If you’re like most people, you discovered this blog by reading this extended review I wrote of The Legend of Korra over a year ago, most likely through a link Abigail Nussbaum graciously provided in the comments to her first-season review. You may also have stuck around long enough to read the short piece I wrote on Kuvira, the antagonist of the final season and by far my favorite character of the series. In that post, I discussed a lot of what made Kuvira such a fascinating figure to me, and how the showrunners didn’t really capitalize on her potential.
Why do I bring all this up now, you may ask? Well…I wrote a story about Kuvira at the beginning of the month, and now I’ve decided I want to show it off here. It’s a four-part story epistolary story called “The Kuvira Letters,” and it’s basically a series of ruminations by Kuvira on all the events that led to the beginning of Book 4 of Korra. Y’all can read or download it at the link below:
Now, I don’t want to get into the full “author’s commentary” mode, but I did want to mention a few things. This was my first attempt at writing fanfiction, which I suppose is a bit of a surprise considering how far I’ve been into certain fandoms in my time. I mean, I’ve loved Star Trek for years, but I’ve never written Trek fic because I never thought I could get the characters right. This time, however, I had a character with a voice I felt I could replicate, and a setting filled with world-historical significance that was deeply underdeveloped.
I suppose the biggest challenge for me was trying to find a way to integrate the events as described on the show into my own interpretation of similar events. I ended up doing a lot of quick-and-dirty reading on Qing-dynasty China and the warlord/republican era, as the Earth Kingdom was modeled pretty directly on Qing China. However, Korra‘s Earth Kingdom was one which was still suffering the effects of a long, costly war against the Fire Nation for decades, and where there was no equivalent to the Western commercial exploitation that slowly undid the Manchu emperors. Furthermore, after the monarchy collapsed, there was only three years of disorder, rather than the ten-to-fifty years China endured, depending on who’s doing the counting. As a result, I created a hybrid situation, with the collapse and restoration becoming a vaguely Sinicized version of the Bolshevik Revolution, the one revolution I both had the most knowledge about and which fit the timescales dictated by the show.
Honestly, the whole experience was a lot of fun. I got to do my own take on a character I liked, hint at new ones I’d like to put in other fics someday, and I got to learn a bunch of stuff about something new. It was a good experience, and I’m probably going to be doing it again soon.
As for the dream and that figure at the end…well, I must keep some secrets, right?