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Avatar: The Last Airbender – Who is Koh the Face Stealer?


The scariest character in the Avatar universe is shrouded in mystery and the Netflix show has shed some light on it.

Aang faces down Koh in the season one finale of Avatar: The Last Airbender
Photo: Nickelodeon

Koh the Face Stealer had only a very brief appearance in the original Avatar: The Last Airbender series but he made an impression that will stay with you well into your nightmares. A spirit with the ability to steal the face of any being who shows emotion to him, this horrific spirit has proven to be a big hit among fans. With his appearance in the Netflix series, voiced by none other than George Takei, we look back on everything we know about Koh from both the animated and Netflix series.

Koh the Face Stealer in Avatar: The Last Airbender (Original Animated Series)

In the season 1 finale of the original series, “The Siege of the North: Part 2” Aang is desperate to find the location of the Moon and Ocean spirits in order to help save the Northern Water Tribe. He contacts the former Avatar, Roku, who informs Aang there’s only one spirit old enough to remember something about such ancient spirits, Koh, the Face Stealer. He explains that Koh is very dangerous and instructs Aang that when he faces Koh, “You must be very careful to show no emotion at all. Not the slightest expression or he will steal your face.”

Koh’s “Face Stealer” title isn’t metaphorical, as Aang sees for himself when he travels to Koh and spots a monkey with its face completely gone. When Aang finally confronts Koh he sees an atrocious centipede-like creature that switches faces at will. The creature, with a bone-chillingly smooth voice, recognizes Aang, “my old friend, the Avatar. It’s been a long time.”

Aang, face neutral the whole time, is told that one of his previous incarnations, Avatar Kuruk, tried to slay Koh because the creature had stolen the face of someone he loved. (This was later confirmed in the season 3 episode “Sozin’s Comet” by Kuruk, who blames himself for it.) Koh claims he doesn’t hold this against Aang, all that was in a past life. He’s much more delighted by the idea of taking Aang’s current face, menacingly revealing that it’s been a long time since, “I added a child’s face to my collection.”

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