fictional character in Nickelodeon's Avatar: The Last Airbender. The character was voiced by Jessie Flower. In the show, Toph is a blind Earthbending master of the Earth Kingdom, a race of people who can control and manipulate earth. She grew up in a wealthy and highly respected family but left it behind when she had agreed to teach Aang earthbending to help him fulfill his duty as the Avatar, and accompanies him on his quest to defeat the imperialistic Fire Nation and bring peace to the war-torn nations.
History and familyToph is the only child of the wealthy Bei Fong family, who reside in the Earth Kingdom town of Gaoling and whose symbol is a flying boar. Toph's parents are very protective of her, viewing her blindness as a disability in every sense of the word. They assume that she is weak and vulnerable to everything around her. To avoid risk and danger, they kept her at the beginner level of earthbending for over six years, had guards keep close watch on her at all times, and kept the knowledge of her existence from the public.
Despite her handicap, Toph has developed special skills that make her a very formidable Earthbender. Once, when she was very young, Toph ran away from home, seeking refuge in nearby caves. It was there she found companionship with the blind, earthbending Badgermoles that inhabited the caves. By imitating their movements, Toph came to harness her own earthbending abilities, becoming a master in her own right. However, she kept her talent secret from her family and Master Yu, her earthbending teacher. Toph fought frequently in Earth Rumble, an underground earthbending Lei tai tournament, under the alias "The Blind Bandit". By the time Aang and his friends discover Toph at the tournament, she had won her way to become the current champion, holding a 42-0 win-loss record prior to her encounter with Aang.
In order to escape entirely from her parents' control, Toph fled secretly with Aang and his friends, later to travel with them. During these travels, she volunteered herself as Aang's Earthbending instructor, and seems to have taught him proficiency in the art before long. Early on, Toph's defiance of authority and lack of morals annoyed Katara, with whom she therefore quarrelled. The two were eventually conciled and became close friends.
The Bei Fong family appears to be well-known and influential in the Earth Kingdom. In the episode "The Serpent's Pass," Toph's mere display of her family's seal was sufficient enough to gain passage on a Ba Sing Se-bound ferry, despite lacking proper documentation to obtain a ticket normally.
Toph's hometown, Gaoling (高陵) (which means "tall hill"), is also a name of a county in Shanxi, a central province in China.
Gaoling and eventually come across the town's underground earthbending tournament, Earth Rumble VI. After watching Toph's performance and recalling the vision he experienced in the swamp, Aang believes she is the requisite person. When Xin Fu, the tournament host, calls for volunteer challengers, Aang takes up the offer for a chance to speak to her. Thanks to his airbending in conjunction with her inability to see what is not on the ground, Aang easily defeats Toph and upsets her winning streak. She, however, does not give him a chance to speak and immediately leaves the arena in a huff.
Aang later finds Toph at the Bei Fong estate, and he is eventually able to talk to her about his quest and need for an earthbending teacher. Before Toph can make a decision, she and Aang are kidnapped by the earthbending tournament staff, who believe that Toph lost intentionally because they failed to see anything hit her.
The tournament wrestlers demand a ransom, which Katara, Sokka, Master Yu, and Toph's father (voiced by Cam Clarke) pay, but only Toph is released. The competitors announce that they will be handing Aang to the Fire Nation for the reward instead, prompting Katara to plead Toph for her help in rescuing Aang. Her father interjects, claiming that his daughter is blind, tiny, helpless, and fragile, and unable to help them. Slighted, Toph steps forward and single-handedly defeats the entire tournament staff and the host, Xin Fu. Master Yu is speechless and awed by Toph's amazing earthbending skill. Her father is silent.
That night, Toph tries to reason with her parents that she is skillful at fighting and enjoys it, and that she should be allowed to live a normal life. She hopes that all of this new information does not change the way they feel about her. Toph's father replies that it does not change his love for her as a father, but it instead has made him realize that he has allowed her too much freedom. He plans to have guards watching over her all day long. Toph's protests are unheard.
Outside town, just as Aang and his friends are about to depart, Toph appears and claims that her father had changed his mind, saying that she was free to travel the world. Upon hearing this testimony, the group is swift to depart, sailing into the night sky with a new member and earthbending teacher. With his daughter's sudden absence, Toph's father concludes that the Avatar has kidnapped his daughter and issues a large reward to Master Yu and Xin Fu to bring her back by any means necessary. While traveling with the Avatar, Toph's social attitudes change considerably. She becomes much less snide and private, but nonetheless still retains her cocky attitude. Her bending abilities also improve throughout Book Two, as she has learned to bend metal using her special ability to "see" the impurities (small fragments of earth) in the metal.
Toph joins Sokka and Suki in the series finale to hijack a Fire Nation airship to attempt to prevent the "burning of the old world". While commandeering an airship she uses Metalbending almost as proficiently as Earthbending. The three succeed in stopping the airship brigade, giving Aang the time he needed to defeat Phoenix King Ozai and to save the world. Toph's last appearance is complimenting Sokka's poorly drawn painting of the group by saying "they all look perfect", again pointing out that she cannot see it, and makes everyone laugh except Sokka. It is unknown whether she returned to her parents after the battle ended.
Despite being blind, Toph is arguably the most perceptive of a person's true character in the group, most likely due to her ability to perceive people's lies by their heart rate. When Zuko attempted to join the Avatar's group, for example, she was the only one who trusted his sincerity, while the others perceived it as deceit. While a good judge of character and often logical, she can sometimes let her fierce pride cloud her judgment of a situation or people she knows, especially when she believes she has been insulted. This makes her quick to anger at others, but she never fails to admit her own fault when she has calmed.
Toph's relationship with her parents is very conflicted: when Aang suggested that she should leave with them, Toph voiced reluctance of doing so. After she joined "Team Avatar", she claimed that she hated them. In "The Earth King", Toph receives a letter supposedly from her mother, saying that she seemed to understand her daughter. Toph is glad to go see her mother again, although it turns out to be a trap. In "The Runaway", Toph revealed the reason she relied on Katara: Katara cared about the person Toph was on the inside, instead of seeing her only for her disability. Toph even added that this was more than her own mother ever did. Later, Toph dictated a concilatory letter to her parents, which Katara wrote and sent on Sokka's messenger hawk.
Toph is brutally honest when criticizing others. She is vocal about her opinions of others regardless of status or age. Her occasional spoiled 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 the earthbending tournaments, she is an expert in verbally taunting and insulting her opponents, and on occasion her friends, particularly Sokka.
Inside this hardened exterior, though, Toph hides trace insecurities in regards to her blindness, which is hinted at in the episode "The Tales of Ba Sing Se". She has doubts about her appearance, being unable to see what she looks like. Being coddled by her parents all her life because of her disability, Toph hates being patronized. Her eagerness to prove her strength and independence 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 for 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.
One of Toph's most obvious traits involves her very poor personal hygiene. She has been seen belching loudly (to the point that when a group of playwrights was gathering information about the Avatar and his companions, many believe she "saw" through echolocation), picking her nose, or spitting, and is usually covered in dirt or, as she calls it, "a healthy coating of earth". Despite her uncouth habits, Toph is in fact well-educated in the manners and bearings of high society, which she only chooses to ignore.
NameEditToph is the only character within the series to express a surname, "Bei Fong". In "The Serpent Pass," 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 translate 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 flower in need of protection. In "Tales of Ba Sing Se", her name was written as 托 夫 (Tuō Fū), which means "entrusted man". In "The Earth King," on the document from home, her name is reverted back to 拓芙. Her last name Bei Fong ( 北 方 ) is the Mandarin pronunciation for the word "North". The word 托 (Tuō) also means 'to support in one's palm' and the word used for child care and is usually a prefix to another Fù ( 付 ) that means "pay".
Hung Gar style of Kung Fu, Toph's style is uniquely based on Chu Gar Southern Praying Mantis Kung Fu. Though blind, Toph has the unique ability to use Earthbending to "feel" even the most minute vibrations in the earth, be it the presence of trees and buildings or the march of ants several meters away. Through this heightened seismic sense, she can visualize where people are, their relative distance to her, and their physical build. This sense provides her with a distinct advantage when facing other Earthbenders in combat, as they characteristically require contact with the ground and extract rocks from their surroundings. As another result of her blindness, Toph has acquired an acute sense of hearing, enabling her to recognize people by the sound of their voices and hone in on distant conversations. Most significantly, Toph retains the ability to sense when a person is lying based on his or her heartbeat and breathing patterns.
Unfortunately, due to her dependency on vibrations in the earth, Toph is left considerably vulnerable to attacks initiated in midair or opponents who require little constant contact with the ground, such as Airbenders. Terrain that impairs Toph's ability to sense vibrations also hinders her abilities. She has some difficulty with sand, which constantly shifts and lacks solidity, disallowing her to accurately "feel" her surroundings, describing the vibrations as "fuzzy". As further illustrations of her affinity with the earth, Toph does not know how to swim and expresses an aversion to flying, as well as travelling underwater in a submarine.
As of the end of Book Two, Toph is the only known Earthbender with the ability to bend metal. When Toph is seen concentrating in her iron prison, the sadhu known as Guru Pathik explains to Aang in a parallel scene that metal is refined Earth. As a result of her ability to feel the vibrations in earth, Toph is able to locate the impurities (the small fragments of earth) and manipulate them to "bend" the metal portion. Later on, Sokka gives Toph a small piece of meteorite, which she can easily mold into myriad shapes (including the Nickelodeon logo and an arm bracelet she then starts wearing). She has said to have learned Earthbending from the original earthbenders, the badgermoles, when she ran away to a cave and came upon them. Through learning earthbending not as a martial art, but as an interaction with the world, she was able to learn how to effectively "see".
Toph is shown to be a very skilled Earthbender at the end of the series. She and the Avatar are the only two humans known to use the Badgermoles' Earthsight ability. Toph also invented Metalbending and studies Sandbending, which is implied to be difficult. She is rather proficient in Sandbending at the end of the series, once making an incredibly detailed sand sculpture of Ba Sing Se.