Avatar Wiki
Avatar Wiki

We cannot let you bring your war here.
Tonowari to Jake Sully after his family's arrival

Tonowari is the Olo'eyktan of the Metkayina clan. He is the mate of Ronal and father of Aonung, Tsireya and an unborn child.

When Jake Sully, Neytiri and their children came to the clan seeking refuge, Tonowari accepted their visit, offering to train them to adapt to their ways. Tonowari and the clan joined Jake and Neytiri in their war against the RDA to save their children, accepting the Sully family as part of the clan.


Arrival of the Sully Family[]

Ronal and Tonowari Unwatermarked

Tonowari and Ronal contemplate sheltering the Sully family

When the Sully family arrived in Awa'atlu, Tonowari greeted Jake and Neytiri with pleasant surprise but also concern as to why they were seeking refuge with them in a tradition known as uturu. His doubts about accepting the Sully family into the clan came down to his fear of war with the RDA, and how the forest Na'vi would fare in the marine environment. Jake convinced him that he was done with war and wanted to run away to protect his family and learn their ways.

Tonowari's mate, Ronal, was much more vehemently opposed to the Sully family's presence, singling out Jake for being cowardly and their children for having "demon blood". Tonowari managed to convince her, and they decided to grant uturu. Tonowari assigned his children Aonung and Tsireya to teach the Sully children their ways, which his son agreed to with great disgust, but Tonowari would not discuss it with him as it is decided.

Aonung and his parents

Tonowari disappointed in Aonung

As the kids explored the underwater world, Tonowari taught Jake how to ride the skimwing. Fearing he could not cope with such a difficult animal to tame, he offered an ilu at first, but Jake insisted on the skimwing. Tonowari was a patient and understanding teacher, watching Jake's first failed attempts to mount the skimwing with concern. When he finally managed to mount one, Tonowari was proud of him. Soon after, when Tonowari learned that his son had taken Lo'ak off the reef and abandoned him at Three Brothers Rocks, he demanded that he apologize to him, but Lo'ak decided to take the blame.

Upon the return of the tulkun to the coast of Awa'atlu, Tonowari welcomed them after their annual migration of several months. After the migration on a rainy day, a saddened and enraged Tonowari broke the news to Jake about the Sky People's attack on the local clans. He gave orders to the neighboring clans to hide Jake's location in case of avoiding a war with the RDA. He could hardly hide his resentment that Jake was the reason for the attack.

Tonowari gives his wise counsel

Tonowari having a serious talk with Lo'ak

When he learned of Lo'ak's friendship with the outcast tulkun Payakan, Tonowari had a serious conversation with him and even scolded his daughter Tsireya for allowing him to bond with Payakan, venting his rage at such a flagrant violation of Tulkun Way. He explained the history of the tulkun and why Payakan is marginalized. He was clearly irritated that Lo'ak openly disagreed with his words, as Lo'ak claimed Tonowari simply did not understand Payakan who, in Lo'ak's eyes, could not be a bloodthirsty killer.

Shortly after, Tonowari, Ronal, Jake and Neytiri discovered the corpse of Ro'a, his partner's spiritual sister, murdered by the tulkun hunters. When the rest of the clan found out about this, they decided to go into battle to take revenge on them. Jake desperately tried to speak in front of the clan. Shouting over Tonowari, he showed them the red device with which tulkuns are marked for hunting. He explained that the device allows the Sky People to track them down, and convinced them to tell their tulkuns to flee the village so they wouldn't be hunted as well. With sadness, Tonowari and the clan accepted Jake's words.

Skirmish at the Three Brothers[]

Tonowari and Ronal prepare for battle

Tonowari joining the battle

An attempt to prevent the Metkayina from revealing itself to humans proved to be a fiasco when hunters attacked Payakan and the children accompanying Lo'ak. Lo'ak, Tuktirey, and Tsireya were captured and taken hostage by Miles Quaritch aboard the SeaDragon. Tonowari and Ronal led their warriors to engage the hunters. They stopped their attack when Quaritch ordered Jake to surrender by threatening to kill his children and Tsireya. However, Payakan's attack on the ship caused enough confusion that the Metkayina entered the war. Tonowari personally killed at least one member of the tulkun hunting crew with his Metkayina spear.

It is currently not fully explained what Tonowari and the rest of the clan were doing as the battle continued during the eclipse and the SeaDragon began to sink.

Admitting the Sullys into the clan[]

The Way of Water Tribal Still

Tonowari welcomes Jake and his family into the clan

After the battle ended and the Sullys returned to Awa'atlu, the clan held a funeral for their eldest son, Neteyam who had fallen during the battle. The next day, Jake surprised him by deciding to leave the village so as not to put the clan in any more danger. Tonowari decided that by burying Neteyam according to Metkayina customs, the family would be considered full members of the clan, and therefore he persuaded Jake and his family to stay.


As Olo'eyktan, Tonowari overseers the welfare of his clan and is respected by his clan for his ideals and ability to guide them through times of great challenge. Another one of Tonowari's responsibilities includes overseeing the repairing and building of village structures.[1] He is a brave and strong leader, willing to join the front lines of his clan during battle.[2] However, he also greatly values Ronal's input in decision-making and does not make a move without her wisdom.

As father to Aonung and Tsireya, he is much stricter. When Aonung’s bullying risks Lo'ak's life, he demands his son to explain and apologise. He also reprimands his children and Lo'ak when the latter bonds with Payakan, but also explains the history of the Tulkun.

While Ronal is more distrustful, Tonowari is shown to be more benevolent and willing to give people chances, a behavior he has apparently passed down to Tsireya. He takes in the Sully family not long after their arrival and plea for refuge, and instructs his clanmates to hide their location even amidst great chaos by the RDA. He also welcomed the Sully’s as part of the Metkayina clan after the final conflict with the RDA.



  • There is a deleted scene of Tonowari teaching Lo'ak and Neteyam how to weave a marui. He tells the brothers to work together as they are building not merely a house, but also a village and a family.
  • There is a sense of irony in his casting because Cliff Curtis portrayed another leader in another "Avatar" film: Fire Lord Ozai from The Last Airbender. It is ironic because Tonowari and Ozai represent the opposite elements (water and fire), Tonowari is a good-natured character while Ozai is a villain.

Memorable Quotes[]

  • Toruk Makto and his family will stay with us. Treat them as our brothers and sisters. They do not know the sea so they will be like babies taking their first breath. Teach them our ways so they do not suffer the shame of being useless. - to his clan when the Sully family arrive
  • Tsireya, you disappoint me daughter. And you, son of a great warrior who has been taught better. - Tonowari to Tsireya and Lo'ak
  • Sit... sit... SIT DOWN! - Tonowari before teaching Lo'ak about the Tulkun Way
  • Hear my words, boy. In the days of the first songs, tulkun fought amongst themselves for territory and for revenge. But they came to believe that killing no matter how justifiable, only brings more killing... so all killing was forbidden. This is the Tulkun Way. Payakan is a killer so he is outcast. - Tonowari to Lo'ak
  • They are killers of tulkun. They must die... here... today! - regarding the RDA
  • Your son lies with our ancestors. You... are Metkayina now. - to Jake


Gallery eye See the image gallery for