|“||Zaheer: True freedom can only be achieved when oppressive governments are torn down.
Korra: But that won't bring balance. It would throw the world into chaos!
Zaheer: Exactly. The natural order is disorder.
|~ Zaheer explaining to Korra his anarchistic ideas about "true freedom".|
|“||When you base your expectations only on what you see, you blind yourself to the possibilities of a new reality.||„|
|“||It's the dawning of a new age. The end of the White Lotus and soon, the end of the Avatar.||„|
Zaheer is one of the main antagonists of the animated television series The Legend of Korra, serving as the main antagonist of "Book Three: Change" and a minor anti-hero in "Book Four: Balance". He is the third major threat faced by Avatar Korra, and arguably her most dangerous nemesis. Alongside Unalaq, he is the worst human threat Korra ever faced.
He is a rebellious anarchist and a member, turned new leader, of the Red Lotus. He believes strongly in the foundation of a new world order, without the White Lotus, the Avatar, or any governments or their leaders. After the Harmonic Convergence, he acquired the ability to Airbend and used his newfound skills to escape imprisonment and attack Avatar Korra.
He was voiced by Henry Rollins.
Powers and Abilities
|“||Let go of your earthly tether. Enter the void. Empty and become wind.||„|
|~ Zaheer. unlocking Guru Laghima's unique ability to fly without using bending.|
Zaheer is a masterful strategist, who is able to take down a small army of soldiers, as well as being a master of disguise and deceiver. Recently, after the Harmonic Convergence, he found out he could airbend. Despite him just recently learning of his new ability, Zaheer is shown to be a fast learner as he can create large and powerful gusts of wind and knock people off balance. He's even capable of sucking the air out of a person, causing them to suffocate to death. He is also proficient at meditation and is able to discern Korra's location with ease. After the death of P'Li, Zaheer was free from all earthly tethers and gains the same abilities as Guru Laghima, the ability to fly without the need of his glider staff or even bending. He can fly like he was lighter than air.
- Airbending: After the Harmonic Convergence, he found out he could airbend. Despite only having airbending abilities for a short time and being self-taught, Zaheer displays high proficiency in the art and shown to be a fast learner as he created large air currents capable of knocking people off balance, as well as increasing his agility, to evade attacks, enabling him to take on multiple benders at a time. He defeat Kya, a master waterbender, while fending off White Lotus sentries. Although he is not as powerful as a full-fledged master like Tenzin, he was proficient enough in combat to more or less hold his own against the more experienced airbender, though he needed the assistance of his companions to defeat the master. He is also capable of using a glider, both in combat and as a means of transportation despite having no training in using one. He can take on multiple opponents at once and, since he is not a pacifist like most airbenders, he also uses his airbending in a more offensive and even lethal manner, such as pulling the air out of Hou-Ting's lungs and suffocating her.
- Flight: During a battle to rescue Korra from the Red Lotus, Zaheer developed the ability of flight through the teachings of Guru Laghima, becoming the first airbender in four thousand years to do so. After the death of P'Li, Zaheer was free from all earthly tethers and gains the same abilities as Guru Laghima, the ability to fly without the need of his glider staff or even bending. He can fly like he was lighter than air. Zaheer demonstrated that the power of flight enabled him to make fast and agile at incredible speeds and make airbending attacks while airborne. Although a powerful technique, his flight abilities are hindered by additional weight and the currents of the wind, as shown when he began to fall after Korra froze one of his feet and when he could not escape the pull of an airbender-created tornado.
- Hand-to-Hand Combat: Even prior to obtaining airbending, Zaheer was already remarkably agile and acrobatic. He was a master of several forms of martial arts and had extensive combat experience. He was deemed dangerous enough to be detained in an isolated prison similar to his bending cohorts and had to turn his back to the cell doors with his hands behind his head while receiving food. He took down small armies of soldiers, as well as being a master of disguise and deceiver.
- Intelligence: Zaheer is also well-versed in Air Nomad philosophy and history, mainly teachings of the legendary airbender, Guru Laghima, whom he holds in high regard. Through meditation, Zaheer was capable of entering the Spirit World and freely teleport himself and others to various places in that realm. His extensive practice and training in meditation gives him the ability to communicate with his physical body while his soul is still in the Spirit World and discern Korra's location with ease. He is shown to be a master in stealth, manipulation, leadership, tactics/strategy, warfare, and psychological warfare. Zaheer is a masterful strategist/tactician, who is able to take down a small army of soldiers, as well as being a master of disguise and deceiver. He is also proficient in the art of public speaking, capable of swaying the public opinion to support his goals, as he demonstrated in his speech to the people of Ba Sing Se.
|“||The idea of having nations and governments is as foolish as keeping the human and spirit realms separate. You've had to deal with a moronic president and a tyrannical queen. Don't you think the world would be better off if leaders like them were eliminated?||„|
|~ Zaheer's views on nations and governments.|
Zaheer is cruel, arrogant, vicious and delusional about the natural order of things. He has a deep passion for philosophy, mostly around the theme of freedom, though often mixed up with delusional ideas that chaos is the natural order of things. He often twists Guru Laghima's philosophy into anarchistical ideas for his Red Lotus organization. He's very cold blooded when it comes to taking a life. If necessary, he's willing to kill without hesitation. Indeed, even his affinity for Air Nomad culture and becoming an airbender did not prevent him from threatening the lives of the new airbenders in order to force Korra to surrender herself, and he displayed duplicity in going back on his word to release them in exchange for her surrender so that he'd still have them as hostages.
However, he's not completely devoid of compassion, sympathy and honor. He cared deeply about his girlfriend P'Li. Even if his actions threw the Earth Kingdom into chaos, he believed that the Earth Kingdom belonged to the people and not to tyrants, like Hou-Ting. When Korra came to him to overcome her fear of him, he agreed to help, feeling guilt over that his actions gave Kuvira the opportunity to take power and maybe even feeling remorse over P'Li's death.
- Zaheer is one of the few known villainous airbenders.
- The other one is Jesa, a renegade Air Nomad who became a crime boss, and later mother to Avatar Kyoshi.
- He is the first main antagonist of Korra to live at the end of the book, the second being Kuvira.
- Zaheer is also the only Red Lotus member to still be alive.
|“||You think freedom is something that you can give or take on a whim, but to your people, freedom is just as essential as air, and without it, there is no life. There is only... darkness.||„|
|~ Zaheer's idea of liberation while murdering the Earth Queen.|
|“||You know, being locked away for so many years, I was beginning to lose hope. But when I awoke with airbending, I knew I would be the one to destroy the old world and plant seeds for a new world to flourish.||„|
|~ Zaheer to Korra.|