ethaksus asked: I'm wondering about a few things in the Linzin fandom that seem to be constant "facts" in presenting their situation as a background in many fanfictions. Things such as: Lin and Tenzin were dating for a super long time; Tenzin immediately (or an unhealthy short time) jumping into a relationship with Pema after dumping Lin; The Beifong and Kataang children were all close friends. I'm curious as to where these might be supported in canon, as opposed to (admittedly very) good story elements?
@ethaksus Nah, its not facts, just a lot of deduction and inference.
I think its safe to assume (not a fact!) but it make a lot of sense to assume that Lin and Tenzin probably got together rather young. They are both very practical people- if they had their original attraction sometime in their 20s, surely they would have figured out the fact that Tenzin needs kids and Lin doesn’t want doesn’t make for a viable future. If they had gotten together in their 20s or later, they would have nipped it in the bud.
However, if they had started dating in their teens (maybe very early 20s?) they would have certainly hooked up without much thought for the future. They’d have a lot of time to figure that kid thing out and it just wouldn’t have been a consideration in a teenage relationship. Then, by the time they got to their 20s and those questions cropped up- they were already in love and attached. Awkward. Certainly a lot harder to give up on your relationship than to simply hope one part will change their mind.
So- that’s where the fanon comes from that they hooked up early. So I’d estimate that window to be 16-21, personally.
As for the end of their relationship and Tenzin’s relationship with Pema- those details are much easier to infer.
Pema is 16 years younger than Tenzin. When Pema turned 18 Tenzin was 34. This is the earliest they could have possibly gotten together if you want Tenzin to retain any respect. And even then…..ehhhhh I’m personally uncomfortable with the idea of him getting with Pema when she was a teenager. In my own mind, the earliest Tenzin would have even considered hooking up with her would be 20 (making him 36). Even so- I still kind of doubt it was that early. But, to be clear- the absolute earliest Tenzin could have dated Pema was at age 34. If we retain the assumption he was with Lin from their teen years that makes their relationship around 20 years on the long end and 13 years on the short end.
STILL- I don’t think he hooked up with Pema until even later. I’ll go ahead and get one point out of the way here: we know by Pema’s comments in Book One that she approached Tenzin with her feelings while he was still in a relationship with Lin. We also know from the LOK novelizations that Pema states after she made her confession, Tenzin stayed with Lin for an extended period of time. Pema says she was watching Tenzin spend his life with the wrong woman and that it took her forever to build up the courage to confess. I don’t think she would have even come forward with her feelings until her 20s- then add to that the nebulous extended period of time that Tenzin just put that information on she shelf and stuck with Lin- and its looking more like 21-23 on Pema’s end and 38-39 on Tenzin’s end.
I personally think that Aangs death (when Tenzin was 34) would have been the first crack in his relationship with Lin. The pressure to procreate was on, as he was now the last airbender and Lin was getting less fertile everyday!
So, the next thing we have a definite lock on was the birth of Jinora. Pema was 25, Tenzin was 41. At maximum there is a span of 6 years that the Pemzin relationship could have developed.
The reason people think he jumped from Pema to Lin is based on Lin’s reaction. I think the insinuation is clear that Lin had reason to be more upset about the break up than your average jilted partner. She was clearly replaced.
Now, once Aang was dead I imagine things really started caving in on Tenzin. He was 34, so why did he wait until 41 to have a child? Jinora was born when Pema was 25 and Tenzin was 41. My logic is that he was still trying to sway Lin’s opinion on motherhood.
So we can estimate that Tenzin’s been in this one serious relationship for most of his life- the idea of scrapping it and starting over would have been terrifying for someone as assiduous as he is. It would have taken awhile to warm up to that idea and even longer to execute it.
But he’s practical too, and when he went for it- he went for it and I don’t think he would have wasted any time locking Pema in and continuing that airbending line.
So yeah, there aren’t many hard facts, but quite a lot of information to make educated guesses from!
As for Lin being close with the Cloudfamily- that’s all sadly still unexplored. I think the assumption that she has a relationship with Tenzin’s siblings is based on the speculation above. If Lin and Tenzin were in a relationship for 13- 20+ years, she would undoubtedly have been accepted as part of the family. On top of that- she’s Toph’s daughter. All of these people ‘grew up together’ more or less. Tenzin says he’s known Lin since they were children- she’s always been around. No doubt she would have played with Kya as a little girl too. Her relationship with the Kataang family probably exists outside of her relationship with Tenzin- when you think of it from that perspective.
AAAAAAAAAAND I’m gonna go take a breath and get a life, now.