Character sourced from: Toons

Zaheer

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Added by: leroypowell3

Read more about Zaheer at: Wikipedia

Official Site: Nickelodeon

Zaheer is a major recurring character in Nickelodeon's animated television series The Legend of Korra (a sequel to Avatar: The Last Airbender). While he serves as the main antagonist of Book Three: Change, his actions have lingering effects on Avatar Korra and the series' plot in the following book. The character was created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko and is voiced by Henry Rollins. The character was well received by critics as a complex and intimidating villain.

Zaheer was born a non-bender, a person who does not possess the ability to telekinetically manipulate one of the classical elements, in a world in which many people possess such abilities. However, he attained the power of airbending shortly after the Harmonic Convergence at the end of Book Two: Spirits, quickly becoming proficient with the element. Zaheer quickly puts his skills to use two weeks after attaining them, as he is a prolific leader of the Order of the Red Lotus, a group of militant anarchists seeking to abolish the world leaders, putting him in conflict with Korra and her allies, many of whom are world leaders themselves. The name “Zaheer” comes from the 3-letter Arabic root زهر (z-h-r) that refers to enlightenment, wisdom, and blooming.

In a contrast to previous antagonists, Zaheer is portrayed as a much more sympathetic villain, as he does not desire conquest or oppression. Rather, he desires freedom for all, be they human or spirit. He genuinely believes that he is leading a revolution that will bring equality to the masses, much like Amon, and is seen hesitating to truly use lethal force unless otherwise necessary to his goals. Zaheer is depicted as having a loving relationship with his girlfriend P'Li, who he personally saved from subjugation at the hands of an unknown warlord, and enjoys a strong friendship with fellow Red Lotus members Ming Hua and Ghazan. Before attaining the power of air, Zaheer became notorious for not only his proficiency in martial arts but his ability to charm or manipulate people with his words, making him just as dangerous as his bender cohorts.

Despite his benevolent character traits, Zaheer remains an antagonist seeking to assassinate world leaders. Zaheer's character develops over the course of Book Three, as his well-intentioned and pleasant persona begins to fade as the search for Korra becomes increasingly drawn out and fruitless. Nearing the end of the season, Zaheer drops his pleasantries as he threatens the entire new Air Nation with extinction, and becomes far more malevolent when dealing with his enemies or captives. When his plans are foiled, he angrily rants that the Red Lotus' mission cannot be stopped before being imprisoned once again. After several years of incarceration, Zaheer appears to have made peace with his imprisonment, and is almost completely civil to Korra when she visits him in prison in Book Four. Zaheer's intelligence proves crucial to the final step of Korra's recovery, as she stops using him as emotional crutch to blame her slow recovery on and faces her fears of their last encounter head on. It is also Zaheer's way of making penance for his assassination of Earth Queen Hou-Ting, which allowed Kuvira to take control in a far more brutal regime than the last.

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