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I want to go home. Dad, I...
Neteyam to his father Jake Sully.

Neteyam te Suli Tsyeyk’itan was Jake Sully and Neytiri's eldest son at 15-years-old.[1] He is the eldest brother of Lo'ak, Tuktirey and Kiri.

As the eldest brother, Neteyam was get them out of dangerous situations. When the RDA attacked, he and his family went into hiding under the protection of the Metkayina clan, and began learning their ways. Since Neteyam often threw his weight on his brother's side, he and Lo'ak would regularly get into trouble. Tensions rose between the brothers when Neteyam seemed to be the "perfect son."

During the Skirmish at the Three Brothers, Neteyam assisted in the rescue mission to save the youths and Payakan with the clan. He cut Tsireya, Tuk, and Lo'ak free from their bonds. Lo'ak convinced him to rescue Spider as well. Neteyam went along, and after successfully retrieving Spider, the three of them underwent heavy fire. Neteyam provided cover for Lo'ak and Spider, and after making sure they made it into the water safely, he followed last. However, he suffered a bullet wound and died in front of his parents, Lo'ak, Spider, and Tsireya. Later, the clan held a funeral and buried him with the Metkayina's ancestors.

Biography[]

Early life[]

Neteyam Son of Jakesully

Neteyam's birth being celebrated

Neteyam was born in 2155 as the firstborn son of Jake and Neytiri and his birth was celebrated by the entire Omatikaya clan. Jake and Neytiri welcomed her first child with great emotion and love. Around the same time, his parents adopted Kiri, the daughter born from the avatar of Grace Augustine. Together, both babies performed their first connection with the family, Neytiri sang the songcord with verses dedicated to Neteyam and Kiri.

The Way of Water Bow and Arrow Still

Young Neteyam learns to hunt

When Neteyam was a few years old, his father Jake began teaching him how to hunt with a bow by catching a fish. When Neteyam succeeded, Jake was very proud of his son. Neteyam was the first of the brothers to undergo his Iknimaya ritual and bond with a mountain banshee, succeeding on the first try. He supported his younger brother, Lo'ak, as he went through his own test, who failed on the first try.

Second Pandoran War (Avatar: The High Ground)[]

As new spaceships approached Pandora, Jake and other Na'vi began training in zero gravity. Jake allowed Neteyam to attend his last session, but he refused to fight. Later, Neteyam was received by the representative Yeyatley in the council of elders, where they tried to decide whether to attack the RDA ships. When his brothers sneaked off into the woods and disappeared during the council, Neteyam helped his parents look for them and he was the one who found them.

Neteyam spaceship

Neteyam found sneaking onto the spaceship.

When Jake and Neytiri talk about their upcoming plan to fight the RDA in space, they ordered Neteyam and the rest of the kids to take shelter at High Camp. Neteyam does not wish to remain at High Camp, instead wishing to fight, though Jake declines the offer. However, he sneaks on-board the space shuttle anyway, causing his parents to become displeased when they found out, Jake wanted to return his son safely to the base, but ultimately allowed him to stay and placed him in care of Akwey, the leader of the Olangi Clan.

When his parents fail to take over the bridge, Jake orders Norm Spellman to take Neteyam and flee to Wu Mingxia's shuttle. When it is time for everyone to head to the extraction point, Neteyam refuses to leave his parents behind, so Akwey and Norm follow the Na'vi boy. When Jake and Neytiri finally escape out the ship, Mingxia's shuttle arrives for the group and they re-enter Pandora's atmosphere.

Neteyam in water

Neteyam surviving the sinking.

Even though Jake is reluctant to bring Neteyam along, Neteyam follows his parents on his banshee to rescue his siblings at Hell's Gate who were imprisoned and betrayed by Nash McCosker. Although Jake considers yelling at Neteyam, he finds himself unable to scold him as Neteyam is doing exactly what he would have done, and agrees to take Neteyam along. The family becomes involved in another chase and flees into the forest. After a series of events involving a crash landing into the ocean, the group is rescued by Norm in a Samson.

Leaving the Omatikaya (Avatar: The Way of Water)[]

Neytiri and Neteyam

Neteyam being reprimanded by his father

When humans returned to Pandora, Neteyam assisted his parents in cutting off the supply chains to Bridgehead. Although originally assigned to be a spotter, he reluctantly followed Lo'ak who attempted to help gather weapons on the ground during a confrontation with the Sky People. In this situation, Neteyam was injured when a Kestrel Gunship arrived and shot missiles at them. Neteyam was later reprimanded by his father for not following instructions and acting as the older brother, after which his grandmother Mo'at and Kiri tend to his injuries.

Jake hugs his children

Neteyam after fighting the Recoms

While Neteyam and his parents were on a banshee flight together, Jake received a call from Lo'ak, his sisters and Spider that they had encountered blue soldiers in the woods, near the old Link Shack that was left abandoned after the assault on the Tree of Souls. Neteyam helped track them down, though Jake didn't want him personally involved in fighting the recombinants. Neteyam disobeyed and killed a recombinant (Zhang) who was about to shoot his mother, thereby saving her life. In turn, Jake saved him from being shot by the Recom squad. The Sully family successfully escaped, but Spider was abducted in the process.

Living with the Metkayina clan[]

Neteyam and Lo'ak greet

Neteyam meeting the Metkayinans.

Knowing that Quaritch was hunting them, the Sully family migrated from their current home to coastal regions searching for protection at Awa'atlu, the main village of the Metkayina clan. Neteyam and his siblings soon befriended Tsireya, Aonung and Rotxo, young locals from the clan, who introduced them to the underwater world.

While adapting to their new environment, Neteyam defended Kiri and Lo'ak from Aonung after the Metkayina boys called them "freaks". Neteyam was able to diffuse the situation, but Lo'ak instigated a fight with Aonung and his friends, leading to Neteyam joining the fight to back his brother up. As a result, they are both scolded by their father again for disobeying his order to stay out of trouble. However, once Lo'ak left, Jake asked Neteyam how the other kids looked, to which Neteyam replied they looked a lot worse, to Jake's satisfaction.

Later, Neteyam heard from Aonung that he tricked Lo'ak into hunting beyond the reef of the village and left him there. Neteyam dragged Aonung to tell his father and was with his parents when Lo'ak was led back to the village by a tulkun. The next day, Neteyam, his siblings and their friends listen to Lo'ak explain how the tulkun called Payakan saved his life. He appears to not seem to take his brother's words that Payakan is not a murderer seriously, an even ridiculed the story, which makes Lo'ak leave.

Neteyam Tsireya Aonung and Roxto

Neteyam watches Lo'ak enter Payakan's mouth

Later, Neteyam, Kiri and Tuktirey were taken to the most sacred place of the clan, the Cove of the Ancestors, where the Spirit Tree is found underwater and they connect with it. However, Kiri has a seizure after having a vision of her birth mother Grace Augustine. Neteyam helped her up back to the surface and took her home for help. When the tulkun returned from their migration, Neteyam joined the Metkayina and his siblings in welcoming the giant creatures on an ilu. Shortly after, Neteyam, along with Aonung, Tsireya, and Rotxo, witnessed Lo'ak bonding with Payakan.

Skirmish at the Three Brothers and Death[]

Lo'ak and Neteyam discussion

Neteyam tries to stop his brother from warning Payakan

When Metkayina found out that Ro'a was killed by the tulkun hunters, Neteyam with his father tried to calm them down to listen to him, having the tracking device that was embedded in the female tulkun's corpse. When Lo'ak wanted to find Payakan to warn him about the tulkun hunters, Neteyam tried to stop him. However, they ended up in a verbal quarrel, with Lo'ak pointing out Neteyam for being Jake's perfect son, then brushing off his concern and swimming away on an ilu. Neteyam and the others followed. He helped save Payakan from the whalers who just tagged him with a tracking device, intending to hunt him down and kill him. Neteyam removed the tracker and swam off with it on an ilu to lead the whalers away. He was shot at with sonar beacons, but he ultimately escaped unharmed.

Neteyam Death

Neteyam killed by the bullet wound.

Neteyam boarded the SeaDragon to help rescue Lo'ak, Tsireya, Spider, and Tuktirey after they were kidnapped. He shot at a group of human soldiers as well as the recombinants Lyle Wainfleet and Prager in order to cover for his siblings, but was shot through the chest by Wainfleet from return fire. Neteyam was pulled to safety by Lo'ak and the rest of his siblings. Jake attempted to stop his bleeding, but realized it was too late when he saw that the bullet had an exit wound. Neteyam told his family that he wanted to go home, but he soon bled out and perished.

Post-death[]

Neteyam disappears

Neteyam's water burial in the Cove of the Ancestors.

A funeral for Neteyam was held by the Metkayina clan at the Cove of the Ancestors. His mother Neytiri sang her songcord as a lament for her deceased son. His body was laid to rest at the bottom of the cove where it would be gradually devoured in a golden field of sea anemones.

A backup of Neteyam's consciousness was visited within Eywa by his parents at the Metkayina Spirit Tree. This should not be considered to be Neteyam's true self, explaining why he does not know he has died or mentions anything about the skirmish at the Three Brothers, as he connected to the Spirit Tree before the RDA attacked. Despite this, his body can still be considered as being reunited and recycled with Eywa, and the Na'vi still have a belief their spiritual essence (animus) also returns to Eywa.

Jake saw a forest where the young Neteyam was hunting a fish by himself, which he proudly showed to his father. Due to being a backed up memory,[2] Neteyam is unaware of his death and wondered why his father was weeping. Jake replied that he was simply happy to see him. They are watched from afar by Neytiri.

Personality[]

Jake entrusting Neteyam

Neteyam telling Jake he will look after his siblings

Kind, responsible and possessing strong virtue, Neteyam was the "perfect son” of the Sully family whose example the other children were to supposed to follow, as he held himself to a high standard.[3] Due to resembling the Na'vi physically, Neteyam did not have to face the same insecurities that Lo'ak and Kiri had to which got to both of their self-esteems. However, he is never seen condescending the two because of their avatar/human DNA.

Inheriting a blend of Jake's and Neytiri's noble and honorable nature, Neteyam carried himself with a strong, confident demeanor and was well-liked by his clan. Even other Clan Leaders, like Akwey and Ikeyni, spoke warmly about Neteyam and praised how much he resembled his parents especially his mother Neytiri and how well he was growing.[4] Neteyam desired to be a great leader and a warrior like his father, but his age, Jake's protective nature, and his siblings' antics undermined his attempts to prove himself.[5]

Focus

Neteyam trying to make Lo'ak focus

Neteyam took his role as the eldest son seriously, and was often tasked by his parents to keep an eye on his siblings. Jake and Neytiri viewed him as reliable and would take him on many of their missions. He strove to set a good example for them. When he was older, he was very protective of his siblings and focused more on keeping them safe than having fun with them. In moments of peace, Neteyam let himself joke, tease, and banter with his siblings, such as showing amusement at Lo'ak's poorly hidden attraction towards Tsireya.

Neteyam's spirit is visited

Neteyam's memory seen within the Spirit Tree

Neteyam never complained about the drastic changes that was hurled his way, and seemed to take everything into stride. It was only when he was dying that he showed his true feelings and voiced his wishes about returning home and living a peaceful life. When his memory is visited within the Spirit Tree, he is seen as a child sharing a proud accomplishment with his father in nature. A reasonable explanation for this is that Eywa sensed Neteyam's will to return home and experience a simpler time before the war, hence Jake and Neytiri perceive him as a carefree child within his memory.

However, he also changes to his current age briefly. He is no longer wearing any of his warrior items such as his armguards or even his cummerbund; instead he is only wearing his usual choker that he wore in the forest (instead of the warrior neckpiece he wore at the ocean), making it possible their connection to home is what he wished to share with his father, as well as define his memory.

Abilities[]

GIF 20240623 214719 255

Neteyam killing Zhang

Neteyam was a natural athlete; he is talented and excelled at all things, being nearly unmatched in hunting prowess among the other young members of the Omatikaya clan. His ikran flying was almost as adequate as his mother's. He was an expert at archery and was the youngest of the Omatikaya clan to make a clean kill on a sturmbeest hunt.[1]

Relationships[]

Trivia[]

Neteyam's Songcord

Neteyam's songcord

  • His radio code name mentioned in The High Ground is "Pathfinder".
  • Concept art of Neteyam's songcord mentions one of the beads symbolizes Spider's unofficial adoption, but Joshua Izzo said concept art should not be viewed as canon.
  • There is a popular belief among viewers that Neteyam was conceived during the first film, when Jake and Neytiri mated at the Tree of Voices, although it is unclear if this is true. If it is true, then Neteyam's date of conception would be August 18, 2154.
  • His bow is made from wood of the Hometree that fell in the first film.[1]
    • Despite it being tradition for warriors of the clan to choose a partner by the time they are accepted as one of The People (Neytiri once told Jake: "You may make your bow from the wood of Hometree. And you may choose a woman."), Neteyam is never mentioned as having a mate yet for unclear reasons.
  • Neteyam crafted his own neckpiece which is stylized after the classic neckpieces that the legendary warriors of his clan would wear, including Tsu'tey.[1] Making one's own clothing or being given clothing by loved ones is very important to the Na'vi, meaning their clothing and accessories are very symbolic.[6]
  • He is the only one of Sully children (excluding Spider) to call Neytiri “Mother” while his brother and sisters called her "Mom" or "Mama".
  • Neteyam is the only one of Jake's children who was never captured.
  • Although Neteyam's sacrifice may be seen as unnecessary, it can also be interpreted that Neteyam's choice to save Spider caused a series of events which resulted in the safety of the whole Sully family as well. Kiri and Tuk were doomed to be captured elsewhere by the time Neteyam made his decision. Spider's rescue gave Neytiri a bargaining chip to free Kiri, and he also had the knowledge of where Kiri and Tuk were on the SeaDragon. Neteyam's death also gave Neytiri and Jake the motivation to attempt to stealthily rescue their daughters, and gave Neytiri the fury to consider using Spider as a bargaining chip.
  • When Neteyam is dying, he takes a moment to look at Spider. Lo'ak then seems to notice this, then takes a quick look at Spider.[7] Some viewers believe this may be Neteyam trying to warn his family his family about Spider's existence, concerned Spider may bring further danger and tragedy to the Sully family.
  • Neytiri heartboken

    Neytiri shouting Neteyam's name

    It is highly possible that Neteyam was conscious briefly after he seemed to die, and that as his consciousness was fading away, the last thing he heard was mother screaming his name in grief, and he may have also been able to see and feel her embrace his body one last time. While his circulatory and nervous system was shut down resulting in a stopped heart and paralysis, this does not necessarily mean he was immediately brain dead at that moment.
  • It is unknown what Neteyam wished to say right before he died.
  • Neytiri smiles connected

    Neytiri wearing Neteyam's neckpiece

    His mother can be seen wearing his neckpiece at his funeral and at the Spirit Tree.
  • Neteyam's baby version that Jake presents to the Omatikaya at the beginning of The Way of Water is played by Oliver Moore, the then 3-month-old son of Joel Moore, the actor who portrayed Norm Spellman. Moore mentioned in an interview that Zoe Saldaña (mother of three sons) took care of Oliver on set and that he started crying while shooting the scene because it was his son. The scene was completed after two or three takes in a single day.[8]
  • There appears to be an error in Avatar: The Way of Water: The Visual Dictionary. While it correctly lists his height at 8'2", it incorrectly lists this height as 262cm instead of 249cm which would be Neytiri's height. However, he is noticeably shorter than his mother in the family photo.
  • There is another art error in Avatar: The High Ground where he is depicted having one more finger than he should, making his hand resemble a human's more than a Na'vi's. Lo'ak and Kiri are supposed to be the siblings who have human-like hands while Neteyam and Tuktirey are supposed to have Na'vi-like hands.
  • In the original script, there was an extra scene of Neteyam following Lo'ak around. Neteyam says, "You think I like babysitting you? I’m just trying to keep your dumb ass out of trouble!" Tsireya then appears and tells Neteyam she will watch out for Lo'ak.
  • Neteyam with Aonung

    Neteyam with Aonung

    Although there is no explicitly known named gay Na'vi in the entire Avatar series yet, Neteyam and Aonung became an extremely popular fan pairing soon after The Way of Water was released, causing the two characters to be adopted by LGBT+ Avatar fans.[9][10][11] This is to the degree that they have thousands of fanarts, "Aonunete" has over 160 million TikTok views and the pairing has just as much fanfiction as Jake and Neytiri on the site Archive of Our Own.

Memorable Quotes[]

  • No way, Dad would skin us. - insisting to Lo'ak not to join the battlefield
  • Mother, it’s–it’s fine. - Neteyam to his mother Neytiri regarding his father Jake scolding him instead of tending to his wounds
  • But Dad, I'm a warrior like you, I'm supposed to fight! ...Yes, sir...
  • You heard what she said. Leave them alone. Back off. Now. Smart choice, and from now on, I need you to respect my sister. - Neteyam when defending Kiri from Aonung
  • Worse... a lot worse. - when Jake asks how the other kids look
  • Listen to my father, he speaks the truth!
  • No, you've got to keep your skxawng ass here! - to Lo'ak
  • Bro, why you always have to make things so hard? - to Lo'ak
  • Oh, he's your brother? No, I'm your brother! - to Lo'ak regarding Payakan
  • Who's the mighty warrior? Come on, say it. - while saving Lo'ak
  • I want to go home... Dad... I... - final words while alive
  • What is it Dad?, Why are you crying? - as a spirit to Jake
  • Well, I'm happy to see you, too. - as a spirit to Jake

References[]

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