Chapter Eleven: The Great Divide

Avatar: The Last Airbender

Chapter Eleven: The Great Divide By Avatar: The Last Airbender


Act I

(Opening shot of the sun setting behind some tall rock outcroppings. The sky is mostly cloudy and the clouds reflect the light of the dying sun. Pan down to show a patched up tent being jostled about from the inside. A rolled up tarp lies next to the tent. Inside the tent, Sokka can be heard grunting and fussing about as he tries to finish setting up the shelter.

Finally, the tent is raised and Sokka emerges from behind the tent’s flap opening. As he does, Katara enters the frame, her back to the camera, carrying an arm load of wood.)

Katara: Um…aren’t you forgetting the TARP?
Sokka: Right…got it.

Katara: Sokka, you’re supposed to put the tarp on TOP of the tent. You know, so we don’t get RAINED on.

Sokka: Ordinarily you’d be right, but seeing how it’s the dry season, you’re not. Besides, that tarp makes a pretty warm blanket.
Katara: But what if it DOES rain?
Sokka: But what if it doesn’t? Then I would have put the tarp up for nothing.
Katara: Ur…arg! You’re infuriating!
Sokka: Katara, why don’t you worry about gathering the firewood because that kindling’s looking PRETTY sorry.

Katara: Well if you don’t like my firewood… have it!

Sokka: Fine by me! If you’re not going to do your job …urg!

Aang: Okay, I got the grub if you guys got the… Hey, where’s the campfire? And what happened to the tent?
Sokka: Why don’t you ask Miss Know It All? Queen of the Twigs!
Katara: Oh yeah? Well you’re Mister Lazy Bum, King of the …Tents!

Aang: Okay, listen guys. Harsh words won’t solve problems, action will. Why don’t you just switch jobs?
Katara: Sounds good.
Sokka: Whatever.

Aang: You see that? Settling feuds and making peace. All in a days work for the Avatar.

Aang: Come on Momo, that’s fair. Appa’s got FIVE stomachs.

Aang: Here it is, guys, the Great Divide.

Katara: Wow! I could just stare at it forever.

Sokka: Okay. I’ve seen enough.
Katara: How can you not be fascinated, Sokka? This is the largest canyon in the entire world.

Sokka: Then I’m sure we’ll be able to see it very clearly from the air while we fly away.

Scout: Hey! If you’re looking for the Canyon Guide, I was here first!

Katara: Ooooo…canyon guide. Sounds informative.
Scout: Believe me, he’s more than a tour guide, he’s an earthbender. And the only way in and out of the canyon is with his help. And he’s takin’ MY tribe across next!

Sokka: Calm down, we know you’re next.
Scout: You wouldn’t be calm if the Fire Nation destroyed YOUR home and forced YOU to flee. My whole tribe has to walk thousands of miles to the capital city of Ba Sing Se!
Katara: You’re a refugee.
Scout: Humph. Tell me somethin’ I don’t know.

Katara: Is that your tribe?
Scout: It most certainly is NOT.

Scout: That’s the Zhang tribe. A bunch of low-life thieves. They’ve been the enemies of my tribe for 100 years. Hey Zhangs! I’m savin’ a spot for my tribe so don’t even THINK of stealing it!

Zhang Leader: Where are the rest of the Gan Jin? Still tidying up their campsite?
Scout: Yes! But they sent me ahead of them to hold a spot.
Zhang Leader: I didn’t know the canyon Guide took reservations.
Scout: Heh! Of course you didn’t. That’s the ignorance I’d expect from a messy Zhang! So unorganized and ill prepared for a journey.

Canyon Guide: Sorry about the wait, youngsters. Who’s ready to cross this here canyon?

Katara: Um… one of them I think.

Scout: I was here first! My party’s on their way!
Canyon Guide: I can’t guide people who aren’t here.

Zhang Leader: Guess you guys’ll have to make the trip tomorrow.

Scout: Wait! Here they come!

Zhang Leader: You’re not seriously going to cave into these spoiled Gan Jins! I mean, we’re refugees too! And we’ve got sick people that need shelter.
Canyon Guide: I…uh…well…

Scout: We’ve got old people who are weary from traveling.
Zhang Leader: Sick people get priority over old people.
Gan Jin Leader: Maybe you Zhang’s wouldn’t have so many sick people if you weren’t such slobs.
Zhang Leader: If you Gan Jins weren’t so clean, maybe you wouldn’t live to be so old.
Gan Jin Leader: I could smell your stink a mile away.
Katara: Well Aang, ready to put your peace making skills to the test?
Aang: I… don’t know. A fight over chores is one thing. These people have been feuding for 100 years.
Katara: Everyone, listen up! This is the Avatar! And if you give him a chance, I’m sure he can come up with a compromise that will make everyone happy.

Aang: Uh…you could share the earthbender and travel together?
Gan Jin Leader: Absolutely not! We’d rather be taken by the Fire Nation than travel with those stinking thieves.

Zhang Leader: We wouldn’t travel with you pompous fools anyway!
Gan Jin Leader: I am not pompous!

Aang: Alright! Here’s the deal! We’re all going down together and Appa here will fly your sick and elderly across. Does that seem fair?

Aang: Sorry Appa. You’ll have to do this on your own.
Sokka: This feuding tribe stuff is serious business. Are you sure it’s a good idea getting involved in this?
Aang: To tell the truth, I’m not sure. But when have I ever been?
Katara: He’s the Avatar, Sokka. Making peace between people is his job.
Sokka: His job’s gonna make us cross this whole thing on foot, isn’t it?

Canyon Guide: Okay, now comes the bad news. No food allowed in the canyon. It attracts dangerous predators.

Gan Jin Leader: No food! This is ridiculous.
Canyon Guide: Aww, you babies can go a day without food. Would you rather be hungry…or dead?

Canyon Guide: Now, we’re headin’ down in 10 minutes. All food better be in your gut, or in the garbage!

Aang: Appas’s gonna take good care of you until we get there. See ya on the other side, buddy. Yip, yip!

(Appa grunts and flies off. Cut to a wide shot of Appa making a bee-line with his passengers for the other side of the canyon. Fade to a far and wide shot of the canyon wall underneath the canyon path entrance. The Canyon Guide’s outpost is still visible at the top of the screen on the canyon rim. Underneath, the tribes are walking down a steep, switch-back path.

The shot pans down, revealing more of the path in front of them. Cut to a close up shot of Aang and the Canyon Guide leading the procession. The Guide puts a hand in front of Aang to stop him as the camera pans down again to reveal a break in the path in front of them. The drop is hundreds of feet down. The Guide whirls around and makes a motion with his outstretched arm and fist. With a grunt of effort, the camera switches to wide that shows blocks of stone pushes outward from the canyon wall face to repair the path in front of them.)

Aang: Nice bending!

Canyon Guide: The job’s much more than bending, kid. Folks want information.

Canyon Guide: Many of you are probably wondering how canyons are formed. Experts tell us this canyon was most likely carved into the ground by Earth Spirits who were angry at local farmers for not offering them a proper sacrifice.

Canyon Guide: Guess the spirits are still angry! Hope you all brought sacrifices.

Canyon Guide: Okay…everyone stand clear of the wall.

Aang: Why’d you do that?

Canyon Guide: These people are fleeing the Fire Nation, aren’t they? I gotta make sure we can’t be followed. We’ll be safe now.

Sokka: We gotta help him!

Sokka: Okay…now you gotta help me!

Aang: What was that?

Canyon Guide: Canyon crawler. Oh, ugh! And there’s sure to be more.
Katara: Your arms…they’re broken.
Canyon Guide: Without my arms, I got no bending. In other words…

Aang: …we’re trapped in this canyon.

Act II

Sokka: I thought the whole point of ditching our food was so we wouldn’t have to deal with things like… canyon crawlers…
Gan Jin Leader: It’s the Zhangs! They took food down here, even after the guide told them not to!
Zhang Leader: What! If there’s anyone who can’t go without food for a day, it’s you pampered Gan Jins!
Gan Jin Leader: I hope you’re happy. We’re stuck in the canyon with no way out.
Zhang Leader: Why don’t you thank yourself, food hider!
Aang: Look. Sticking together is the only way to…
Zhang Leader: I’m not walkin’ another step with the likes of them.
Gan Jin Leader: Now, there’s something we can agree on.
Aang: Any ideas?

Canyon Guide: No bending. We need to get out of this canyon. I won’t die down here! I won’t become part of the food chain!

Gan Jin Leader: See? We’re going to become part of the food chain because of YOU!
Zhang Leader: Sure. Unjustly blame the Zhangs like you ALWAYS do!
Gan Jin Leader: Gladly!

Aang: ENOUGH! I thought I could help you guys get along, but I guess that’s not going to happen.

Aang: We should split up. Gan Jins on this side…and Zhangs on that side. We’ll travel in two separate lines.

Aang: Sokka, you go with the Zhangs. And Katara, you go with the Gan Jins. See if you can figure out why they hate each other so much.

Sokka: So, you guys aren’t going to put up your tarps?
Zhang Leader: What for? It’s the dry season.
Sokka: Exactly!
Zhang Leader: Besides, we like to use the tarp as a blanket.
Sokka: Finally, someone gets it.

Katara: You really think it’ll rain?
Gan Jin Leader: No, but you can never be too careful, right?

Gan Jin Leader: Would you care for some bread, Katara?
Katara: So it was you guys who had food!
Gan Jin Leader: Oh come now. You really think that tribe of thieves isn’t smuggling food? Why should MY people go hungry when the sneaky Zhangs are stuffing their faces?
Katara: Well, I guess it’s okay if everyone’s doing it. So, why does your tribe hate the Zhang so much?
Gan Jin Leader: You seem like a smart girl, Katara. I bet you would enjoy hearing some history.

Gan Jin Leader: The patriarch of our tribe, Jin Wei, was an earthbender warrior who was assigned an important duty; transporting our sacred orb from the Great Eastern Gate to the Great Western Gate.

Gan Jin Leader: Taking the orb from the east to the west represents the sun�s rising and setting. It was our tribe’s ancient redemption ritual…

Gan Jin Leader: …but as he approached the gate, Jin Wei was attacked by one of the Zhang!

Gan Jin Leader: A vermin, named Wei Jin, who looked at the orb with envy. That coward, Wei Jin, knocked Jin Wei to the ground and stole our sacred orb. Our people have never forgotten. You can never trust a Zhang.

(Cut to Katara, who looks o.c. towards the Zhang camp, an expression of hardness and suspicion spreading over her face.

The screen pans left to reveal the Zhang camp in the distance, then cut to Sokka sitting next to the Zhang leader. She produces a leg of meat from a bag and offers it to Sokka.)

Zhang Leader: Care for some meat?
Sokka: Would I!?

Zhang Leader: I know what you must be thinking. We’re horrible for endangering everybody by bringing food down here.
Sokka: Mm hmm!
Zhang Leader: The Gan Jin think so badly of us they probably assumed we brought food in and decided to bring food in themselves. That’s why we brought food in.
Sokka: Mmmm!
Zhang Leader: Our conflict with the Gan Jin goes back over a hundred years…

Zhang Leader: Our forefather, Wei Jin, was leaving the western gate of our village…

Zhang Leader: …when he saw a figure in the distance. It was a man of the Gan Jin tribe, Jin Wei, collapsed on the ground.

Zhang Leader: Noble Wei Jin stopped to help him. Jin Wei was transporting a sacred orb, a very powerful relic used in his tribe’s redemption ritual. Wei Jin tried to tend to the man’s wounds, but Jin Wei insisted the orb was more important, and asked him to take it back to his tribe. Kind Wei Jin promised to send help for the man as soon as he could, but as Wei Jin crossed the border to return the orb into Gan Jin territory he was arrested!

Zhang Leader: Instead of thanking him for his kind and selfless deed, they sentenced him to twenty long years in prison. We Zhang’s will never forget that injustice.

Sokka: That’s just terrible. You gonna finish that?

(She takes a bite in response. Sokka looks depressed and slumps a bit.

Cut to Aang and Momo looking down at the camps below with longing, backs to the camera.)

Aang: Sure would be nice to be around one of those campfires, telling stories and laughing. It’s okay, Momo, we’ll be out of here soon enough and then we can eat our weight in leechy nuts!

Aang: Nah, I’ll wait for the leechy nuts.

Canyon Guide: It’s lonely, isn’t it? Being impartial.
Aang: I wish I could help these people get along, but it just seems impossible. Anyhow, I guess our biggest problem is getting out of here.
Canyon Guide: I’m not so sure the two problems are unrelated.

(The Guide nods off to sleep, then cut to Aang who looks away sadly.

Fade to a morning shot of the sky. The camera pans down to reveal the Guide and Aang atop the baulk, the two tribes continuing their trek on either side.)

Canyon Guide: All clear! We’re almost to the other side.

Aang: Katara, Sokka, will these people cooperate long enough to get out of the canyon?
Katara: I don’t think so, Aang, the Zhang’s really wronged the Gan Jins. They ambushed Jin We and stole the sacred orb.
Aang: What are you talking about?
Sokka: Yeh, Katara, what are you talking about? We Jin didn’t steal the orb, he was returning it to their village gate and was wrongfully punished by the Gan Jin.
Katara: Not punished enough if you ask me!

Aang: Okay! Okay! I get it! Now I need your help. Let’s get everyone together at the base of the canyon wall.

Aang: Please everyone! As soon as we get out of here we can eat, and then go our separate ways, but I need you all to put your heads together and figure out a way up this cliff.
Gan Jin Leader: Maybe the Zhang can climb the walls with their long, disgusting fingernails.
Zhang Leader: Oh, sorry! I forgot that to the Gan Jin, unclipped fingernails is a crime punishable by twenty years in jail!
Gan Jin Leader: Why you dirty thief!
Zhang Leader: You pompous fool!

Aang: Guys! FOCUS! How many times do I have to say it? Harsh words won’t solve problems, ACTION will!
Zhang Leader: Perhaps the Avatar is right.
Gan Jin Leader: Yes, perhaps he is.

Zhang Leader: Harsh words will never solve our problems…
Gan Jin Leader: …action will!

Act III

Gan Jin Leader: To the death! And let this be the end of this rivalry!
Aang: You know, I take it back! Harsh words aren’t so bad!

(The leaders ignore him and begin the fight in earnest. After several feints and thrusts, they push each other apart. The Gan Jin’s lower beard falls off, and one of the Zhang’s hair braids falls off. They rush at each other again, but as they meet Aang brings his stuff down and blows the two sides backwards.

Cut to Aang breathing heavily, a savage look on his face. He looks over to the Gan Jin on his left and his jaw drops. Cut to the Gan Jin, where a wrapped blanket of food has opened and spilled its contents all over. One of the Gan Jin kicks the blanket cover back over some of the food.)

Aang: Is that… food? Everyone smuggled food down here!? UNBELIEVABLE! You guys put our lives in danger because you couldn’t go without a snack for a day!? You are all…AWFUL!

Aang: So hungry… is that…egg custard in that tart?

Katara: Oh no! That’s a lot of canyon crawlers!
Sokka: We barely survived one!

Canyon Guide: They’re coming back for me! They’ve had a taste, and they’re coming back for me!

Katara: Sokka, wait! I don’t care about this stupid feud! I just want us to get out of here alive.
Sokka: Me too. I only took their side because they fed me.

(They both run from behind the rock, then cut to canyon crawlers charging the camera. Aang lifts on his glider, lands, and airbends a gale at a wall of the insects. It has no effect. They charge and butt heads as Aang jumps into the air just as they reach him. He blasts them away from each other as he falls back down. This stuns them momentarily, but they get back up.

General melee now begins as the creatures attack the tribes. The Zhang leader forces one back with her curved sword, while Katara water whips another that is threatening two Gan Jins. Another monster breaks her whip, however, and she loses the water. Sokka is chased by a crawler, but he hits it with his boomerang. Aang airbends four more crawlers out of his way. A quick pan shot, though, reveals that the crawlers have cornered small bands of tribes people all over the place. Aang looks over to see the crawlers chewing food, their heads inside the food bags.)

Aang: Everybody! Watch me! Do what I do!

Aang : Now, follow me! We’re riding out of this hole!

Aang: Everyone! Get off!

Zhang Leader: We made it!

Zhang Leader: I never thought a Gan Jin could get his hands dirty like that.
Gan Jin Leader: And I never knew you Zhang’s were so reliable in a pinch.
Zhang Leader: Perhaps we’re not so different after all.

Gan Jin Leader: Too bad we can’t rewrite history. You thieves stole our sacred orb from Jin Wei!
Zhang Leader: You tyrants unjustly imprisoned We Jin for twenty long years!

Aang: Wait a second! Jin Wei? Wei Jin? I know those guys!
Gan Jin Leader: Yes, yes, we’re all aware of the story.
Aang: No! I mean I really knew them. I may not look it, but I’m 112 years old. I was there a hundred years ago on the day you’re talking about…

Aang: There seems to be a lot of confusion about what happened. First of all, Jin Wei and Wei Jin weren’t enemies, they were brothers , twins in fact and they were eight and most importantly, they were just playing a game! . The sacred orb from the legend …that was the ball. And the eastern and western gates were the goal posts . Jin Wei had the ball and was running toward the goal when he fell and fumbled it. Win Jei didn’t steal the ball, he picked it up and started running it back toward the other goal. But he stepped out of bounds , so the official put him in the penalty box, not for twenty long years, but for two short minutes.

Aang: There was no stealing and no putting anyone in prison. Just a game.
Zhang Leader: You’re saying the sacred orb was actually a sacred ball?
Aang: Nope, just a regular ball.
Scout: What about our tribe’s redemption ritual?
Aang: That’s what the game was called, Redemption. As soon as someone got the ball from one goal to the other everyone would yell, “redemption!” Don’t get me wrong, Wei Jin was kind of a slob and Jin Wei was a little stuffy, that much is true, but they respected each others differences enough to share the same playing field.
Zhang Leader: I suppose it’s time we forget the past…
Gan Jin Leader: …and look to the future.

(The Zhang Leader bows in turn as Aang, smiling, looks on.

Fade to a daylight scene of the area. Camera pans down to show the two tribes still at the canyon rim. Appa and the elderly and sick are there. Cut to a close up on Aang hugging Appa. Sokka, Katara and the Guide are in the background.)

Aang: Good to see ya, boy! Did you miss me?

Gan Jin Leader: I cannot thank you enough, Avatar.
Aang: Well, you know, I try.

Zhang Leader: Let us travel to the Earth Kingdom capital as one tribe!

Canyon Guide: I’m goin’ too! I’m sick of this place!
Sokka: That’s some luck you knew Jin Wei and Wei Jin.
Aang: You could call it luck. Or, you could call it… lying!

Sokka: What!?
Aang: I made the whole thing up.
Katara: You did not! That is so wrong.
Aang: Now where’s that custard tart? I’m starving!



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