(okay, full disclosure, I’ve been asked this only like a dozen times, but STILL.)
…why do I, who ship canon couples nearly exclusively and have only gotten a ship ‘wrong’ twice in my life (my followers from when I first joined might know the other)…
…and as a person devoted to the canon-osity of characters…
…one who completely respects creator’s decisions
with these two exceptions when it comes to any plot line, including romance…
…how can I possibly ship the non-canon to end all non-canon, AKA Zutara in the A:TLA (or A:TLAB, depending on how you abbreviate) fandom?
Why don’t I ship Kataang? How can I be so illogical? How? How? HOW?
There is a long answer to this, and a short answer.
LONG ANSWER: Because they are compatible. It’s my beef with Kataang—no matter what way I fanwank that ending, they are just not compatible. I don’t ship Kataang because I do not and cannot believe that a healthy romantic relationship can form from the kind of relationship those two had (see short answer) throughout the series.
So why Zutara?
Because they have a dynamic that doesn’t squick me out. Because he’s willing to listen and doesn’t have to be mothered. Because she has an infallible moral compass and is willing to let him talk when he needs to. Because they give me the feels. Because she’s understanding and so’s he. Because there was no infallible destiny-of-legend or fate here—they were free to choose, free to prove Iroh right when he said that destiny doesn’t always go the way you’d think—that we make it ourselves.
Because of push and pull and Tui and La, fighting with the moon and rising with the sun, because she found herself a master and he’s lucky to be born. Because he never gives up without a fight and she will never turn her back on people who need her.
Because he saved her from the pirates. Because he’s the Blue Spirit (blue) and she’s the Painted Lady (red). Because she offered to heal Iroh. Because she trusted him in Ba Sing Se. Because the Fire Nation took both of their mothers. Because she offered her spirit water. Because he would have let her heal him. Because she recognizes his potential. Because he needed to work for her trust. Because he pushed her out of the way
and specifically avoided second base (you know the part/gif I’m talking about). Because he stayed out all night in front of her tent to apologize. Because she forgave him. Because he let her be her own person and didn’t try to foist his own views onto her ( looking at you, Guru Goody-goody).
Because they took on her mom’s killer—her personal demon—together. Because of his reaction when Jun called her his girlfriend. Because of her reaction when Jun called her his girlfriend. Because they took on Azula—his personal demon—together.
Because he took lightning for her.
Because she cried and ran to him.
Because he trusted her and she trusted him in return.
Short answer: I don’t ship Kataang because Oedipus was a tragedy for a reason. And I ship Zutara because they filled a void in the other’s life that no one else could.
People love to respond to Zutara posts by saying, “But Zutara isn’t canon!” as if that solves and negates all disputes, all niggling threads, all interaction between K/Z. To that I have the response to the opposing (and by that I mean in dynamic, not that the two sides are enemies—my own brothers ship K/A) ship, and I respond with all of the neener-neener-ing and nananana-boo-boo-ing of my very mature soul:
Our fandom has better manips, reaction gifs, fanfics, fanart, posts, analyses, and bloggers that yours does, not to mention people heavily involved in the show (I’m looking at you, Mr. Basco) that shipped our ship while not knowing how it would end.
Technically, yes, you got canon, the BDK (big darn kiss) that happens at the end of the finale.
But dude, we got everything else.