>In specific, the specifics that prompt the punchline about Bitches and
>Tyrants. Can anyone point me at something to educate myself better?
Azula's making a play on a couplet from the poem at the end of Daniel Defoe's 1701 History of the Kentish Petition,
Nature has left this tincture in the blood,
That all men would be tyrants if they could,
which was more famously paraphrased by Abigail Adams in a 1776 letter to her husband, John Adams, then serving as a member of the Continental Congress that was about to declare the independence of the American colonies from the English Crown.
(Katara probably doesn't know that, but that's neither here nor there.)
As for the change in wording, Katara's characterization of Azula as a "tyrannical bitch" is because she was one basically every time they saw each other during Katara's lifetime, and Katara is unwilling to believe that she's changed.
By making a slightly catty joke, twitting Katara for the evident fact that she's a bit of a tyrant herself (viz. the way she's obviously cowed all three of the men within earshot, such that none of them dared object to this patent incivility) - instead of getting defensive and violent like she would've in the old days - Azula demonstrates that she has changed far more effectively than she managed to do with her more straightforward earlier attempt at an apology; and thus détente is achieved.
The exchange itself was inspired by a scene near the end of the 1970 Franklin J. Schaffner film Patton, in which General George S. Patton, Jr. - a U.S. Army officer noted throughout the film for his passionate dislike of Russians - is attending a victory party in Berlin when he's approached by a Red Army general and his nervous young aide. The Soviet general says something, and his aide translates for Patton, saying that the general would like to have a drink with him.
"My compliments to the general," Patton replies with a polite smile, "but I do not care to drink with him or any other Russian sonofabitch."
Blanching, the aide blurts, "I cannot tell the general that!"
"You tell him," Patton insists. "Word for word."
With a look of mild terror, the aide does as requested. Furious, the Russian general bellows something back, and the aide turns to Patton and sputters, "He says you're a sonofabitch too!"
Patton regards them both for a second, then grins and replies, "Well, as one sonofabitch to another, I'll drink to that."
>Do like that you've decided that past Avatars can qualify for
>Vallhalla just as much as anyone else, for some reason I was thinking
>that they kinda mostly had to hang in the spirit world of Diqu in case
>the current avatar needs a consult, etc.
Until the Standard Year 2290, that was pretty much the way it worked; past Avatars were more or less stranded in the Spirit World, unable to reach (and indeed unaware of the existence of) Valhalla. Events during the course of that year discombobulated the system somewhat, and for some time thereafter the situation was exactly reversed (much to the era's living Avatar's dismay). At some point between then and 2372, some level of cross traffic has been established between the two realms (parallelling somewhat, though probably coincidentally, the establishment of links between Dìqiú and Zipang in the "big universe"), such that the past Avatars can come and go between Valhalla and the Spirit World essentially at will.
>Now it sounds almost more
>like they could hang there if they so desired, but a lot of them dont
>and just hurry back and meet the avatar there if so needed.
Well, no, by 2390 most have resumed more-or-less permanent residence in the Spirit World. The end of the universe is a pretty special occasion, though, and the ones with particular ties to members of the Einherjar - most notably Aang, whose entire posse is over there - answered the call when Heimdall blew his horn. Any others who did show up for the battle cleared off again after the fighting ended, but Aang never could pass up a party.
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