Warning: This contains spoilers for the series finale of The Legend of Korra.
If you, like countless other fans, interpreted the ending of The Legend of Korra as Korra and Asami gazing lovingly -- romantically -- at one another as they walked off, hand in hand, into the spirit portal, you definitely aren't mistaken.
Vanity Fair, which took notice of the scene over the weekend in an article that dubbed the Nickelodeon cartoon "one of the most powerful, subversive shows of 2014," spotted blog posts from series creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko that cleared up any ambiguity about Friday's finale.
In a post titled "Korrasami Confirmed," referring to the mash-up name created by fans of the pairing, DiMartino wrote:
Our intention with the last scene was to make it as clear as possible that yes, Korra and Asami have romantic feelings for each other. The moment where they enter the spirit portal symbolizes their evolution from being friends to being a couple. Many news outlets, bloggers, and fans picked up on this and didn’t find it ambiguous. For the most part, it seems like the point of the scene was understood and additional commentary wasn’t really needed from Bryan or me. But in case people were still questioning what happened in the last scene, I wanted to make a clear verbal statement to complement the show’s visual one. I get that not everyone will be happy with the way that the show ended. Rarely does a series finale of any show satisfy that show’s fans, so I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the positive articles and posts I’ve seen about Korra’s finale.
On his own blog, Konietzko went into detail about portraying the relationship on television. At first he and DiMartino assumed there would be roadblocks from Nickelodeon, but they decided to find out exactly what those might be:
We approached the network and while they were supportive there was a limit to how far we could go with it, as just about every article I read accurately deduced. It was originally written in the script over a year ago that Korra and Asami held hands as they walked into the spirit portal. We went back and forth on it in the storyboards, but later in the retake process I staged a revision where they turned towards each other, clasping both hands in a reverential manner, in a direct reference to Varrick and Zhu Li’s nuptial pose from a few minutes prior. We asked Jeremy Zuckerman to make the music tender and romantic, and he fulfilled the assignment with a sublime score. I think the entire last two-minute sequence with Korra and Asami turned out beautiful, and again, it is a resolution of which I am very proud. I love how their relationship arc took its time, through kindness and caring. If it seems out of the blue to you, I think a second viewing of the last two seasons would show that perhaps you were looking at it only through a hetero lens.
The move is a historic one in children's animation, as Vanity Fair pointed out. Konietzko added they went down this road as a way to include all kinds of people in this medium:
We did it for all our queer friends, family, and colleagues. It is long over due that our media (including children’s media) stops treating non-heterosexual people as nonexistent, or as something merely to be mocked. I’m only sorry it took us so long to have this kind of representation in one of our stories.
To catch up on the final season -- or fourth book -- of The Legend of Korra, steam the episodes on the Nickelodeon website.