I was protecting you from the shame I brought on the family.
~ Tonraq explaining the reason for his secrecy to Korra.
Tonraq is one of main supporting characters in The Legend of Korra. He is a powerful waterbending master and the current chief of the Southern Water Tribe. Born as heir to the Chief of both Water Tribes, he is the older brother of Unalaq. Growing up in the Northern Water Tribe, Tonraq served as the Northern military's general in his youth, though was banished and disinherited following the destruction of a sacred spiritual forest at his hands. He moved to the Southern Water Tribe where he became the tribe's unofficial leader and married Senna, with whom he has one daughter, Korra.

For many years, Tonraq lived in peace with his family, but when the tensions between the Northern and Southern Tribe escalated into open civil war, he discovered Unalaq's secret scheme that had caused his banishment. After this revelation, he took on the leadership of the Southern Water Tribe rebels in order to fight his younger brother and the Northern army. After Unalaq's death, the South gained independence from the North and the Council of Elders officially appointed Tonraq as the first Southern chief.


Early life

Tonraq was born in the Northern Water Tribe to the chief of the Water Tribes and he later became the older brother of Unalaq. As the chief's firstborn, Tonraq was next in line to become chief of the tribe. He grew up to be a powerful waterbending master and became the general of the Northern troops.

Young Tonraq

Tonraq and his men chased the barbarians into the frozen tundra.

In 151 AG, Tonraq was alerted by his younger brother that the tribe was under attack by marauding barbarians, and he immediately led his warriors into battle, chasing the invaders out of the city and into an isolated forest. The barbarians believed that they would not be attacked on what many perceived to be holy ground, but Tonraq ordered his troops to attack anyway. They managed to capture the barbarians, though had destroyed the forest in the process, and by doing so, unknowingly set loose angry spirits. That night, Tonraq awoke to the sounds of the city being attacked by the vengeful spirits. He immediately sprung to action, though his waterbending proved to be futile against the hostile entities. Although Unalaq managed to calm the spirits down and guided them back to the forest, Tonraq was banished from the North by the chief, his father, as he was the cause of much destruction. His birthright as heir to the throne was revoked and passed to Unalaq. Tonraq set sail for the Southern Water Tribe in order to start a new life. There, he met his eventual wife, Senna. Two years later, he became the father of the next Avatar, Korra.

After his daughter was born in 153 AG, Unalaq came to see Tonraq, asking for his permission to train Korra in the spiritual ways of the Water Tribe. However, Tonraq refused and continued to refuse his brother's proposition for many years.

170 AG

Four years later, Tonraq called out to the Order of the White Lotus, alerting them that his daughter was the new Avatar. On a stormy night, he welcomed a delegation of three White Lotus members into his home, and he watched proudly how his daughter displayed her waterbending, earthbending, and firebending abilities. Sometime after this, Zaheer, P'Li, Ghazan, and Ming-Hua attempted to kidnap Korra, but Tonraq, along with Tenzin, Chief Sokka, and Fire Lord Zuko, stopped the criminals and placed them in special prisons designed to neutralize their bending. In response to the group's attempt, Tonraq and Tenzin decided to keep Korra isolated in a compound in the Southern Water Tribe for her own safety, so she could focus completely on mastering the bending arts.

Korra and her parents hug

Tonraq and his wife bade their daughter farewell.

When Korra was seventeen years old, Tonraq and Senna bade their daughter farewell as she left the Southern Tribe to travel to Republic City in order to find her own path as the Avatar.

Several months later, Tonraq, together with his wife and several of Korra's friends and allies, was present at the Southern Water Tribe compound when Katara attempted to remove Amon's bloodbending block from Korra and reconnect her to the elements. Katara's failure to do so left both him distraught, though after the spirit of Avatar Aang restored her connection to her bending abilities, he watched proudly as Korra restored Lin Beifong's earthbending at the Avatar Temple.

171 AG

The Glacier Spirits Festival

Six months later, Tonraq saw his daughter again when she and her friends returned to the South Pole for the Glacier Spirits Festival. When reintroduced to Mako, Tonraq sternly asked if he was keeping his daughter out of trouble before changing his mood at the behest of Korra. Much to Tonraq's chagrin, Unalaq and his twin children had also arrived for the festival. Despite his wife's assurances that his brother would soon be gone again, Tonraq maintained a tense attitude toward the Chief of the North.

Immediately afterward, Tonraq took a walk with Korra, his brother, and Tenzin throughout the festival grounds.

Unalaq began criticizing the lack of spirituality during the festival. Tonraq stated that traditions change, and that it was not the end of the world. His brother reminded him that sailors have been attacked by angry spirits on their ships. Unalaq offered to mentor Korra, teaching her the spiritual ways of his people, but Tonraq interrupted him by emphasizing that Tenzin was his daughter's teacher.

Tonraq opposing Unalaq

Tonraq opposed Unalaq's proposal to become Korra's spiritual instructor.

However, he was slightly embarrassed when Unalaq revealed that it had been his and Tenzin's decision to keep Korra secluded at the Southern Water Tribe, as opposed to it being Aang's decision like she had been told. To soothe his annoyed daughter, Tonraq informed her that he had done what he thought was best for her, although Korra was not happy with his defense. As Unalaq went on a few moments later with a speech about the festival, Tonraq glared in annoyance at his brother upon hearing that the Chief of the North thought nothing more of the festival as it being a cheap carnival in celebration of greedy and trivial humans. He became altered, however, when his brother mentioned that the north would become more involved in the south in order to protect it from slipping into total spiritual decay.

That night, Tonraq was roused from his sleep by Naga's howling and the sounds of people battling. He rushed out of his house to find a dark spirit assaulting Korra. He immediately came to her assistance, encasing the spirit in ice. However, the icy prison proved to be insufficient to hold the entity, as the spirit broke though and flailed its tendrils, sweeping Tonraq aside; he landed roughly against the side of a house. After Unalaq had used his special technique to help the spirit depart in peace, Tonraq rushed to his daughter's side. However, when he got into another argument with his brother about who would teach Korra, he was promptly silenced by his daughter, who was fed up with him telling her what to do and whom to train with.

Journey to the center of the South Pole

Unalaq and Tonraq

Tonraq insisted on accompanying Korra to the South Pole.

Sometime later, Tonraq caught wind of Unalaq's plan to take Korra to the center of the South Pole, and he insisted on accompanying them. Unalaq tried refusing him, stating him to be a distraction to Korra and a hindrance to what needed to be done, though Tonraq roughly argued that since their destination meant traversing the Everstorm, he would accompany them in order to protect Korra. He was chided by his brother for being misguided, as it were men like him who had put the Spirit World out of balance. He dismissed Unalaq again, and reaffirmed that he was joining the expedition, challenging Unalaq to try and stop him. However, before the argument could get completely out of hand, the tense stare-down between the brothers was interrupted by Bolin. He received permission from Korra to accompany them, under the condition that he did not interfere at all with her training.

As the party ventured further into the frozen tundra of the south, they noticed that they were being followed by dark spirits. In order to avoid a conflict, Tonraq instructed everyone to keep moving, so that they could find a safe place to set up camp for the night. While sitting by the campfire before a cave that would shelter them from the harsh weather, Unalaq told everyone that the spirits were angry because Tonraq was with them, and as such, Tonraq was forced to reveal his past to his daughter, something he had kept hidden from her all that time. The revelation angered Korra, and Tonraq's pleas for understanding, that he only did so in order to protect her from the shame he had brought to the family, fell into deaf ears.

As they moved on to their destination, Tonraq tried to make amends with his daughter. He emphasized that she had every right to be angry with him, but also that he was only trying to protect her from making the same mistakes as him, admitting that he never should have entered the sacred forest twenty years prior. He stated that they thus should not go to South Pole now, as it was his belief that the spirits and the physical world should remain separate. When Korra reminded him that, as the Avatar, she was the bridge between both worlds, Tonraq insisted that she did not even know Unalaq was telling the truth. The argument was interrupted when Unalaq backed up his story by pointing out the absence of the southern lights.

Tonraq seeing the southern lights

Tonraq noticed the restoration of the southern lights as he headed home.

When they arrived to the Everstorm, the party was ambushed by dark spirits. Noticing a spirit charging at Korra, Tonraq used his bending to move his daughter to safety and attack the charging entity, though he was easily brushed aside. After Unalaq had driven off the spirits, it became apparent that the team's supplies and equipment had been destroyed. Tonraq insisted they turned back, stating it had become too dangerous to keep pressing forward. However, when he firmly said that they were leaving, Korra coldly interjected, telling that he was the only one who would be leaving. After Mako ensured him that he would keep an eye on Korra, Tonraq reluctantly complied with his daughter's wish. As he was riding back home, the sky suddenly lit up with the southern lights, and he stopped to gaze at the spectacle, smiling proudly at the success of his daughter.

The rebellion

Southern Water Tribe meeting

Tonraq called a tribe meeting at his home to discuss the Northern Water Tribe's invasion.

After seeing the fleet of Northern Water Tribe vessels, Tonraq called a meeting at his home to discuss what was happening and what the Southern Water Tribe should do. After seeing his daughter angered by Varrick's idea to go to war, he told her that Unalaq was the one who started the tensions, though he asked Korra nonetheless to go talk to her uncle and mediate at their behalf. After she left, Tonraq was approached by Varrick, who stated that the South should prepare for war.

Later that day, Tonraq broke up a fight between Northern and Southern waterbenders, coming to his daughter's aid as she had been unable to do so. He sternly told the Southerners to return to their houses, as the Northern Water Tribe soldiers were not worth their trouble. Since the tensions were still high between him and his daughter, Tonraq attempted to strike a conversation with her, though she left, despite him calling after her.

At some point during the day, Tonraq was approached by angered Southerners who wanted to start a rebellion to expel the Northern troops and their chief. However, Tonraq decided against joining their cause, as he would not rise against his brother.

The following day, when Tonraq was enjoying a meal with his wife, his daughter came by their house. She happily embraced Tonraq, who lovingly held his daughter. As she expressed her relief over his absence among the rebel force, he made it clear that he was unaware of the lengths Varrick was willing to go, and continued with an apology for having held Korra back all those years, as he was very proud of the Avatar she had become. After he reconciled with Korra, the little family shared a tender moment, though it was interrupted when Unalaq came in. Tonraq curtly stated that they were not expecting him, though much to his surprise, Unalaq ordered him and Senna be arrested and tried for conspiring an assassination of the chief.

Tonraq was placed on trial with his wife and the other captive rebels before Judge Hotah. Though Hotah ruled Senna innocent and had her released, he sentenced Tonraq and the others to death. Korra became outraged at the ruling and threatened to kill Hotah, forcing Unalaq to convince Hotah to remand the sentence to life imprisonment.

Tonraq was later visited in prison by his wife and daughter. Though Korra wanted to break him out, Tonraq advised against it, as she would be starting a war, in which the North would crush the South.

Tonraq learns the truth

Tonraq learned the truth about his brother's intentions.

Much later, Tonraq and the other prisoners were transferred onto a prison ship bound for the North, only to be busted out by Team Avatar. Once safely on Varrick's yacht, Korra revealed that she had found out from Hotah that it was Unalaq who orchestrated the barbarians attack on the North which led to Tonraq's banishment, as well as staged the trial to get his brother out of the way. Shocked to learn of his brother's betrayal, Tonraq resolved to remain in the south to organize resistance against Unalaq, and advised Korra to appeal to the United Republic's president, Raiko, for aid from the United Forces.

Tonraq and the other rebels retreated to the surrounding mountains of the Southern Water Tribe capital city. After months passed since Unalaq's occupation of the South, the rebels could not wait any longer for Korra's return and Tonraq guided them back to the city, intending to expel the Northern troops by themselves.

Tonraq fighting Unalaq

Tonraq fought his brother one-on-one in an attempt to end the Water Tribe Civil War.

By nightfall, they managed to push Unalaq's forces back, though as Tonraq commented on their achievement, Desna and Eska arrived with several dark spirits, as well as Unalaq. The reinforcements proved to be too much for the rebels and Tonraq ordered his men to fall back, while he was going after his brother. After taking out Unalaq's bodyguards, he caught up to his brother. After Tonraq had his first attack stopped, he denounced Unalaq as his brother, since he betrayed him and had him banished, as well as the true chief of the Water Tribes. A heavy battle ensues between the brothers. Tonraq eventually managed to get within striking distance of Unalaq, but before he could land his blow, Unalaq struck Tonraq's unprotected stomach with an ice pillar. Trapped in ice, Tonraq received a devastating blow which left him defeated.

Tonraq was imprisoned in a tent in a Northern encampment near the South Pole, where he was joined by his daughter and her friends, as well as by Tenzin and his siblings. He apologized to Korra, believing to have failed her since he was not able to retake the Southern Water Tribe before Harmonic Convergence came around. When Unalaq announced his plan to fuse with Vaatu to become a Dark Avatar, Tonraq pleaded with his brother to reconsider for the sake of his humanity. Tonraq and the others were saved by Bumi, and a heavily wounded Tonraq was staggered to the Southern spirit portal, supported by Mako and Bolin. There, he told Korra to enter the Spirit World, while he would remain behind and fend off anyone who tried to follow her. However, his suggestion was turned down by Korra, and after sharing a hug with her and telling her he loved her, he was flown back to the compound on Oogi by Asami.

He remained in the healing hut with Senna, Asami, and Katara to watch over Jinora's spiritless body. After the young airbender woke up, he happily hugged his wife upon hearing the news that their daughter was all right and had saved the world. After Korra returned to the mortal world, Tonraq was announced by his daughter to have been elected by the Council of Elders as the new chief of the now independent Southern Water Tribe. He also had his banishment from the Northern Water Tribe revoked.

Stopping the Red Lotus

Two weeks later, Tonraq traveled to the Northern Water Tribe, where he met up with Lord Zuko. They visited the new chiefs of the North, Desna and Eska, and alerted them that they needed to check up on a secret ice prison in the western tundra. While traveling down the elevator to the bowels of the prison, Tonraq interrupted Zuko and Eska's conversation on their attempts on Avatar Aang and Korra's life, respectively in favor of their undivided focus on keeping P'Li in prison.

Tonraq and his friends attack the Red Lotus

Tonraq, joined by Lord Zuko, Desna, and Eska, charged at the Red Lotus in an attempt to keep them from freeing P'Li.

Tonraq stood with Desna and Eska while Zuko returned from his aerial scouting mission on Druk, his dragon. Upon asking whether or not he had seen something, Zuko pointed Tonraq in the direction of an apparent snowstorm, which the chief recognized to be Zaheer's doing. As the Red Lotus members drew near, Tonraq and his companions charged them, while vowing to the airbender to imprison him again as he had done before. The Southern chief promptly locked in battle with Zaheer, however, soon after Ming-Hua resurfaced with a freed P'Li, the combustion bender moved to attack Tonraq. He tried to protect himself from the attack with a wall of ice, though the charge exploded against the ice and he was thrown back, knocked unconscious.

Tonraq and Korra

Tonraq learned from Korra that it was the Red Lotus who was targeting her and the world leaders.

Sometime later, Tonraq received word from Lin Beifong that Korra's jeep had been found abandoned outside the Misty Palms Oasis and he was implored to meet the Chief of Police at that location. He traveled there with Zuko on Druk and awaited his daughter's return at a local cantina. When she and Asami eventually returned, Tonraq hugged her, relieved that she was safe. Learning that Asami was to thank for their escape out of the Si Wong Desert, he politely nodded at the engineer, before reintroducing Korra to Zuko and asking if she had already heard the news of Earth Queen Hou-Ting's fall. When Korra instantly recognized that act to be the Red Lotus' handiwork, Tonraq was warned by his daughter that the fall of the Queen's reign would only be the beginning.

When Mako and Bolin revealed that the Red Lotus was on its way toward the Northern Air Temple to wipe out the Air Nation, Tonraq suggested that Zaheer was bluffing, though Mako pointed out that the airbender was not the type to bluff, considering he already took down the Earth Queen. When the team voiced the need for a radio, he reminded them that there was a portable model in the jeeps they used to get there, though its signal would not be strong enough to reach the temple. As such, they all headed toward Zaofu, where a stronger radio transmitter could be found. When Suyin announced that she would prepare her airship to leave for the temple herself, Tonraq helped her make the necessary arrangements.

Attempt to ambush the Red Lotus

Team Avatar tactics discussion

En route to the Northern Air Temple, Suyin tried to come up with a battle plan.

On board the Zaofu airship with the Beifong siblings, the Metal Clan guards, and Team Avatar, Tonraq took part in a discussion of how to attack the Red Lotus, suggesting Lin's idea to approach from the mountainside could work. He gave a weird look at Bolin when he suggested disguising himself as a lost hiker and luring the Red Lotus out with bird calls. Upon Korra suggesting she turn herself over, Tonraq told her they could figure out another way, but when she told them to first save the Air Nation to help the world's balance, he assured her they would be with her. After asking if her daughter spoke with Zaheer, she told them about his new terms: she go to Zaheer alone at Laghima's Peak at noon, once there, he would release the airbenders. Suyin suggested using their numbers advantage to split into teams; Tonraq would join her, Lin, and the metalbenders at the base of the peak.

Before the group separated, Tonraq embraced Korra, telling her he was proud of her and that her risk to save the Air Nation would be remembered for generations. He reciprocated her expression of love before they broke away, Korra warning him that Zaheer was not fond of world leaders, to which he told her he could handle him; she just had to stay focused on her mission. He formed water tendrils and ascended up the mountain with the metalbenders.

Korra and Tonraq versus Zaheer

Tonraq fought alongside Korra against Zaheer.

The group soon learned the Red Lotus had double-crossed them. Tonraq shot up the mountain just as Zaheer was about to escape with Korra, attacking with his tendrils. When Korra fell off the side of the cliff, he used the extensions to grasp her by the wrists, encase them in ice, and pull her back up. He cut the Red Lotus' airship from its rope anchor, leaving Zaheer with nowhere to go. The waterbender and airbender traded blows, neither able to land a significant shot. After his daughter knocked their enemy down momentarily, Tonraq froze his tendrils and went in for a finishing blow, only for Zaheer to jump away at the last minute, ensnare him in a tornado, and throw him off the cliff. He was saved when Kuvira caught him with her metal wires, but was left to watch in sadness as Zaheer flew away with his daughter.

Tonraq and Kuvira

Kuvira tended to Tonraq's injuries after an altercation with Zaheer and P'Li.

The group settled in a forest outside the temple, where Kuvira bandaged Tonraq up. He told her he owed the metalbender his life and thanked her. They were soon rejoined by the rest of Team Avatar, Tenzin, and Kai on his baby bison, Lefty. Mako told them about their escape with Bolin's lavabending. With Zaheer having taken Korra, Tonraq asked what their next move would be. Kai told them about where the airbenders were: a series of caves owned by the Red Lotus. With Oogi returning to them, the group had a sensible way to reach the location in question.

Rescue mission

After Kai led the group to the caves, Tonraq and Bolin helped Tenzin off Oogi before going in with the rest of the group. They broke through and, after quickly disabling the Red Lotus sentries, got the captives released from their chains. Tonraq told the group to get everyone out while he searched for Korra, Mako and Bolin coming with him. Jinora gave them her location before they set off.

Upon arriving in Korra's prison hold, they found her in the Avatar State and beginning an aggressive pursuit of Zaheer. He wanted to help out, but was blocked off by Ghazan. Mako told Tonraq to get out, assuring him he and Bolin would take care of Ghazan and Ming-Hua. The waterbender emerged from the cave, telling the remainder of the group they needed to help Korra.

Fearful Tonraq

Fearing for his daughter's life, Tonraq tenderly held her hand while she passed out.

Though the airbenders were able to combine the powers and use a tornado to free Korra from Zaheer's grasp, she was left in a perilous condition due to the poison that had been drawn into her skin. Tonraq held his daughter in his arms, caressing her cheek and telling her to hang on. When her eyes closed, he began to tear up, continuing to clutch her as Suyin worked to bend the metallic substance out of her. After Korra was freed of the poison and began talking to Tonraq, he embraced her tightly, saying he would never let go.

Two weeks later on Air Temple Island, Tonraq joined Senna, the Beifong siblings, Tenzin's family, Zuko, and President Raiko as Asami wheeled out a debilitated Korra to them. Seeing her in her formal attire, Tonraq knelt down to her daughter, telling her she looked beautiful and kissing her on the forehead, earning a faint smile from Korra. When Raiko commented she did not look good, Tonraq told him he would not either if he went through the same ordeal. He later watched as Jinora's airbending master tattoos were revealed by Tenzin at a formal ceremony.

174 AG

Three years later, Tonraq traveled back to Republic City and was warmly welcomed to Air Temple Island by Tenzin. However, when the airbending master stated that everyone was excited to see Korra again, he grew confused, as he had been under the impression that his daughter was already in the city, having left the Southern Water Tribe six months prior, and noted that he had received a number of letters from Korra stating as such. When Tenzin assured him that Korra was not with them, Tonraq asked where his daughter was if not there.



Tonraq attempts to strike Zaheer

As a strong man, Tonraq favors powerful blows and strikes in his waterbending.

As a waterbending master, Tonraq is able to use his abilities to effectively maneuver over the battlefield. Contrary to a more classical style of waterbending, Tonraq tends to rely more on his own brute strength to overpower his opponents; combined with his quick reflexes, this makes him a dangerous adversary, to the point that he was able to temporarily hold off skilled benders such as Unalaq and Zaheer.

Other skills

As a former general in the Northern Water Tribe army, Tonraq is a very capable leader and fighter, showing great proficiency in Water Tribe weaponry. His great physical strength and endurance makes him resilient in battle. Tonraq has also proven himself to be very charismatic and insightful, which gained him great respect from the people of the Southern Water Tribe.

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