's impossible to not love this!
OnlyOneZen Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2013
It's crack...but this picture makes me ship it completely. I am lost for words. So well drawn. Expression. The touch of her fixing his collar? I am blown to pieces.
Kanto-Chan Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2013
SO CUTE! Love it.~ My favourite couple.
SighingWinter Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2013
SeridwenIseabail Featured By Owner May 29, 2013
Hey I don't know if you or anyone reading this has seen this but there's a fanfic by Resmiranda on that is pretty what would happen if Tarrlok survived the explosion and Korra had to take care of him. So I'm just gonna put a link here so that you and anyone else can read it and fangirl over it.

It's in the Water by Resmiranda: [link]
Whitemiko55 Featured By Owner May 17, 2013
¿Como demonios puede transmitir tanto una simple imagen?, ¡es tan hermosa que me cautivó!, ¡felicidades por un excelente trabajo!
sunnyontheheights Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
okay. I do NOT ship this couple, but I saw this, and I was like... this is so sweet.... you put a lot of brilliant emotion into your work, you truly have talent. keep it up. :) hey...maybe with amorra? ;)
Gihren73 Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2013
I love this picture so much. Like everyone says, so much emotion is conveyed in this. You're a wonderful artist! <3
tbonegirl28 Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2013  Professional General Artist
I love the way you've dressed Korra! She looks so mature and loving to Tarrlok. Very well done. :)
Izzie-67 Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist


I mean, this is a great idea. I wish this was how it would really go, too. By the end of the series, I really liked Tarrlok. He pissed me off in the beginning, unlike Zuko, though, so there's a totally different element there.

But I would love to see this. Even if it's about as impossible as Azula getting over her craziness.
darknessprevails0 Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2012
This.... this is so.. I CAN'T EVEN. I LOVE IT.

You should really read the fanfiction called Strings! It's a really nice twist on how *SPOILERS FOR THOSE NOT IN EPISODE 8* Tarrlok's plan of capturing Korra and taking her as hostage went through and it's just an amazing story. [link]
darknessprevails0 Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2012
Fangirling so much right now. Beautiful depiction of shipping Korra and Tarrlok *.*
HanniHamster Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is so cute :iconrainbowtearplz: W-WHA
starcru Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2012
nice,love it.
shui-huo Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
This is only fueling my crack obsession with Korrlok.
trip181 Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2012
Congrats! This piece, Put an end to this sad story, has been cast up for vote in #LOKShipping's weekly vote. Each week, deviations that match a certain theme are cast up for vote. The deviation with the most votes gets moved to the Featured Folder. Did you know that, when polled, most deviants admitted when checking out a new group that they look at the featured folder first? Feel free to vote for yourself and enlist your friends to do the same!

Voring ends Sunday, September 23rd. Good luck!

If you wish us to remove your deviation from the list of votable deviations, don't hesitate to let us know.
double--take Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2012  Student
I'm injecting myself with this crack. Amazing.
flyingsqwirrel Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2012
Words. And the artwork is beautiful.
saltyanna95 Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2012
this is really beautiful
MoE545 Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2012  Student Writer
...I never thought about it like that...And your picture is so freaking adorable I CAN'T EVEN...OMG. This is my new crack ship! :D
JackieStarSister Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
"People in television survive explosions all the time." That's true, as seen in the case of Zuko surviving when the pirates blew up his ship.

I can't imagine any romance between these two, but you did point out some interesting similarities and possibilities for a kinship they could have (had). So, thank you for this commentary.
ScreamMidnight Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2012  Student General Artist
We share a wonderful crack ship! Your art is glorious <3
xcgirl08 Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2012
YAY! And thank you!
takatokaoru Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
............ Holy crap. You just broke my brain five different ways. This is really well drawn, it's just... ... My poor brain. D:
xcgirl08 Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2012
You'll live.

Makosharkman Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2012
I wish Tarrlock or Noatalk didn't die they deserved better.
takatokaoru Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
XD Yeah, no worries. So good old Kataang or... Tokka...? will knock it right back together. (Can you tell I don't get involved in "proper" shipping often? :blush:)
xcgirl08 Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2012
It takes some getting used to, hahah. :D
Makosharkman Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2012
also you want to know what I wish happen to Tarrlock and his brother.
GlitchCity Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
To ship, or not to ship. That is the question of the day.
Aniloveskawa Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2012
Ship. That is the answer.
heartsyhawk Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
...I didn't ship it before I came here today.

But I think now I do. I like your explanation. And your art is always lovely.
artissx Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2012  Student General Artist
Wonderful drawing.
PowerOptix Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
After reading the description, this gives me warm fuzzies. :love:
GoggleGirl92 Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2012
I cannot get over how beautiful this is. Well done.
A-young-soul Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2012
SkysongMA Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2012  Student Writer
I dig this. Completely.
Loving-Chakra Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
I can't remember if I already commented on this or not so I'm gonna do it again if I didn't already. :meow: This is amazingly beautiful. The detail is spectacular. :aww:
YueCos Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
This is beautiful. The scar detailing is wonderful. I feel basically the same way as you. While I adore the jolt of uncertain endings it would be nice to see one or two (or several) characters ALONG with Korra moving along the path of redemption and humility.
GhostOfMidwinter Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Heh, I like your way of thinking. If this ever happened it would make a very interesting story. I had Tarrlok surviving in mind too, but mine was a much simpler "can't remember his previous life, has a chance to start a new one and find happiness (god knows he deserves it)..." kinda thing. =P
Either way, interesting though and lovely drawing! That expression on Tarrlok's face is so adorable, just makes you wanna embrace him and tell him everything will be alright. :happycry:
xcgirl08 Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2012
Thank you, anon! I did feel sort of guilty about how gosh darn sad he looks in this picture, but that's why Korra is there!

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Submitted on
July 2, 2012
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