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“Everything Changed When the Fire Nation Attacked” is a memorable quote from the animated TV series Avatar: The Last Airbender. In the context of image macros and web comics, the phrase is used to signal a sudden and dramatic turnaround in almost any given situation, similar to the usage of “I Took an Arrow in the Knee”.
The quote comes from the title sequence of the television series Avatar: The Last Airbender, which Nickelodeon first aired on February 21st, 2005. In the sequence, the main protagonist Katara narrates the line while recalling the Fire Nation invasion.
Katara: “But that all changed when the fire nation attacked.”
On May 21st, 2012, a post was published on the Cheezburger site Memebase titled “The Last Dovahkin”, which featured a two pane comic with a guard from the role-playing game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim followed by a screenshot of the invading Fire Nation with the caption “I used to be an adventurer like you / But everything changed… …when the Fire Nation attacked.”
On May 26th, 2012, a Quickmeme page for “When The Fire Nation Attacked” was created, which allowed users to caption the Fire Nation screenshot with customized text. The same day, FunnyJunk user whomadewho submitted a post titled “Fire Nation screwed us all”, featuring a comic with the character Freddy Krueger from the horror movie series Nightmare on Elm Street accompanied by the caption “I use to have normal skin… / Then, everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked.” Within one month, the post received over 69,000 views, 2,000 up votes and 110 comments.
On June 15th, the beddyburc Wordpress blog published a post titled “Everything sounds better when you add ‘but everything changed when the fire nation attacked’ at the end of a sentence”, which listed several lines from works of literature with the quote added on.
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth, but everything changed when the fire nation attacked.”
The meme has continued to spread on Tumblr under the tag “#fire nation.” As of June 28th, 2012, a Facebook page for “But then everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked” has accumulated over 2,750 likes.
The quote has been used in YouTube comments in similar fashion to the “Arrow in the Knee” snowclone template by adding the phrase to the end of a sentence.