Four Nations: Earth, Fire, Air, and Water. Sixteen personality types... that we'll get into a bit later. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is generally reserved for people that are just a bit less imaginary but that doesn’t have to stop us from doing a deep-dive into our favorite characters.
In the world of Avatar: The Last Airbender, the nation of origin says a lot about a character’s personality traits, whether it’s the free-spirited and adventurous Airbenders, the calm and fluid water tribe, or the hot-headed and dangerous fire nation. Let’s take a peek into the heads of our favorite benders and see what we can learn about them by using this helpful psychological framework to analyze some of their key actions throughout the series.
10. Aang: The Campaigner - ENFP
Aang and other ENFPs like him are often thrust into positions of power by those around them, which is usually exactly the opposite of what the free-spirited Airbender wants. The entire series is based on this simple fact. The day Aang finds out how real his responsibilities as the Avatar will be, he grabs Appa and flies off like he’s trying to start a series or something. Responsibility and structure is the nightmare of the ENFP, and they excel when improvising and socializing. For the ENFP, rallying the troops isn’t something they’d ever consider an issue. They are naturally personable and magnetic, drawing in others around them to their cause almost effortlessly--especially when they’ve got a good reason, like getting the Fire Lord to just chill already.
9. Katara: The Consul - ESFJ
Katara is an ESFJ, as her healing ability would suggest. ESFJs are concerned with the people around them and their well-being to an almost obsessive degree. This personality type is the healer of the party, and the one most likely to understand the strengths of the group as a whole, if only because they're so wrapped up in everyone else’s wellbeing. This personality type performs best when playing to an audience, gaining energy by socializing and getting involved in the lives of those around them. It’s no wonder Katara was the first one to go to bat for Aang when he was set free from his icy enclosure after a hundred years. With Katara, being caring and compassionate is second-nature, which makes her exactly the type of person you need to run into while down on your luck.
8. Sokka: The Debater - ENTP
ENTPs are innovators, whether it’s coming up with faux bending to break into the fire temple or an airship slice - you can count on ENTPs to get you out of just about any situation. They are quick-witted, good with people, intelligent, and knowledgeable. One of my favorite scenes, which perfectly encapsulates Sokka and his personality type, is in “Book Two: Earth E15 The Tales Of Ba Sing Se” where Sokka has an impromptu haiku battle with the teacher of a poetry class. This one scene is everything you need to know about Sokka and other ENTPs. Sokka is an innovator always looking for a loophole or a better way to get something done. Airship slice!
7. Toph: The Virtuoso - ISTP
Toph is an innovator and someone who’s not afraid to take something down to its parts to understand it a little better. A perfect example of this is Toph’s invention of Metalbending, in which a recognition of the metal’s basic components saves her life and births an entirely new form of bending. An ISTP won’t be able to articulate how they learned to metalbend to you, but they’ll certainly be able to show you. ISTPs don’t have much patience for people and prefer action rather than sitting around discussing theory and strategy. Toph would honestly rather live in a swamp than have to deal with any more idiots, but when things are getting heavy she’ll have no problem creating a way out.
6. Zuko: The Adventurer - ISFP
ISFPs have an affinity for risky behavior, like high stakes gambling, high adrenaline activities, or dressing up as the blue spirit in order to free Aang from Admiral Zhao's custody. ISFPs don’t really care how others perceive them, rather, what’s most important to the ISFP is living a life in accordance with their values. We see the awful consequences of Zuko’s refusal to live in harmony with his values as well the drastic changes that his acceptance of those values brings about. Zuko, like most ISFPs, is socially rather shy and quirky. We don’t get to see this behavior often as we rarely see him interacting with his peers - but when he does, Zuko is withdrawn and rather separated. This introverted tendency sometimes appears as an awkwardness that is only outdone by Azula’s outright failure in any social situation.
5. General Iroh: The Mediator - INFP
Iroh and INFPs like him, more than any other personality type, are focused on making the world a better place for all people. They are the idealists, the optimists, and the dreamers. Iroh is reserved and laidback, respecting the individuals right to freedom above all else. This personality type will see the good in anyone and will work relentlessly to bring that out, which is what made him the perfect mentor for a struggling young soul like Zuko. INFPs are the perfect match for dealing with pain and suffering, skillfully transmuting them into love and understanding.
4. Jet: The Entrepreneur - ESTP
While Toph is exhausted by people and prefers to be alone when she needs to recharge, Jet is empowered by the people around him. ESTPs, much like their ISTP counterparts, are incredibly inventive and thrive while engaging others and building a community beneath them. Jet has no problem playing outside the rules if he knows it’ll get him the results he wants. ESTPs have no problem sizing up a situation and moving it towards something more favorable to them. Jet and ESTPs like him make great leaders because they are naturals when it comes to thinking on their feet and fantastic at getting others to back them up.
3. Azula: The Commander - ENTJ
A lot of people probably hear a word like “Extroverted” and think “Good with people”. Well, Azula is the antithesis to that. She, much like other ENJTs, is a very direct personality and is constantly trying to increase efficiency. When communicating with Azula, don’t bother wasting your time with all the pleasantries because chances are that she doesn’t have time for them and she’s about to go full Zeus on you. ENTJs seek positions of power and may just be the people best fit for them, because they tend to have a hard time taking time for themselves, almost as if they need outside permission to do so. It kinda makes you wonder how Azula would have turned out with a kinder, less authoritarian father.
2. Fire Lord Ozai: The Executive - ESTJ
Despite - or perhaps due to him being a total fascist and just a real bummer of a dude, Ozai is a natural leader. Ozai is a no-nonsense fire lord. He cares not for petty things like emotions or feelings. He is traditional and demands his word be respected and taken as law. ESTJs are straightforward communicators and prefer to use their actions to communicate, y’know, subtle things like invading three nations - or using a comets power to scorch earth beneath them while floating on giant death balloons. Fire Lord Ozai may not be the best role model for ESTJs, so on the other end of the spectrum, we have someone like Tobirama Senju (from Naruto). Don’t be an Ozai, kids. Nobody likes an angry ex-firebender that tried to take over the world. Be a Tobirama.
1. Cabbage Guy: The Entrepreneur - ESTP
Oh, Cabbage Guy. You poor, hard-working, walking personification of Murphy’s law. Cabbage Guy is the shining epitome of the entrepreneurial spirit. A true salesman that prefers the freedom the road has to off rather than any cushy desk job. ESTPs are naturally gifted at taking in the world around them exactly as it is with no thought for any symbolism or hidden meaning beneath the facts. We don’t know much about Cabbage Guy’s background but we do know that his personality type is more likely to chase risk and adventure. It’s not hard to imagine him storming out of an Earth Nation post office to pursue his dream of working for himself in the exciting world of cabbage retail. Cabbage Guy may seem stressed about his cabbages constantly meeting their demise but underneath that he’s thrilled to have another problem to solve. Cabbage Corp. didn’t just build itself, Y'know?