Princess Yue of the Northern Water Tribe had a fate that stunned the characters of Avatar: The Last Airbender, but her tragic destiny was inevitable from her very first appearance. Yue is introduced to Avatar: The Last Airbender as the daughter of Chief Arnook, and quickly becomes Sokka’s love interest once the group makes it to the North Pole. After the Fire Nation attacks and threatens the life of Tui, the spirit of the moon, it is revealed that since Yue was given life by the moon spirit at birth, she is the only one who can revive it. Unfortunately, this means giving up her own life to do so.
Though Avatar: The Last Airbender sees Sokka remind Yue that she does not have to give up her life if she does not want to, a closer look at Yue’s story reveals that she was always willing to put her people’s needs above her own. Yue was already engaged to another Northern Water Tribe warrior prior to Sokka’s arrival, and though she obviously does not like her fiancé, she never goes back on her intention to marry him. This devotion is what gives Yue the strength to save the moon spirit in the Avatar: The Last Airbender season 1 finale.
Avatar’s Yue Was Always More Devoted To Her People Than Her Happiness
Avatar Sokka and Yue
While Sokka is at the North Pole, Yue is clearly interested in him, and she becomes sad after she tearfully explains to him that they cannot be together because of her engagement. Yue is depicted as very pious and mindful of her duty as the princess of the Northern Water Tribe. She understands that her position put her in a place to protect her people, and she was already committed to doing whatever it took to keep the Northern Water Tribe secure, even if it meant marrying someone she did not love. This dedication acts as early proof of Yue’s eventual fate.
When Tui’s life is jeopardized by Admiral Zhao, Yue wastes no time offering up her life. This sacrifice directly affects her people’s ability to waterbend, and even with Aang’s help, she plays a huge part in their victory. Yue’s fate devastates Sokka, who was falling in love with her and wanted to protect her, but he allows Yue to make her own choice without argument. Though their romance was doomed from the very beginning, Yue’s decision gives the loss of their relationship deeper meaning.
How Saving The Moon Spirit Made Yue’s Avatar Sacrifices More Heroic
Avatar Princess Yue as the moon
Becoming the moon spirit gave Princess Yue in Avatar: The Last Airbender more power, as well as more agency than her arranged marriage was going to, despite being a more permanent commitment. Sacrificing her life in the physical world to give life back to Tui in the Spirit World is a more tangible sacrifice than agreeing to a loveless, politically-driven marriage. This ensures that Yue’s sacrifice does not go unnoticed by her people or her father, who notes that he is, “Very proud, but sad.” By becoming the moon spirit, Yue is more important to the world than she ever would have been as Hahn’s wife.
Yue was always meant to sacrifice her freedom in some way, but this twist of fate allowed her to choose to give herself up with serenity and purpose rather than sadness. Over the three seasons of Avatar: The Last Airbender, all the primary characters are faced with choices between what they want and what the world needs. Sokka and the rest of the group never forget Yue’s sacrifice, and the impact she made on the balance of the world has a lasting influence on Aang’s ability to be an effective Avatar.