Villain Overview

It's impossible to fight your way out of my grip! I control every muscle, every vein in your body!
~ Hama uses Bloodbending on Katara
They threw me in prison to rot, along with my brothers and sisters! They deserve the same! You must carry on my work.
~ Hama explains her motivation to Katara.
She seems like a normal old woman. But she controls people, like some dark puppetmaster.
~ A Fire Nation villager comments on Hama's true nature.
My work is done. Congratulations, Katara. You're a Bloodbender.
~ Hama's last taunt to Katara.

Hama, also known as "The Puppetmaster" or "The Witch", is a minor yet pivotal antagonist from the animated television series Avatar: The Last Airbender, appearing in the Book 3 episode "The Puppetmaster". Hama is a ruthless Waterbender who, after being abducted by the Fire Nation, developed the taboo practice of Bloodbending to exact her revenge on the Fire Nation and any others that stand in her way.

She is voiced by Tress MacNeille, who also voiced Sarah Ravencroft in Scooby Doo and the Witch's Ghost.

Biography

Hama is a Waterbender hailing from the Southern Water Tribe. She was taken captive by the Southern Raiders, and imprisoned. She discovered her Waterbending's power increased during a full moon and began to utilize this as a means to manipulate the blood within an individual's body, starting with the jail rats and later a Fire Nation man whom she forced to unlock her cage, inventing the art of Bloodbending.

Seventy-five years after her escape from prison, Hama settled down in a Fire Nation village, posing as a kind innkeeper. Secretly, she would use Bloodbending to control villagers, kidnapping them and imprisoning them in an underground cavern as revenge for her imprisonment.

When Team Avatar arrive, she is initially kind to them, as she believes they share her hatred for the Fire Nation. Upon seeing Katara's Waterbending prowess, Hama decides that Katara would be the perfect pupil to carry on her teachings in Bloodbending. She shows Katara how to draw water from the environment around her, such as from plants and air, and teaches her about the full moon's boost to their power. When Hama finally introduces Katara to Bloodbending, Katara is horrified and refuses to use it. Katara puts together that Hama is the reason behind the villagers' disappearances, and renounces her as a teacher. Enraged, Hama begins using her Bloodbending on Katara, tortuously forcing her to contort and dance. Katara retaliates with her own Waterbending and begins to overpower Hama, but when Sokka and Aang arrive, Hama controls them into attacking Katara and eventually each other. As Hama sends Sokka to stab Aang, Katara is forced to intervene and Bloodbends Hama herself. Toph later frees the imprisoned villagers, and promptly arrests Hama, who then proclaims her work to be done and congratulates Katara for having become a Bloodbender. As Hama is taken away to be imprisoned for the rest of her life, she laughs maniacally, leaving Katara sobbing in fear and guilt.

Many years later, Hama's bloodbending technique became outlawed due to the efforts of Katara following the formation of Republic City.

Personality

Hama initially appears to be a gentle, kind old woman. She possesses a caring, maternal personality, which eventually won Katara's full trust. However, Hama’s true nature proves her to be vengeful, cruel, determined, and arrogant. She fought persistently to ward off the Fire Nation during the Southern Water Tribe raids. However, later events brought out a much darker and unstable side of Hama. Her discovery of Bloodbending led her to become power-hungry and radically driven to exact revenge on Fire Nation civilians whenever possible. Holding a lifelong grudge, she actively retaliated against the Fire Nation by odiously imprisoning local villagers as a way to punish the Fire Nation for the devastation they brought upon the Southern Water Tribe. She revealed a cruel side to her, showing no mercy toward random Fire Nation citizens or even Katara, as she willingly used Bloodbending on her.

When she met Katara, she wanted to pass on the Southern Water Style so it would not die along with her, as well as her own invention of Bloodbending, stating "Katara must carry on her work". She showed herself to be an encouraging teacher, if not a little immersed in instructing Katara. But her real goal was to ensure Bloodbending would not die with her, and that Katara would use it for the same reason Hama did: to get revenge on the Fire Nation in the name of the Southern Water Tribe.

Hama was shaped by a tragic and unjust history, having spent her youth trying to protect her tribe alongside her fellow waterbenders. Her unjust and cruel imprisonment served to fester her hate towards the Fire Nation and strive to escape, despite her prison designed to hold Waterbenders. She would soon realize that, with the full moon giving her strength, there had to be a way to escape, and that wherever there was life there was water. She concluded that bodies were like skins filled with liquid; with the power of the full moon, she discovered bloodbending, enabling her to manipulate living creatures, and spent years honing the technique, due to the short periods of the full moon. Once she mastered the rats, she targeted the guards, and forced one to release her, allowing her to walk free for the first time in years.

However, her long confinement having preserved her hate, and her new power had long since corrupted Hama, and instead of returning home she chose to take revenge against the people of the Fire Nation, wherever they were, however she could. She became no better than those who had stolen her freedom, when she imprisoned random Fire Nation citizens, with the intention of leaving them to rot as she and her fellow Waterbenders had been, and expressed not a drop of remorse when she was at last foiled, instead satisfied that she had succeeded in forcibly passing on her technique to Katara, mockingly congratulating her successor as she was led away in chains, this time to spend the rest of her life locked up. By the time of The legend of Korra, she has passed away, but her legacy continued through her Bloodbending. One who became even more powerful than Hama was Yakone, born several years later, a Bloodbender who could bend people without a full moon.

Abilities

Waterbending

Hama was a very powerful and creative Waterbender, and, along with Katara, one of the two known living Waterbenders from the Southern Water Tribe. She was also the only remaining master of the Southern Style, until she passed her knowledge on to Katara. Hama was resourceful enough to draw water from plants, and even from thin air, to fuel her bending. She must also have been very skilled in combat, as she resisted capture the longest during the Southern Water Tribe raids.

Hama was such a proficient Waterbender that she was able to manipulate the water from grass, flowers, and even trees and use it in combat or for other purposes. This contributed to her resourcefulness. She was also able to pull water out of the air, making her a very formidable opponent.

Bloodbending

Having spent years with the single-minded goal of perfecting this art, Hama became highly skilled at bloodbending, a technique that allowed her to manipulate the blood in other creatures' bodies, effectively giving her control over her target's actions, and she could even be use it to torture them. The technique was powerful, and Hama was skilled enough in its use that she could simultaneously control Aang and Sokka with great finesse.

Other Skills

Hama was a capable teacher, passing on all knowledge of Southern Style Waterbending to Katara in a short amount of time, though Katara was already a master in her own right. Hama also proved to be a skilled actress, hiding her grudge against her Fire Nation neighbors as she enacted her revenge on them one by one, even disguising her grim intentions from Toph, who had proven herself to be very capable of detecting lies. Hama was also very intellectual, as she managed to escape a prison designed to hold Waterbenders, and was the only one to do so. Even before that, however, she proved to be a capable fighter, as she was able to evade the Fire Nation Army until she was the last Waterbender left in her entire tribe. And after escaping prison, she concealed herself and successfully shook off suspicion, taking up residence in a small town as an innkeeper, and would have presumably been able to spend the rest of her life as a free woman, had she not seen passing on her skills as more crucial, and revealing herself to Katara for whom she really is.

Trivia

  • Hama inventing bloodbending would indirectly lead to the Equalist revolution in Republic City, after crime boss Yakone and his sons Noatak and Tarrlok learned Bloodbending and experimented with it. 
  • The name "Hama" is similar to the Greek word haima (αίμα), meaning "blood", which is appropriate as Hama was the inventor of bloodbending.
  • She may have been the reason Yon Rha decided to murder Kya, as he probably didn't want to take in another potential Bloodbender.

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