"I love fighting. I love being an Earthbender. And I'm really, really good at it. I know I've kept my life secrect from you, but you were keeping me secret from the whole world. You were doing it to protect me, but I'm twelve years old and I've never had a real friend."
— Toph confessing to her parents in The Blind Bandit.
Toph Bei Fong, usually referred to as simply Toph, is an Earthbending master. Blind since birth, Toph was constantly looked down upon for her disability and her stature as an innocent little girl, especially by her over-protective parents. Upon discovering Badgermoles, earth-dwelling animals who were blind just like her, she learned seismic sense through them - the ability to use Earthbending as an extension of her senses and effectively give her "sight" through vibrations in the ground.
Known as the "Blind Bandit", she mastered Earthbending through her own style and developed a tough-guy personality, becoming infamous by winning underground Earthbending tournaments behind her parents' backs. Uninterested at first, she chooses to leave behind her old life and travel with Avatar Aang and friends to be his Earthbending teacher. Toph's mastery over earth, especially with Metalbending, as well as her unique personality, proved her to be a valuable addition to the Avatar's group.
Toph is the only child of the wealthy Bei Fong family of Gaoling. Born blind, she was sheltered by parents who believed her blindness made her fragile and incapable of looking after herself. They went to extreme measures to protect her, including hiding her existence from the rest of the world, which resulted in no one knowing that the Bei Fong family even had a daughter. Poppy and Lao Bei Fong expect their daughter to be well-mannered and proper due to their noble status in Earth Kingdom society; while she usually wears her yellow and green, belted tunic and pants, at home Toph wears a floor-touching white petticoat dress, with long teal sleeves, a flower printed bodice, a long sash along the back, and a small, tiara-like headband with pink and white flowers on it. Toph, resenting her parents' treatment, grew up hard and rebellious. At the age of six, she ran away from home into a cave inhabited by Badgermoles.
Badgermoles were the first Earthbenders and according to Toph, she understood them, and they understood her because they were both blind. She learned Earthbending by imitating their movements. Toph learned to "see" through the use of her Earthbending, feeling people and other objects through their vibrations, which she feels through the ground via her bare feet.
She also developed a great hearing. Although Lao Bei Fong, later hired the Earthbender teacher, Master Yu, to instruct her, he didn't teach her anything other than beginner moves, according to the orders of Toph's father, unaware that she had already become very powerful. She became such a powerful bender that she secretly entered underground Earthbending tournaments as the Blind Bandit, and was actually the champion of Earth Rumble VI more than once. When she met Aang, she soon ran away to teach him Earthbending but also to get away from her parents, who never gave her any freedom.
When first introduced, Toph brought a totally new personality to the group. Unlike the nurturing Katara, flighty Aang or gruff but goofy Sokka, Toph is fiercely independent, sarcastic, direct, stubborn and confrontational. She appears to have the same carefree and adventurous personality as Aang and she is very tomboyish in the way she acts and dresses - a contrast to the delicate doll her parents saw her as. However, unlike Aang, who avoids fighting whenever possible, Toph loves battling and takes great pride in her Earthbending skills. She appears eager to prove that she is as strong as anyone who can see and the best Earthbender in the world.
Toph's eagerness to prove that she can be independent has led to some initial difficulties with Aang and his friends. Toph insists that she can "carry her own weight" and often mistakes a simple friendly gesture as an act of pity for her blindness. Her encounter with Iroh, however, has taught her that Aang, Katara and Sokka care for her because they are friends, not because her disability makes them feel obligated to do so.
Toph is brutally honest when criticizing others, especially her friends. She is vocal about her opinions on others regardless of status (the Avatar, Aang) or age (Iroh). Her occasional attitude or aloofness may be related to her being the only child of one of the richest families in the Earth Kingdom. Thanks to her time as a competitor and champion of Earthbending tournaments, she is an expert in verbally taunting and insulting her opponents and on occasion her friends (particularly Sokka). She reveals to Katara that, being unable to see what she looks like, she doesn't feel the need to fuss over her appearance. However, despite her many quirks, Toph has shown that she is a quick learner and her courage and loyalty to her new friends seems very stable.
Toph and Katara seem to be polar opposites; while Katara is kind, welcoming and supportive, Toph is tough, unyielding and steadfast. This extends to their teaching styles to Aang. However, Toph eventually shows a bit of compromise to help Aang through his initial difficulty with Earthbending. Despite occasional clashes or spats Toph and Katara generally get along, perhaps if only for the fact that they are both girls.
One of Toph's most obvious traits involves personal hygiene. She is accustomed to lying on the ground and walking everywhere barefoot leaving her soles quite soiled. This is common, however, as most Earthbenders in the show walk barefoot, likely so that their body is directly touching the earth at all times. Also, she has been seen belching loudly, picking her nose, spitting, and is usually covered in dirt or, as she calls it, "a healthy coating of earth".
Toph is well-educated in the manners and bearings of high society—she merely consciously and constantly chooses to ignore them. She makes an exception when the group needs to go to a special party to see the Earth King, in order to give news of the solar eclipse, only to meet the head of the Dai Li, Long Feng.
Toph doesn't let her blindness hurt her self-confidence. Once Toph tells Katara, "One of the good things about being blind is that I don't have to waste my time worrying about appearances. I don't care what I look like. I'm not looking for anyone's approval. I know who I am." Katara replies by saying how she deeply admires Toph's self-assuredness. Toph has high self-esteem and is more than determined to show that she won't let her blindness deter her from living and fighting like everyone else.
An ongoing joke concerning Toph's blindness is her lack of ability to discern anything that has been written or drawn. In Ba Sing Se, Toph becomes angry when Sokka suggests that she needs help putting up flyers. She spitefully puts up a poster, only to inadvertently place it backwards and saying, "It's upside-down, isn't it?". Also, she sarcastically compliments Sokka on his drawings of Appa despite the obvious fact that she cannot see them. Later, in the Fire Nation, after being presented with the same wanted poster twice, Toph vocally expresses her annoyance with the constant oversight. Toph, at times, even jokes about it herself. For example, while searching for the library, Toph, while flying on Appa, claimed that she saw it, before remarking "That's what it'll sound like when one of you spots it" before waving a hand in front of her eyes, and then, “I’ve held books before, and I gotta tell you, they don’t exactly do it for me”.
In the final battle, Toph mistakes Sokka's comment about taking the wheel thinking he was referring to her. By the smile on her face she was gleeful about getting another chance to correct him. But it turns out that Sokka was talking to Suki and she manages to cover up her intention pretty well. At the end of the Sozin's Comet she makes a joke about Sokka's drawing that she thinks everyone looks great.
As of yet, Toph is the only character within the series to express a last name, Bei Fong. Toph's passport reads as 土國頭等護照北方拓芙 (tǔ guó tóu děng hù zhào běi fāng tuò fú) which translates as 'Earth Kingdom First Class Passport : Bei Fong Toph'. Here, her name means 'supported lotus,' which matches her parents' view of their daughter as a delicate flower that has to be protected. In other occasion, her name was written as 托 夫 (Tuō Fū), which means "entrusted man". In the document from home, her name is reverted back to 拓芙. Her last name Bei Fong ( 北 方 ) is the Chinese pronunciation for the word "North". It is similar-sounding to the Cantonese for 'to release back,' which is what Lao Bei Fong would like for the daughter whom he believed was kidnapped by the Avatar. The word 托 (Tuō) also means 'to support in one's palm' and is usually a prefix to another Fù ( 付 ) that means "hand over".
In addition, Toph is a phonetic reference to the words "tough" and "toff" (slang meaning upper-class) in English. Toph is also the Hebrew term for "drum", which is essentially how Toph can "see", by sensing the vibrations from the ground, much like the way a tambourine is beaten while played.
Despite her blindness, Toph has proclaimed herself the most powerful Earthbender in the world. Indeed, her bending abilities were drastically potent.
Although blind, Toph has the unique ability of seismic sense: she uses Earthbending to "feel" even the most minute vibrations in the earth, including the march of ants several meters away and the presence of trees and buildings. Through this heightened seismic sense, she can visualize where people are, their relative distance to her, and their physical build, but she cannot visualize faces. This sense provides her with a distinct advantage when facing other Earthbenders in combat because she can predict attacks as they begin and quickly react, and her speed and agility are also greatly beneficial.
Her Earthbending style is unique and thus unpredictable, as her training was unconventional. This style greatly differentiates from the rigid training and fighting style that Earthbenders like the Dai Li implement. Toph's style tends to be proven to be superior to the Dai Li, as she was able to take on a number of them and defend her friends at the same time. This is likely because while the Dai Li just manipulate the earth, Toph establishes a tremendously deep connection to it (although both styles have an overdependence on something i.e. the Dai Li and their earth gloves and Toph and her feet).
However, because Toph is dependent on vibrations in the earth, she is vulnerable to air-based attacks, as shown in her fight with Aang in the Earth Rumble VI. Then, Toph is completely surprised by Sokka dropping a large belt on her head. Her success rate in intercepting projectiles is also tied to her sensing of vibrations, being able to feel an opponent's movement and proceed accordingly. By her own admission, she can't feel her own projectiles while they are airborne.
Terrain that impairs Toph's ability to sense vibrations also hinders her abilities, as shown when Toph has some difficulty with sand, describing the vibrations in the earth as "fuzzy". She is able to compress sand into solid rock to gain some temporary footing, but is still unable to accurately aim attacks under those conditions. However, finally, she seems to have gained some mastery of sandbending, as she mentions working on it and is able to create a miniature version of the upper ring of Ba Sing Se in rich detail. Her ability to sense vibrations may have improved, which may be how she was able to produce the very fine details of the city and did not show the same helplessness she had shown when previously walking on sand when the gang stepped onto the beach.
Toph also expresses an aversion for flying and submarine travel, as she can't sense her surroundings without her feet on solid ground. Also, as a result of her closeness or affinity with earth, Toph can rest or sleep comfortably on solid rock without any sleeping bag or blanket and can walk on any kind of terrain in bare feet, a standard trait for Earthbenders. Toph relies on direct contact between her feet and the ground for "sight" as well as for her Earthbending. Toph is very reluctant to allow anyone to touch her feet, probably because insensitive handling there would make her deaf to other vibrations and thereby render her helpless (and because they are far more sensitive than other people's feet).
Despite her substantial prowess on land, Toph does not perform well in water and on ice. She is not able to swim and became nauseous when she needed to travel by submarine in the Invasion of the Fire Nation.
Toph has a great sense of hearing and can recognize people by the sound of their voices. In the desert, Toph recognized the Sandbender who stole Appa, adding that she never forgets a voice. In Ba Sing Se, Toph was seen feeling even slight vibrations as she told a man they meet, "I can feel you shaking". Also, Toph demonstrates an ability to sense when a person is lying by the vibrations of his/her heartbeat and breathing patterns. However, Toph's senses are not absolute, as Azula demonstrates that she is easily able to lie without even the slightest physical reaction. However, not many people have the ability to lie while manipulating their breathing and pulse in this way.
Toph's Earthbending style is based on Chu Gar Southern Praying Mantis Kung Fu, which is a style that is apparently unique to her; the style of Earthbending used by other Earthbenders is rooted in the Hung Gar style of Kung Fu. She is the only bender known to use a style based on a different root martial art than the standard for their bending art. This may be because she is self-taught rather than trained in the traditional Earthbending form. Toph came to develop her unique style by observing the movements of the similarly blind Earthbending Badgermoles that can be found around her hometown.
After the events her ineffective sight while in the Si Wong Desert , Toph practiced her Sandbending, achieving a mastery over it that allowed her to create an extremely detailed sand version of Ba Sing Se during her time relaxing at Ember Island.
Toph is the first and only known character with the ability to bend metal. Metal is derived from ore, which is found in the earth. Guru Pathik explained to Aang that "Metal is just a part of Earth that has been purified and refined". Because of Toph's ability to feel the vibrations in earth, she is able to locate the impurities (the small fragments of earth) in metal and manipulate them to "bend" the metal portion.
When Sokka finished his training as a sword master, he gave Toph a small piece of meteorite, which being composed of earth and metal, she could easily mold into a myriad of shapes, and subsequently transformed it into an arm bracelet she now wears. Aside from these abilities, Toph has shown herself to be one of the most powerful Earthbenders in the world, being the only known Earthbender to ever bend metal, a feat that even the Avatar has been unable to perform since the origin of Earthbending.
In Wulong Forest, when she was breaking into a Fire Nation Airship, it was shown that her Metalbending had improved greatly as she made a metal armor and manipulated the metallic structure of the room with far more ease than before, moving metal more fluidly. She is also able to crawl hanging on to the metal ceiling while completely covered in metal. Also, Toph could Metalbend outside of her metal armor, even though she already was bending the armor in the first place.
* Lao Bei Fong (father)
* Poppy Bei Fong (mother)
* Though Toph can "see" where everyone is by using vibrations, she never actually looks at them while talking, instead staring off into space or in a different direction. Seeing as how she never looks at anyone while talking, she doesn't usually speak unless someone else does, so it is clear whom she is addressing.
* Creators came up with Toph as a name because it resembled tough. There is evidence of this in "The Ember Island Players," when Actor Toph said: "My name's Toph; 'cause it sounds like tough, and that's just what I am!"
* Toph is the only blind person in the series.
* Toph is the only person in Team Avatar that does not have a romantic relationship.
* Toph is the third person shown to be taught Earthbending by the Badgermoles, the first being "Oma" and "Shu". Toph is also the first person shown to be taught by the animal from which a bending art originated, the second and third people being Aang and Zuko.
* Toph was originally supposed to be a big, muscular boy as revealed by the co-creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko during an interview with Toon Zone. Toph would be a jock-type, bad-mouthing teenager who would be a foil to Sokka's nerdy character. The idea to have Toph be a little girl was introduced by head writer Aaron Ehasz and was initially rejected by co-creator Bryan Konietzko. After long discussions, Toph was given her gender and later became one of Bryan's favorite characters. The old design was used for the actor who portrayed her in the play “The Boy in the Iceberg” and was the basis for Roku's Earthbending instructor, Sud.
* Although Toph's hair appears to be short, in Ba Sing Se it is shown to be very long and bushy when she lets it down.
* "Avatar Extras" states that Toph can sense where rocks are, even if they are not connected to the ground and are suspended in the air. She demonstrates this ability while in combat against the Earth Rumble VI competitors. However, this ability is not infallible, as shown in the fight in the desert.
* Toph was the only member of the original four members of Team Avatar not to go on an adventure with Zuko after he joined the team, later wanting to go with him when splitting up to search for Aang. As she plainly puts, "Everyone else went on a life changing field trip with Zuko, now it's my turn". However, it did not go how she planned, as he was more focused on finding Aang. Toph later states, "This is the worst field trip ever".
* Toph is a playable character in Avatar: Legends of the Arena. She is unlocked through the use of a secret code (metal bending). Aside from her appearance and name, she is played just like any other character.
* Toph is voiced by Jessie Flower, who also does the voice of Meng.
* A recurring joke is that other characters forget she is blind, only for her to remind them she is in a sarcastic manner.
* Toph can tell if people are lying as there are physical reactions in the body that she can sense through vibrations. Azula is the only known character that has been able to foil this.
* Toph has not been with her parents since she ran away from home.
* Toph's "sight" is depicted in a way similar to Daredevil's from Marvel Comics, though the vibrations that form his visions come from sound. Daredevil relies on sound waves to bounce off of things and shape the world, while Toph relies on vibrations to wrap around things. Unlike Toph herself, the muscular actor portraying her in the play “The Boy in the Iceberg” claims to "see" through releasing sonic waves from her mouth.
* Toph's seismic sense also extends to metal and sand, and even to the meteorite that Sokka fashioned his "Space Sword" from which she uses as a bracelet and describes as "space earth"; but not to non-earthen solids such as ice, and wood.
* After making her escape and inventing Metalbending, Toph makes the claim that she is the greatest Earthbender in the world. Taking into account her advanced bending abilities despite her young age, her seismic sense and that she's the only Earthbender shown Metalbending and uses all the known forms of Earthbending, there may be some truth to her words (although King Bumi makes similar claims, he apparently lacks the ability to bend metal or perceive with seismic sense).
* Due to her blindness, Toph has no reading or writing skills. That being said, she apparently has some math skills, as seen when she was counting money.
* Toph is the only named female Earthbender shown in the series, apart from Kyoshi and Oma.
* Toph discovers Metalbending and is the only person shown to utilize it.
* Toph has the last line of the series, saying "Well I think you all look perfect".
* Toph is the only main character with a known last name.
* Toph is the only member of Team Avatar who's life was not uprooted or dramatically changed by the War or the Fire Nation.
Toph was originally planned by the creators to be a big, muscular man as a foil to Sokka's nerdiness. This idea made way in the opening sequence, as the shadowed Earthbender was confirmed by the creators to be Toph's "prototype". Later on when time came closer to her debut, the creators pitched about it being funny of a small girl being able to take on all the strong, buff Earthbenders. This idea blossomed as a joke and Toph's character was changed into what was introduced in the show. The idea and design for Toph was later recycled as the idea for Sud, who was Roku's Earthbending teacher. A joke about the prototype later appeared in "The Ember Island Players" as the actor playing Toph bore a closer resemblance to her initial design.
12 (Avatar: The Last Airbender); Unknown (Deceased in The Last Airbender: Legend of Korra)
Light green (blind)
Aang, Katara, Sokka, Zuko, Suki, Appa, Momo, Iroh, Order of the White Lotus, more...
Ozai, Azula, Long Feng, the Dai Li, Master Yu, Xin Fu, Combustion Man, more...
Weapon of choice
Earthbending, Metalbending, Sandbending
Chronological and political information
* Former Professional Earthbending fighter
* Earthbending instructor
* Earthbending Master
* Only daughter of the Bei Fong family
* Inventor of Metalbending
* Earth Kingdom
* Team Avatar
* Bei Fong Family
The Swamp (Cameo)
The Blind Bandit (Actual)
As a mentor to Aang and front line battalion, Toph's Earthbending naturally expanded as the War continued.
When Toph allied with Team Avatar, it was obvious she was a promising asset given her Earthbending capabilities.
Toph is comfortable with letting those around her know when she is displeased.
Toph was originally planned to be drawn as Sud.
Though raised in a rich and prominent Earth Kingdom family, Toph uses her deliberate lack of mannerisms as a form of rebellion.
When Toph was young, she discovered Badgermoles and learned Earthbending from them.
A fluid Earthbending master, Toph mastered Metalbending to the level she could use it as systematically as earth itself.