Katara is a female waterbending master, born and raised in the Southern Water Tribe by her grandmother, Kanna, alongside her older brother Sokka, and she is the daughter of Chief Hakoda and Kya. During her childhood, Katara was not only a waterbender, but one of the last two capable of performing the art from her tribe. At first she lived a peaceful life with her family, until she lost her mother in a Fire Nation raid. Years after this tragedy, as a teenager, she and her brother discovered the young Air Nomad Avatar, Aang, who had been encased within a sphere of ice for one hundred years. In need of a waterbending teacher, the siblings and Aang left the South Pole for the Northern Water Tribe. Katara and Sokka eventually became close friends of Aang, and after their journey to the North Pole, continued to travel with him across the world as he mastered the remaining elements, earth and fire. The siblings' assistance helped Aang halt the Fire Nation's ambitions of world domination, ending the century-long war, and finally restoring balance to the world.
The murder of Katara's mother, Kya, and the later departure of her warrior father, Hakoda, left her traumatized and alone. Though she was cared for by her grandmother, Kanna, she invariably found herself filling the mother role left behind by Kya, even to her own older brother. As was the custom of the Water Tribe for women to see to domestic duties, Katara soon took on many of the responsibilities expected of an adult and quickly became independent and strong willed. Morally and emotionally driven, she developed a great sense of justice and compassion for others, becoming fiercely protective of others in need.