History Fridge / AvatarTheLastAirBender

13th Apr '18 6:06:09 AM jormis29
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* Aside from "Escape from the Spirit World", Koh's line about meeting with Aang again is more or less a [[ChekhovsGun gun that never fired]]. Except he doesn't necessarily have to be talking about Aang. Throughout their conversation, Koh clearly shows that he doesn't care about the individual holding the title, all Avatars are the same to him, and he talks about things that Avatar Kuruk did as though Aang was the one to do them. That statement wasn't to say that Aang would come back, Koh knows that sooner or later, another Avatar would come to him for guidance just like Aang did. For him, meeting Aang again is just a matter of waiting for his knowledge to be needed again. He sees the Avatar as a spirit just like himself, as a single entity. To him, the Avatar's incarnations are just like him changing faces.

to:

* Aside from "Escape from the Spirit World", "VideoGame/EscapeFromTheSpiritWorld", Koh's line about meeting with Aang again is more or less a [[ChekhovsGun gun that never fired]]. Except he doesn't necessarily have to be talking about Aang. Throughout their conversation, Koh clearly shows that he doesn't care about the individual holding the title, all Avatars are the same to him, and he talks about things that Avatar Kuruk did as though Aang was the one to do them. That statement wasn't to say that Aang would come back, Koh knows that sooner or later, another Avatar would come to him for guidance just like Aang did. For him, meeting Aang again is just a matter of waiting for his knowledge to be needed again. He sees the Avatar as a spirit just like himself, as a single entity. To him, the Avatar's incarnations are just like him changing faces.
10th Apr '18 1:30:16 PM Oddtail
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Added DiffLines:

[[AC:The Painted Lady]]
* The Painted Lady only shows up after the village's problems are solved. Why? She's the spirit of the river, she couldn't do much for the village when the thing she is connected to was polluted.
6th Apr '18 11:55:28 AM VanHohenheimOfXerxes
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* The Joo Dees. A bunch of {{brainwashed}} young women who will obey the (presumably all-male) Dai Li's every command. [[SexSlave You do the math.]]

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* The Joo Dees. A bunch of {{brainwashed}} young women female {{Stepford Smiler}}s who will obey the (presumably all-male) Dai Li's every command. [[SexSlave You do the math.]]
]] That is, assuming the Dai Li aren't {{eunuchs|AreEvil}} (which would make sense given the setting's {{Imperial Chin|a}}ese influence), but that would fall under [[ShareTheMalePain a whole different type]] of FridgeHorror.
20th Mar '18 11:26:40 AM sugaricequeen
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to:

* Zuko assumes that the great-grandfather whose demise he must learn from is Fire Lord Sozin, until Iroh reveals that it's actually Avatar Roku. But Zuko ''did'' have something to learn from Sozin, as well - Sozin had his life saved by the Avatar multiple times, but when the opportunity came to repay the favor and help Roku, he instead chose to betray him in pursuit of a goal that he'd spent years pining after. only to conclude near the end of his life that it wasn't worth it. Zuko's betrayal of Team Avatar in Ba Sing Se very nearly leads him down the same path.
15th Mar '18 6:52:40 AM EvilKid
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!!!Character - General

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!!!Character !!!Named Character - General




!!!Character - Specific

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\n!!!Character * If you look at all the masters in the Order of the White Lotus, Bumi, Piandao, Pakku, Jeong Jeong, Iroh, and what Bumi says by "All old people know each other...don't you know that?" you can't help but think that proper practice of the bending arts makes you wise and spiritual, which was perhaps the ultimate purpose of all forms of bending. Remember that kung-fu masters see it not just for combat, but as a way of life and enlightenment? Bumi, you're a master of this trope!



!!!Named Character (and How They Use Their Power)
- Specific




!!!Bending and Nation - General

to:

\n!!!Bending * Zuko's firebending was so weak as a child, but he was able to match Azula towards the end. The Firebending that Zuko learnt at first had to be fueled by rage and hate, which Zuko was ''too soft'' for, unlike Azula or Ozai, it isn't in his nature to be so heartless or evil to work well. Well, until he got banished and dishonored, he didn't have a source of rage and Angst to fuel his fire. He got much better after he learnt the "Fire is Life" approach, because that is more in tune with his real character.
** Another reason he got stronger might be because he finally got over his shame at not living up to his father's expectations (both because of his weak firebending as a kid and his banishment), since it was said when Aang was studying under the guru that the fire chakra has to do with willpower and is blocked by shame. This means that he was getting a boost from more than just Sozin's comet in the finale--he had finally gotten over both his old problems and been forgiven by his uncle. That helped give him the boost that put him on Azula's level.
** This is true on a more technical level. In an earlier episode we see Iroh being uncharacteristically stern regarding Zuko's firebending, stressing that he needs to breathe. If you see his fights you can see that he moves too much and rarely does anything besides big fireballs. Per his personality, Zuko always tries for direct and powerful, despite having issues with the basics. ''Obviously'' this affects his technique. At his duel with Zhao, he finally improves. Look closely how he fights. He uses simpler movements against Zhao's unnecessary display of power. All throughout Season 2 Zuko goes Back to Basics in his firebending, and by the Season Finale he's a much more credible threat to the Avatar than ever, making use of impressive techniques. Once he learns the "Fire is Life" approach, and with his revisited technique, [[TookALevelInBadass by Season 3 Finale he's finally one of the most powerful firebenders in the show.]]
** Keep in mind that Azula lost her sanity when she became Fire Lord, so her Firebending became more erratic and unpredictable. Zuko perfected his Firebending with Aang so he was much stronger in terms of power and technique.
*** However, Zuko and Azula's first clash happened when she attacked the Western Air Temple, before Ozai discarded her and she broke down, and they were evenly matched in their short duel there as well.
*** Even before that, they battled on the prison gondola at the Boiling Rock, and Zuko was able to match her blow for blow. The only reason neither could go all-out was because of the cramped battlefield and their nearby allies: Zuko was covering Sokka, and Ty Lee was in Azula's line of fire.
* After Fire Lord Sozin betrayed Roku he started the tradition of killing dragons for fame and glory despite having a dragon mount before and during the betrayal. Roku also had a dragon and it was basically his symbol, so it is possible that Sozin started the tradition of hunting dragons because they reminded him of Roku and the friendship he had to destroy in order to fulfill his dream of conquest.
* The way Zuko and Azula firebend is fundamentally different. While Azula relies on practice and precision , Zuko firebends using raw power. This is illustrated by the way they use their hands, Azula uses the tips of her fingers while Zuko shoots fire from his fists, thin, calculated strips of fire versus wild blasts.
** Also a reason why Azula realized Zuko would eventually win in the finale (and why Zuko thought he could win when he challenged her); Zuko had her beat in both control and raw power. Evidenced in that Zuko barely moves from his spot while Azula was expending large amounts of energy zapping around the dueling grounds. Sure Zuko did some fancy break dancing, but he was basically in the same spot. The only time he moved was to take the hit meant for Katara.
* The show's three seasons correspond with whatever element Aang is learning, obviously. But they also correspond with what Zuko is doing, proving once again that they're NotSoDifferent! In the Water season, he lives on a ship out in the middle of the ocean. In the Earth season, he wanders around on land pretending to be an Earth Kingdom peasant. In the Fire season, he's a Fire Nation prince again, and then teaches Aang firebending.
* Why is Roku the one to introduce recaps of previous episodes at the start of each episode? Because he's the previous life of Aang.
* The fact that Zuko [[spoiler: is the descendant of both Roku and Sozin, and that this lineage gives him a pointedly evil and a pointedly good side]] is somewhat sneakily foreshadowed throughout the series. The first is when Azula snarks, "remember to remind the portrait painters to ''get your good side.''" But this is exactly why he can learn to [[spoiler: redirect lightning.]] At the point in the story when he learns the skill from [[spoiler: Iroh,]] he's told he must separate the negative and positive energies to ''create'' [[spoiler: lightning]]. He can't manage this because at this point, [[spoiler: his good and evil sides are in conflict - i.e., his negative and positive energies]]. He also has an evil (scarred) and a good (unscarred) side of his face. In shots where he's doing something noble, such as the first time he [[spoiler: Approaches Aang and asks to join the group,]] his unscarred side is highlighted.
* Toph's personality doesn't lend itself well to expressing any kind of love towards others (which she herself points out after punching Zuko on the arm). This makes sense when you consider the element associated with the Heart Chakra, which deals with love; Air. Air, obviously, being the opposite element to Toph's Earth. Additionally, the chakra associated with Earth deals with fear, something that would obviously stop a person emotionally opening up.
* ''Ozai was completely right'' when he says to Zuko, "You will learn respect, and suffering will be your teacher." At first it seems like a line that just proves his cruelty, and that's probably what he meant it to be. But here's the thing: Zuko ''didn't'' learn respect until he had suffered for a while, particularly throughout season 2. Watch as [[BreakTheHaughty his pride is slowly broken down]] and he starts being less of a jerk, culminating in his HeelFaceTurn in season 3, which was preceded by half a season of intense inner conflict. There is something Zuko did "learn" from his father there. Consider: Zuko surrendered, and got in a world of hurt for it. As Sokka observes in the season 1 finale, "If there's one thing we know, it's that Zuko never gives up". Up until "The Western Air Temple" halfway through season 3, Zuko was the only one of the "core cast" who had ''never'' surrendered to someone who wanted to fight him. That he can offer himself as a prisoner is a sign of how far he has moved out of his father's influence, particularly since getting a bending attack in his face ''again'' for the attempt does not work to deter him for long.
** The problem with this is, Zuko ''was'' a respectful person, by most standards, before Ozai burned him and banished him. Yes, Zuko did learn respect and humility on his long and painful journey--but he only had to learn them because ''Ozai twisted his personality in the first place.'' Zuko started demanding respect and generally trying to act the way his father and sister would only after the Agni Kai.
** Or, looking at it another way, Zuko suffered and learned ''to'' respect the other nations, the balance which was required, and the true nature of firebending. While he did learn respect through his suffering, it was exact opposite kind of respect that Ozai wanted him to learn.
* The order of elements Aang has to master ties into his personal growth during the seasons. At the opening of season 1, Aang doesn't realize at first that there is a war going on and that the world as he knows it isn't the same. Only after visiting the ruins of what used to be his home temple and seeing the skeleton of his mentor does Aang realize that he has a responsibility to the world and can't go back to his old life anymore. Throughout season 1, he has to deal with the duty of being the Avatar. What element does Aang have to master for this season? Water, the element of change. Then next in season 2 is earth, the element of substance, whose discipline requires firmness and strength. Halfway through the season, Aang loses his animal companion and living relic of his old life, Appa and almost loses hope. Also the gang has to deal with delivering crucial info that could end the war to the Earth King past ObstructiveBureaucrat-s, the Dai Li. Finally, Aang learns fire, the element of desire and decisiveness in the last season where he faces off against Fire Lord Ozai. In the last first episodes he struggles against killing the Fire Lord due to his pacifist nature despite everyone telling him he must do it. Also in the last episode Aang and Katara kiss, thereby confirming their relationship, something both of them had desired to do.
* There's another good reason Toph's blind. All the in-universe written text in the series uses Chinese or Japanese characters. Having someone around who can't read gives the rest of the Gaang an excuse to read things ''to'' her, and by extension to the audience. Not to mention making it hilarious when someone (usually Sokka) tries to show her something written/drawn (like a picture of Appa).
* Regarding Zuko and Agni Kai: In season 1, Zuko manages to defeat Zhao, a potent firebender, early on by "breaking his root" - i.e., upsetting his stance, specifically using an ankle sweep. This is fairly rudimentary principle - as Iroh had been drilling him on the basics in the first few episodes - but it works. Fast forward to season 3: Zuko's dueling Azula for the crown, and it's (gasp) evenly-matched. She's jetting around and throwing huge walls of flame, but he's wearing her down. She circles him, looking to engulf him, and he break-dance-firebends a fire wheel at ankle height. He '''breaks Azula's root''' and she tumbles to the ground, pretty much beaten. ''Zuko bested his nigh-unbeatable prodigy sister, '''during Sozin's comet,''' using a basic firebending principle.''
* The Lion Turtle at the end of the third season isn't drawn like the other characters and creatures, instead, he is done with the more detailed style and coloring used for the backgrounds. It makes perfect sense: he is one of the oldest creatures on the Airbender universe's earth. He is old enough to have a large, thriving forest growing on his back and the only creature we know of that's old enough to know energy-bending. He is drawn in the same style as the earth itself because like the earth, he is ancient.
* A few episodes after Iroh's White Lotus tile is featured, but well before the [[ChallengeCoin true significance of it is revealed]], we see another OldMaster using the tile in a game: Monk Gyatso. Old people really ''do'' all know each other!
* If you pay attention, Lion Turtles are ''everywhere''-- statues in the Air Temples, door knockers in the Earth Kingdom, the front of the Fire Nation war zeppelins, and in the library episode, Aang pulls out a scroll and commented on the HUGE lion turtle on it. [[TheProducerThinksOfEverything The Producers Really Do Think Of Everything]].



!!! Bending
and Nation - General







* Zuko's firebending was so weak as a child, but he was able to match Azula towards the end. The Firebending that Zuko learnt at first had to be fueled by rage and hate, which Zuko was ''too soft'' for, unlike Azula or Ozai, it isn't in his nature to be so heartless or evil to work well. Well, until he got banished and dishonored, he didn't have a source of rage and Angst to fuel his fire. He got much better after he learnt the "Fire is Life" approach, because that is more in tune with his real character.
** Another reason he got stronger might be because he finally got over his shame at not living up to his father's expectations (both because of his weak firebending as a kid and his banishment), since it was said when Aang was studying under the guru that the fire chakra has to do with willpower and is blocked by shame. This means that he was getting a boost from more than just Sozin's comet in the finale--he had finally gotten over both his old problems and been forgiven by his uncle. That helped give him the boost that put him on Azula's level.
** This is true on a more technical level. In an earlier episode we see Iroh being uncharacteristically stern regarding Zuko's firebending, stressing that he needs to breathe. If you see his fights you can see that he moves too much and rarely does anything besides big fireballs. Per his personality, Zuko always tries for direct and powerful, despite having issues with the basics. ''Obviously'' this affects his technique. At his duel with Zhao, he finally improves. Look closely how he fights. He uses simpler movements against Zhao's unnecessary display of power. All throughout Season 2 Zuko goes Back to Basics in his firebending, and by the Season Finale he's a much more credible threat to the Avatar than ever, making use of impressive techniques. Once he learns the "Fire is Life" approach, and with his revisited technique, [[TookALevelInBadass by Season 3 Finale he's finally one of the most powerful firebenders in the show.]]
** Keep in mind that Azula lost her sanity when she became Fire Lord, so her Firebending became more erratic and unpredictable. Zuko perfected his Firebending with Aang so he was much stronger in terms of power and technique.
*** However, Zuko and Azula's first clash happened when she attacked the Western Air Temple, before Ozai discarded her and she broke down, and they were evenly matched in their short duel there as well.
*** Even before that, they battled on the prison gondola at the Boiling Rock, and Zuko was able to match her blow for blow. The only reason neither could go all-out was because of the cramped battlefield and their nearby allies: Zuko was covering Sokka, and Ty Lee was in Azula's line of fire.



* The way Zuko and Azula firebend is fundamentally different. While Azula relies on practice and precision , Zuko firebends using raw power. This is illustrated by the way they use their hands, Azula uses the tips of her fingers while Zuko shoots fire from his fists, thin, calculated strips of fire versus wild blasts.
** Also a reason why Azula realized Zuko would eventually win in the finale (and why Zuko thought he could win when he challenged her); Zuko had her beat in both control and raw power. Evidenced in that Zuko barely moves from his spot while Azula was expending large amounts of energy zapping around the dueling grounds. Sure Zuko did some fancy break dancing, but he was basically in the same spot. The only time he moved was to take the hit meant for Katara.




!!!Miscellanous
* If you look at all the masters in the Order of the White Lotus, Bumi, Piandao, Pakku, Jeong Jeong, Iroh, and what Bumi says by "All old people know each other...don't you know that?" you can't help but think that proper practice of the bending arts makes you wise and spiritual, which was perhaps the ultimate purpose of all forms of bending. Remember that kung-fu masters see it not just for combat, but as a way of life and enlightenment? Bumi, you're a master of this trope!
* After Fire Lord Sozin betrayed Roku he started the tradition of killing dragons for fame and glory despite having a dragon mount before and during the betrayal. Roku also had a dragon and it was basically his symbol, so it is possible that Sozin started the tradition of hunting dragons because they reminded him of Roku and the friendship he had to destroy in order to fulfill his dream of conquest.
* At first Fire Nation's abduction of Benders from other nations seems simply like a systematized way of [[KickTheDog Kicking The Dog]] and showing what bastards they were. Once one comes to understand how the Avatar's cycle of reincarnation works in the series that it suddenly made complete sense: the {{Evil Overlord}}s are trying to effectively contain a threat to their schemes ''before it is even born''!
** Even if he didn't know that, he would be pleased because the next Avatar would be born either in the easily conquered South Tribe, the highly isolated North Tribe, or the Foggy Swamp which was in the Earth Kingdom he had control over. After that it would take at least 12 years for him to become an effective Waterbender and there's no way for him to become a fully realized Avatar because there's no one to teach him Airbending and it is very unlikely that anyone from the Fire Nation will be willing to teach him Firebending. An Avatar with a 2 maybe 3 element mastery would be useless against a largely consolidated Fire Empire.
** Keeping the other bending cultures alive would also greatly benefit the Fire Nation in the long run. They could easily kill a young Avatar, hastening the cycle until the Fire Nation got the Avatar again. Then they could easily indoctrinate him/her and force their captive Water and Earthbenders to teach the Avatar their skills. The Fire Nation winds up with a powerful weapon that they can still theoretically control as a fully realized Avatar is impossible (a Fire Lord should be able to defeat a rogue Avatar with only 3 elements). After that Avatar, the cycle will break but by then the Fire Nation should rule the world with or without Sozin's comet. The eugenic potential also does not seem to escape them with Ursa's grandfather in mind. Try not to think too hard about an Avatar mentored by Fire Lord Azula and married to one of Azula's children.
* China could have built a world spanning empire instead of Europe. They even sent out massive ships called "floating dragons" as a show of power; some think the expeditions might have reached Hawaii. After Zheng He, the emperor's friend who was leading the expedition, died, bureaucrats called Mandarins burned all the records of the voyages, including the ships and how to build them. The Mandarins were followers of Confucius who emphasized knowing your place. They were also very traditional and cautious of change, thus burning the records. The similarities to the Dai Li seem far too strong for this to be a coincidence, given that the Earth Kingdom was based off of China.
* The Fire Nation seems stupid for capturing and not killing the waterbenders, in case they escaped with a grudge. Especially since Zuko didn't stake out the Water Tribes in his search for the Avatar. However, they thought the Avatar was a waterbender and were just letting Zuko roam around the world searching for a nonexistent(or so they believed) airbender to keep him out of their hair. That way, the Avatar wouldn't be born into the Earth Kingdom, a huge and not-as-easily weeded out place as the Water Tribes. At least, until the waterbenders died of old age, which I think Ozai was betting on happening after he won the war. Also, even though they don't have the waterbenders from the south pole, even if the avatar was there, it isn't likely they can master earth and fire, there is absolutely no chance of them mastering air, and so they aren't much of a threat to the Fire Nation. There's also a bit more fridge brilliance to this considering Aang's successor as Avatar, Korra. She could already bend three of the four elements much younger than any previous Avatar, Aang included, only having trouble with Airbending because it was opposite to her personality. Ozai's plan was pretty much doomed to failure from the start.

to:

\n!!!Miscellanous\n* If you look at all the masters in the Order of the White Lotus, Bumi, Piandao, Pakku, Jeong Jeong, Iroh, and what Bumi says by "All old people know each other...don't you know that?" you can't help but think that proper practice of the bending arts makes you wise and spiritual, which was perhaps the ultimate purpose of all forms of bending. Remember that kung-fu masters see it not just for combat, but as a way of life and enlightenment? Bumi, you're a master of this trope!
* After Fire Lord Sozin betrayed Roku he started the tradition of killing dragons for fame and glory despite having a dragon mount before and during the betrayal. Roku also had a dragon and it was basically his symbol, so it is possible that Sozin started the tradition of hunting dragons because they reminded him of Roku and the friendship he had to destroy in order to fulfill his dream of conquest.
* At first Fire Nation's abduction of Benders from other nations seems simply like a systematized way of [[KickTheDog Kicking
The Dog]] and showing what bastards they were. Once one comes to understand how the Avatar's cycle of reincarnation works most common hairstyle in the series that it suddenly made complete sense: the {{Evil Overlord}}s are trying to effectively contain a threat to their schemes ''before it is even born''!
** Even if he didn't know that, he would be pleased because the next Avatar would be born either in the easily conquered South Tribe, the highly isolated North Tribe, or the Foggy Swamp which was in the Earth Kingdom he had control over. After that it would take at least 12 years for him to become an effective Waterbender and there's no way for him to become a fully realized Avatar because there's no one to teach him Airbending and it is very unlikely that anyone from
the Fire Nation will be willing to teach him Firebending. An Avatar with a 2 maybe 3 element mastery would be useless against a largely consolidated Fire Empire.
** Keeping
is the other bending cultures alive would also greatly benefit topknot, which keeps the Fire Nation in hair tied back tight at the long run. They could easily kill a young Avatar, hastening the cycle until the Fire Nation got the Avatar again. Then they could easily indoctrinate him/her and force their captive Water and Earthbenders to teach the Avatar their skills. The Fire Nation winds up with a powerful weapon that they can still theoretically control as a fully realized Avatar is impossible (a Fire Lord should be able to defeat a rogue Avatar with only 3 elements). After that Avatar, the cycle will break but by then the Fire Nation should rule the world with or without Sozin's comet. The eugenic potential also does not seem to escape them with Ursa's grandfather in mind. Try not to think too hard about an Avatar mentored by Fire Lord Azula and married to one of Azula's children.
* China could have built a world spanning empire instead of Europe. They even sent out massive ships called "floating dragons" as a show of power; some think the expeditions might have reached Hawaii. After Zheng He, the emperor's friend who was leading the expedition, died, bureaucrats called Mandarins burned all the records
top of the voyages, including the ships and how to build them. The Mandarins were followers of Confucius who emphasized knowing your place. They were also very traditional and cautious of change, thus burning the records. The similarities to the Dai Li seem far too strong for this to be a coincidence, given that the Earth Kingdom was based off of China.
* The Fire Nation seems stupid for capturing and not killing the waterbenders, in case they escaped with a grudge. Especially since Zuko didn't stake out the Water Tribes in his search for the Avatar. However, they thought the Avatar was a waterbender and were just letting Zuko roam around the world searching for a nonexistent(or so they believed) airbender to keep him out of their hair. That way, the Avatar wouldn't be born into the Earth Kingdom, a huge and not-as-easily weeded out place as the Water Tribes. At least, until the waterbenders died of old age, which I think Ozai was betting on happening after he won the war. Also, even though they don't have the waterbenders from the south pole, even if the avatar was there, it isn't likely they can master earth and fire, there is absolutely no chance of them mastering air, and so they aren't much of a threat to the Fire Nation. There's also a bit more fridge brilliance to this
head. Makes sense considering Aang's successor as Avatar, Korra. She could already bend three of the four elements much younger than any previous Avatar, Aang included, only having trouble with Airbending because it was opposite to her personality. Ozai's plan was pretty much doomed to failure from the start.long, loose hair is a fire hazard.



* If you pay attention, Lion Turtles are ''everywhere''-- statues in the Air Temples, door knockers in the Earth Kingdom, the front of the Fire Nation war zeppelins, and in the library episode, Aang pulls out a scroll and commented on the HUGE lion turtle on it. [[TheProducerThinksOfEverything The Producers Really Do Think Of Everything]].
* ''Ozai was completely right'' when he says to Zuko, "You will learn respect, and suffering will be your teacher." At first it seems like a line that just proves his cruelty, and that's probably what he meant it to be. But here's the thing: Zuko ''didn't'' learn respect until he had suffered for a while, particularly throughout season 2. Watch as [[BreakTheHaughty his pride is slowly broken down]] and he starts being less of a jerk, culminating in his HeelFaceTurn in season 3, which was preceded by half a season of intense inner conflict. There is something Zuko did "learn" from his father there. Consider: Zuko surrendered, and got in a world of hurt for it. As Sokka observes in the season 1 finale, "If there's one thing we know, it's that Zuko never gives up". Up until "The Western Air Temple" halfway through season 3, Zuko was the only one of the "core cast" who had ''never'' surrendered to someone who wanted to fight him. That he can offer himself as a prisoner is a sign of how far he has moved out of his father's influence, particularly since getting a bending attack in his face ''again'' for the attempt does not work to deter him for long.
** The problem with this is, Zuko ''was'' a respectful person, by most standards, before Ozai burned him and banished him. Yes, Zuko did learn respect and humility on his long and painful journey--but he only had to learn them because ''Ozai twisted his personality in the first place.'' Zuko started demanding respect and generally trying to act the way his father and sister would only after the Agni Kai.
** Or, looking at it another way, Zuko suffered and learned ''to'' respect the other nations, the balance which was required, and the true nature of firebending. While he did learn respect through his suffering, it was exact opposite kind of respect that Ozai wanted him to learn.
* The order of elements Aang has to master ties into his personal growth during the seasons. At the opening of season 1, Aang doesn't realize at first that there is a war going on and that the world as he knows it isn't the same. Only after visiting the ruins of what used to be his home temple and seeing the skeleton of his mentor does Aang realize that he has a responsibility to the world and can't go back to his old life anymore. Throughout season 1, he has to deal with the duty of being the Avatar. What element does Aang have to master for this season? Water, the element of change. Then next in season 2 is earth, the element of substance, whose discipline requires firmness and strength. Halfway through the season, Aang loses his animal companion and living relic of his old life, Appa and almost loses hope. Also the gang has to deal with delivering crucial info that could end the war to the Earth King past ObstructiveBureaucrat-s, the Dai Li. Finally, Aang learns fire, the element of desire and decisiveness in the last season where he faces off against Fire Lord Ozai. In the last first episodes he struggles against killing the Fire Lord due to his pacifist nature despite everyone telling him he must do it. Also in the last episode Aang and Katara kiss, thereby confirming their relationship, something both of them had desired to do.

to:

* If you pay attention, Lion Turtles are ''everywhere''-- statues At first Fire Nation's abduction of Benders from other nations seems simply like a systematized way of [[KickTheDog Kicking The Dog]] and showing what bastards they were. Once one comes to understand how the Avatar's cycle of reincarnation works in the Air Temples, door knockers series that it suddenly made complete sense: the {{Evil Overlord}}s are trying to effectively contain a threat to their schemes ''before it is even born''!
** Even if he didn't know that, he would be pleased because the next Avatar would be born either
in the easily conquered South Tribe, the highly isolated North Tribe, or the Foggy Swamp which was in the Earth Kingdom he had control over. After that it would take at least 12 years for him to become an effective Waterbender and there's no way for him to become a fully realized Avatar because there's no one to teach him Airbending and it is very unlikely that anyone from the Fire Nation will be willing to teach him Firebending. An Avatar with a 2 maybe 3 element mastery would be useless against a largely consolidated Fire Empire.
** Keeping the other bending cultures alive would also greatly benefit the Fire Nation in the long run. They could easily kill a young Avatar, hastening the cycle until the Fire Nation got the Avatar again. Then they could easily indoctrinate him/her and force their captive Water and Earthbenders to teach the Avatar their skills. The Fire Nation winds up with a powerful weapon that they can still theoretically control as a fully realized Avatar is impossible (a Fire Lord should be able to defeat a rogue Avatar with only 3 elements). After that Avatar, the cycle will break but by then the Fire Nation should rule the world with or without Sozin's comet. The eugenic potential also does not seem to escape them with Ursa's grandfather in mind. Try not to think too hard about an Avatar mentored by Fire Lord Azula and married to one of Azula's children.
* The Fire Nation seems stupid for capturing and not killing the waterbenders, in case they escaped with a grudge. Especially since Zuko didn't stake out the Water Tribes in his search for the Avatar. However, they thought the Avatar was a waterbender and were just letting Zuko roam around the world searching for a nonexistent(or so they believed) airbender to keep him out of their hair. That way, the Avatar wouldn't be born into
the Earth Kingdom, a huge and not-as-easily weeded out place as the front of the Fire Nation war zeppelins, and in the library episode, Aang pulls out a scroll and commented on the HUGE lion turtle on it. [[TheProducerThinksOfEverything The Producers Really Do Think Of Everything]].
* ''Ozai was completely right'' when he says to Zuko, "You will learn respect, and suffering will be your teacher."
Water Tribes. At first it seems like a line that just proves his cruelty, and that's probably what he meant it to be. But here's the thing: Zuko ''didn't'' learn respect least, until he had suffered for a while, particularly throughout season 2. Watch as [[BreakTheHaughty his pride is slowly broken down]] and he starts being less the waterbenders died of a jerk, culminating in his HeelFaceTurn in season 3, old age, which was preceded by half a season of intense inner conflict. There is something Zuko did "learn" from his father there. Consider: Zuko surrendered, and got in a world of hurt for it. As Sokka observes in the season 1 finale, "If there's one thing we know, it's that Zuko never gives up". Up until "The Western Air Temple" halfway through season 3, Zuko was the only one of the "core cast" who had ''never'' surrendered to someone who wanted to fight him. That he can offer himself as a prisoner is a sign of how far he has moved out of his father's influence, particularly since getting a bending attack in his face ''again'' for the attempt does not work to deter him for long.
** The problem with this is, Zuko ''was'' a respectful person, by most standards, before
I think Ozai burned him and banished him. Yes, Zuko did learn respect and humility was betting on his long and painful journey--but he only had to learn them because ''Ozai twisted his personality in the first place.'' Zuko started demanding respect and generally trying to act the way his father and sister would only happening after he won the Agni Kai.
** Or, looking at it another way, Zuko suffered and learned ''to'' respect
war. Also, even though they don't have the other nations, waterbenders from the balance which south pole, even if the avatar was required, and the true nature of firebending. While he did learn respect through his suffering, it was exact opposite kind of respect that Ozai wanted him to learn.
* The order of elements Aang has to master ties into his personal growth during the seasons. At the opening of season 1, Aang doesn't realize at first that there is a war going on and that the world as he knows
there, it isn't the same. Only after visiting the ruins of what used to be his home temple and seeing the skeleton of his mentor does Aang realize that he has a responsibility to the world and can't go back to his old life anymore. Throughout season 1, he has to deal with the duty of being the Avatar. What element does Aang have to likely they can master for this season? Water, the element of change. Then next in season 2 is earth, the element of substance, whose discipline requires firmness earth and strength. Halfway through the season, Aang loses his animal companion and living relic of his old life, Appa and almost loses hope. Also the gang has to deal with delivering crucial info that could end the war to the Earth King past ObstructiveBureaucrat-s, the Dai Li. Finally, Aang learns fire, the element there is absolutely no chance of desire them mastering air, and decisiveness in the last season where he faces off against Fire Lord Ozai. In the last first episodes he struggles against killing so they aren't much of a threat to the Fire Lord due Nation. There's also a bit more fridge brilliance to his pacifist nature despite everyone telling him he must do it. Also in this considering Aang's successor as Avatar, Korra. She could already bend three of the last episode four elements much younger than any previous Avatar, Aang and Katara kiss, thereby confirming their relationship, something both of them had desired included, only having trouble with Airbending because it was opposite to do.her personality. Ozai's plan was pretty much doomed to failure from the start.





!!!Miscellanous
* China could have built a world spanning empire instead of Europe. They even sent out massive ships called "floating dragons" as a show of power; some think the expeditions might have reached Hawaii. After Zheng He, the emperor's friend who was leading the expedition, died, bureaucrats called Mandarins burned all the records of the voyages, including the ships and how to build them. The Mandarins were followers of Confucius who emphasized knowing your place. They were also very traditional and cautious of change, thus burning the records. The similarities to the Dai Li seem far too strong for this to be a coincidence, given that the Earth Kingdom was based off of China.



* The show's three seasons correspond with whatever element Aang is learning, obviously. But they also correspond with what Zuko is doing, proving once again that they're NotSoDifferent! In the Water season, he lives on a ship out in the middle of the ocean. In the Earth season, he wanders around on land pretending to be an Earth Kingdom peasant. In the Fire season, he's a Fire Nation prince again, and then teaches Aang firebending.



* There's another good reason Toph's blind. All the in-universe written text in the series uses Chinese or Japanese characters. Having someone around who can't read gives the rest of the Gaang an excuse to read things ''to'' her, and by extension to the audience. Not to mention making it hilarious when someone (usually Sokka) tries to show her something written/drawn (like a picture of Appa).
* Regarding Zuko and Agni Kai: In season 1, Zuko manages to defeat Zhao, a potent firebender, early on by "breaking his root" - i.e., upsetting his stance, specifically using an ankle sweep. This is fairly rudimentary principle - as Iroh had been drilling him on the basics in the first few episodes - but it works. Fast forward to season 3: Zuko's dueling Azula for the crown, and it's (gasp) evenly-matched. She's jetting around and throwing huge walls of flame, but he's wearing her down. She circles him, looking to engulf him, and he break-dance-firebends a fire wheel at ankle height. He '''breaks Azula's root''' and she tumbles to the ground, pretty much beaten. ''Zuko bested his nigh-unbeatable prodigy sister, '''during Sozin's comet,''' using a basic firebending principle.''
* The Lion Turtle at the end of the third season isn't drawn like the other characters and creatures, instead, he is done with the more detailed style and coloring used for the backgrounds. It makes perfect sense: he is one of the oldest creatures on the Airbender universe's earth. He is old enough to have a large, thriving forest growing on his back and the only creature we know of that's old enough to know energy-bending. He is drawn in the same style as the earth itself because like the earth, he is ancient.

to:

* There's another good reason Toph's blind. All ** Because the in-universe written text in the series uses Chinese or Japanese characters. Having someone around who can't read gives the rest of the Gaang an excuse to read things ''to'' her, and by extension to the audience. Not to mention making it hilarious when someone (usually Sokka) tries to show her something written/drawn (like a picture of Appa).
* Regarding Zuko and Agni Kai: In season 1, Zuko manages to defeat Zhao, a potent firebender, early on by "breaking his root" - i.e., upsetting his stance, specifically using an ankle sweep. This is fairly rudimentary principle - as Iroh had been drilling him on the basics in the first few episodes - but it works. Fast forward to season 3: Zuko's dueling Azula
was for the crown, and it's (gasp) evenly-matched. She's jetting around and throwing huge walls of flame, but he's wearing her down. She circles him, looking to engulf him, and he break-dance-firebends a fire wheel at ankle height. He '''breaks Azula's root''' and she tumbles to the ground, pretty much beaten. ''Zuko bested his nigh-unbeatable prodigy sister, '''during Sozin's comet,''' using a basic firebending principle.''
* The Lion Turtle at the end of the third season isn't drawn like the other characters and creatures, instead, he is done with the more detailed style and coloring used for the backgrounds. It makes perfect sense: he is one of the oldest creatures on the Airbender universe's earth. He is old enough to have a large, thriving forest growing on his back and the only creature we know of that's old enough to know energy-bending. He is drawn in the same style as the earth itself because like the earth, he is ancient.
kids?



* A few episodes after Iroh's White Lotus tile is featured, but well before the [[ChallengeCoin true significance of it is revealed]], we see another OldMaster using the tile in a game: Monk Gyatso. Old people really ''do'' all know each other!



* Why is Roku the one to introduce recaps of previous episodes at the start of each episode? Because he's the previous life of Aang.
* The fact that Zuko [[spoiler: is the descendant of both Roku and Sozin, and that this lineage gives him a pointedly evil and a pointedly good side]] is somewhat sneakily foreshadowed throughout the series. The first is when Azula snarks, "remember to remind the portrait painters to ''get your good side.''" But this is exactly why he can learn to [[spoiler: redirect lightning.]] At the point in the story when he learns the skill from [[spoiler: Iroh,]] he's told he must separate the negative and positive energies to ''create'' [[spoiler: lightning]]. He can't manage this because at this point, [[spoiler: his good and evil sides are in conflict - i.e., his negative and positive energies]]. He also has an evil (scarred) and a good (unscarred) side of his face. In shots where he's doing something noble, such as the first time he [[spoiler: Approaches Aang and asks to join the group,]] his unscarred side is highlighted.
* Sky Bison aren't like mascots that just happen to have convenient arrow-like markings. Master Airbenders tattoo themselves that way precisely ''because'' Sky Bison have them. Since they are the 'original airbenders'.
* Toph's personality doesn't lend itself well to expressing any kind of love towards others (which she herself points out after punching Zuko on the arm). This makes sense when you consider the element associated with the Heart Chakra, which deals with love; Air. Air, obviously, being the opposite element to Toph's Earth. Additionally, the chakra associated with Earth deals with fear, something that would obviously stop a person emotionally opening up.
* The most common hairstyle in the Fire Nation is the topknot, which keeps the hair tied back tight at the top of the head. Makes sense considering long, loose hair is a fire hazard.


to:

* Why is Roku the one to introduce recaps of previous episodes at the start of each episode? Because he's the previous life of Aang.
* The fact that Zuko [[spoiler: is the descendant of both Roku and Sozin, and that this lineage gives him a pointedly evil and a pointedly good side]] is somewhat sneakily foreshadowed throughout the series. The first is when Azula snarks, "remember to remind the portrait painters to ''get your good side.''" But this is exactly why he can learn to [[spoiler: redirect lightning.]] At the point in the story when he learns the skill from [[spoiler: Iroh,]] he's told he must separate the negative and positive energies to ''create'' [[spoiler: lightning]]. He can't manage this because at this point, [[spoiler: his good and evil sides are in conflict - i.e., his negative and positive energies]]. He also has an evil (scarred) and a good (unscarred) side of his face. In shots where he's doing something noble, such as the first time he [[spoiler: Approaches Aang and asks to join the group,]] his unscarred side is highlighted.
* Sky Bison aren't like mascots that just happen to have convenient arrow-like markings. Master Airbenders tattoo themselves that way precisely ''because'' Sky Bison have them. Since they are the 'original airbenders'. \n* Toph's personality doesn't lend itself well to expressing any kind of love towards others (which she herself points out after punching Zuko on the arm). This makes sense when you consider the element associated with the Heart Chakra, which deals with love; Air. Air, obviously, being the opposite element to Toph's Earth. Additionally, the chakra associated with Earth deals with fear, something that would obviously stop a person emotionally opening up.\n* The most common hairstyle in the Fire Nation is the topknot, which keeps the hair tied back tight at the top of the head. Makes sense considering long, loose hair is a fire hazard.\n\n
15th Mar '18 6:21:40 AM EvilKid
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!!!Character - General



* Somewhere up-page, someone made a joke about ''WesternAnimation/{{Captain Planet|and the Planeteers}}'', but let's run with that for a second:
** Aang is Wind
** Katara is Water
** Toph is Earth
** Zuko (or, briefly, Uncle Iroh) is Fire
** Which leaves Sokka as Heart. As evidenced by ''[[Recap/AvatarTheLastAirbenderSokkasMaster Sokka's Master]]'', which showed that in Sokka's absence, the Gaang is reduced to listlessness and boredom, compared to their previous drive to complete their mission or being distracted by various adventures on the way.
* For the first half of season 3, the members of the Gaang and the Fire Kids mirror each other. Observe:
** Aang and Zuko. Obviously this has been pointed out in canon and in analysis several times.
** Katara and Azula. They're both extremely gifted, the more talented sibling in their respective families despite being younger than their respective brothers. They also hold the team together, but in different ways: Katara is the TeamMom, whereas Azula controls people through fear and intimidation.
** Toph and Mai. Both were repressed during childhood and found freedom and expression through their friends. Also, they're both snarky and awesome, and aren't afraid to tell people off when they need to cut the shit.
** Sokka and Ty Lee. Sometimes seen as goofy, but they both bring unique skills to the table that neither group would be able to function without. Also, both of them felt overshadowed in their families, Sokka by Katara, and Ty Lee by her sisters.
** It goes further than that, just look one generation above. You have a son who desperately wants approval from a father figure they haven't seen in years, with he and his sister's mother being gone since they were young children because of the Fire Lord. Now, is that Sokka and Katara, or Zuko and Azula?
* Yet more things that make the Hakoda/Kya and Ozai/Ursa families diametrically-opposed mirror images of each other: Kya died and Ursa disappeared at about the same time. Furthermore, Hakoda went to war and Zuko was banished at about the same time.

!!!Character - Specific



* If you look at all the masters in the Order of the White Lotus, Bumi, Piandao, Pakku, Jeong Jeong, Iroh, and what Bumi says by "All old people know each other...don't you know that?" you can't help but think that proper practice of the bending arts makes you wise and spiritual, which was perhaps the ultimate purpose of all forms of bending. Remember that kung-fu masters see it not just for combat, but as a way of life and enlightenment? Bumi, you're a master of this trope!
* After Fire Lord Sozin betrayed Roku he started the tradition of killing dragons for fame and glory despite having a dragon mount before and during the betrayal. Roku also had a dragon and it was basically his symbol, so it is possible that Sozin started the tradition of hunting dragons because they reminded him of Roku and the friendship he had to destroy in order to fulfill his dream of conquest.
* Zuko's firebending was so weak as a child, but he was able to match Azula towards the end. The Firebending that Zuko learnt at first had to be fueled by rage and hate, which Zuko was ''too soft'' for, unlike Azula or Ozai, it isn't in his nature to be so heartless or evil to work well. Well, until he got banished and dishonored, he didn't have a source of rage and Angst to fuel his fire. He got much better after he learnt the "Fire is Life" approach, because that is more in tune with his real character.
** Another reason he got stronger might be because he finally got over his shame at not living up to his father's expectations (both because of his weak firebending as a kid and his banishment), since it was said when Aang was studying under the guru that the fire chakra has to do with willpower and is blocked by shame. This means that he was getting a boost from more than just Sozin's comet in the finale--he had finally gotten over both his old problems and been forgiven by his uncle. That helped give him the boost that put him on Azula's level.
** This is true on a more technical level. In an earlier episode we see Iroh being uncharacteristically stern regarding Zuko's firebending, stressing that he needs to breathe. If you see his fights you can see that he moves too much and rarely does anything besides big fireballs. Per his personality, Zuko always tries for direct and powerful, despite having issues with the basics. ''Obviously'' this affects his technique. At his duel with Zhao, he finally improves. Look closely how he fights. He uses simpler movements against Zhao's unnecessary display of power. All throughout Season 2 Zuko goes Back to Basics in his firebending, and by the Season Finale he's a much more credible threat to the Avatar than ever, making use of impressive techniques. Once he learns the "Fire is Life" approach, and with his revisited technique, [[TookALevelInBadass by Season 3 Finale he's finally one of the most powerful firebenders in the show.]]
** Keep in mind that Azula lost her sanity when she became Fire Lord, so her Firebending became more erratic and unpredictable. Zuko perfected his Firebending with Aang so he was much stronger in terms of power and technique.
*** However, Zuko and Azula's first clash happened when she attacked the Western Air Temple, before Ozai discarded her and she broke down, and they were evenly matched in their short duel there as well.
*** Even before that, they battled on the prison gondola at the Boiling Rock, and Zuko was able to match her blow for blow. The only reason neither could go all-out was because of the cramped battlefield and their nearby allies: Zuko was covering Sokka, and Ty Lee was in Azula's line of fire.

to:

* If you look at all the masters in the Order of the White Lotus, Bumi, Piandao, Pakku, Jeong Jeong, Iroh, It's interesting what was planned for Azula's character and what Bumi says by "All old people know each other...don't you know that?" you can't help but think that proper practice of wasn't. In the bending arts makes you wise very beginning of season 2 she seems like a 'older sister' archetype (even though she's younger). The perfect, older sibling who wins all of Daddy's approval, the one thing Zuko ever wanted. It's great how much they developed her, from being the epitome of everything Zuko needed, to her own, flawed character. She and spiritual, which Ozai both have an obsession with control and perfection. When she unhinges, we see her going into a more 'animalistic' instinctive nature. Killing a "weak" sibling (we always knew Azula was perhaps fine with Zuko dying, even early in season 3, something she might even actively pursue herself) and displaying more of her real nature. They really play with the ultimate purpose idea of all forms of bending. Remember that kung-fu masters see it not her being a sociopath throughout the series. Zuko couldn't beat her in her normal state. Anything else than the breakdown would have been undermining her character, if Zuko had just for combat, but as a way of life and enlightenment? Bumi, you're a master of this trope!
* After Fire Lord Sozin betrayed Roku he started the tradition of killing dragons for fame and glory despite having a dragon mount before and during the betrayal. Roku also had a dragon and
merely defeated her, it was basically his symbol, so wouldn't have been enough. If she'd 'reformed' or been humiliated, it is possible that Sozin started the tradition of hunting dragons because they reminded him of Roku and the friendship he wouldn't have been enough. She had to destroy in order to fulfill his dream die or 'break down' until she couldn't be her former self. Because any other DeusExMachina or decision wouldn't have been a fair treatment of conquest.
her character.
* Zuko's Referencing Azula's VillainousBreakdown, her first full appearance where she does some crazy firebending was so weak as and then is all upset about her hair like a child, but he was able to match Azula towards perfectionist? Definitely foreshadows the end. The Firebending that Zuko learnt at first had to be fueled by rage hair-chopping AxCrazy in the finale. Also, her line when Li and hate, which Zuko was ''too soft'' for, unlike Azula or Ozai, it Lo tell her about it: "Almost perfect isn't good enough!" Azula has spent her life being perfect. Her firebending is perfect (nobody else bends blue flames like she does, and she can do lightning), she is a perfect leader, and perfectly executes her coup. When her record becomes "almost perfect" with Ty Lee and Mai's betrayal, she loses it, and she has a terrible success record through the rest of the show (fails to kill Zuko, her reign as Fire Lord is a disaster, she loses to Katara, she ends up in his nature an insane asylum). When she's not perfect, she's...nothing. Without the veneer of perfection that she maintained through most of the show, she's just an abused kid who missed out on what she really wanted (her mother's love), and no more. She isn't the firebender prodigy who never lost a match (loses to both Zuko and Katara), she isn't the amazing leader who conquered Ba Sing Se in 2 days due to force of personality (she's over-paranoid and not quite in touch with reality during her reign as Fire Lord), and she isn't even the girl who had perfect control over her life (Mai and Ty Lee betray her). That one line foreshadowed, long before Azula lost it, that she had to be so heartless perfect or evil to work well. Well, until he got banished and dishonored, he nothing. She didn't have a source of rage any middle ground.
* Azula was born lucky,
and Angst Zuko was lucky to fuel his fire. He got much better after he learnt the "Fire is Life" approach, because that is more in tune with his real character.
** Another reason he got stronger might
be because he finally got over his shame at born. Such a true line, but not living up to his father's expectations (both because of his weak firebending as a kid and his banishment), since it was said when Aang was studying under the guru that the fire chakra has to do with willpower and is blocked by shame. This means that he was getting a boost from more than just Sozin's comet in the finale--he had finally gotten over both his old problems and been forgiven by his uncle. That helped give him way one would think. While Ozai meant it as a putdown for Zuko, the boost reality is that put him on this is Zuko's greatest strength and Azula's level.greatest weakness. Yes, life is constantly kicking Zuko to the curb and spitting on him for good measure; but as a result of his suffering, he has learned how to deal with failure: he picks himself up and keeps on going, no matter how many times he has to do so. Being TheDeterminator is practically his defining character trait. Azula, on the other hand, was too used to things simply going her way: she's a prodigy, she was constantly outperforming her brother, earning the praise of her father and the whole Fire Nation, and just generally kicking ass. But as soon as things went wrong for her - not just a little wrong, but hugely, disastrously wrong, like losing her only friends and getting KickedUpstairs by the very father who "favors" her - she has no idea how to deal with it emotionally, and she completely falls apart. In the end, it's Zuko's fortitude and Azula's lack thereof are what put Zuko on the throne and left Azula a broken, sobbing wreck.
* It seems a little weird to me that Zuko just went on quests with everyone is such an almost formulaic way (it's even lampshaded by Toph.) But it actually makes perfect sense that Zuko accompany everyone on quests that played huge parts in building up to the climaxes of their respective character arcs, because his arc was the first to be resolved! When you think about it, Zuko's arc is pretty much done in Day of the Black Sun when he has his epic CallingTheOldManOut moment and goes to join Aang. Not that important things don't happen to him post-DOTBS, but his main character development from Point A to Point B was pretty much concluded. Even more important when you remember that Zuko spent years (including most of the show) traveling with a StaticCharacter CoolOldGuy who played the exact same role in his life - helping him along with his character development because Iroh's own had already been done!
* Iroh, the bumbling old man who travels with Zuko and is constantly trying to get him to take it easy, suddenly turns out to be badass. If you look at [[BigScrewedUpFamily the rest]] [[RoyallyScrewedUp of his family]], you realize that if he wasn't badass, he ''wouldn't get to be an old man.'' Also, the only way to convince his family he wasn't a threat was to be a bumbling old man. The 'bumbling' persona is actually a protective measure.

* We all know how Sokka can't draw, right? Well, he's a Southern Water Tribe peasant. Of course he can't draw! He never went to school, and before traveling with the Avatar, his only experience with drawing would have been pictures in the snow; also, it's very difficult to use ink brushes, even if you know how to use a pen/pencil. He draws on the level of a preschooler because he IS on that level.
* Another Sokka one: We all know how the universe loves to torture Sokka, right? Well remember when Toph was training Aang, how quickly Sokka gave up meat and sarcasm, and then he went right back to eating meat and being sarcastic? The Avatar verse is paying him back for breaking his promise!
** In addition to that, the speed in which he gave up meat and sarcasm means he's probably done it before. He might not have been in another situation like that while with Aang, but I would bet it's really easy to get lost in a blizzard in the Southern Water Tribe or get into another situation where you desperately need help, especially if you're the kid who manages to do something like get two fishhooks in your thumb. He's probably made that promise before and broken it, and the universe just keeps pwning him because of that.
* I wonder if this counts: We all heard Iroh tells Zuko that he is the representation of the battle between good and evil due to being the great grandson of both Roku and Sozin. Many viewers wondered afterward "yeah, but what about Azula?" for quite a while. A lot of them came to the simple conclusion that Zuko is the good great-grandchild while Azula is the evil one. Then, at the end, Azula's VillainousBreakdown happened. Azula's inner turmoil means that both she AND Zuko have great potential for BOTH great good AND great evil. The siblings are inverses: while Zuko is a basically good person struggling with bad influences and emotional turmoil caused by said influences, Azula, while outwardly psychotically evil, struggles with emerging hints of humanizing qualities, such as small amounts of warmth for Mai, Ty Lee, and especially Zuko, and a deep desire for true, unconditional love, particularly from her mother. That's a big part of the reason why Azula snaps, and why, unlike Ozai, she is quite tragic and sympathetic, and has at least some chance for redemption.
** There's a small parallel between Zuko and Azula in that regard. Zuko temporarily had the "sickness" when he gave up capturing Appa after Lake Laogai, and went into deep turmoil since Iroh's ArmorPiercingQuestion made him rethink what ''he'' wanted, not what his father did. Azula likewise had a similar breakdown when she realized that being the Fire Lord wasn't what she wanted and the betrayal of her friends made her question herself as well. Unlike Zuko though, Azula's Parental figure Ozai did nothing to help her, instead discarded her to what amounts to being a regent. Zuko, with the help of Iroh, passed his test of character, while Azula failed.
** Also, both children were the [[ParentalFavoritism favorites]] of their parents; Zuko to Ursa, who was Roku's grandchild, and Azula to Ozai, who was Sozin's. Just like with firebending itself, their ''roots'' were what really determined who they turned out to be.
* Some could argue that Iroh was holding an IdiotBall (or just having a WhatAnIdiot moment) when he seriously thought that ''Zuko'', who Iroh knows damn well is stubborn, proud, desperate for recognition, determined, and driven to try and reclaim his place in the Fire Nation for many reasons (including a desperate need to have the love of his family as well as a yearning to return things to "normal" and stop being the disgraced, dishonorable, worthless exile), would happily agree to spending the rest of his life meekly denying everything he was and pretending to be a humble waiter in a teashop. Which leads to FridgeBrilliance in its own right; a further emphasis of the subtle message in the show that all beings are fallible. Nobody, no matter how wise or powerful they may be, is totally immune to making mistakes or learning from those mistakes.
** This is true on a more technical level. In an earlier episode we see actually gives new meaning to Iroh's refusal to speak with Zuko while in prison. Initially, it just seems like Iroh is still angry at his nephew for betraying him at Ba Sing Se. However, he may have realized by then that, even though he could help Zuko make the right choices, being uncharacteristically stern regarding together didn't make Zuko into his own person, it just made him more like Iroh. [[CruelToBeKInd In order to make sure Zuko's firebending, stressing decisions after that he needs to breathe. If you see were completely his fights you can see that own, he moves too much and rarely does anything besides big fireballs. Per his personality, Zuko always tries for direct and powerful, despite having issues refused any sort of contact with him until he knew the basics. ''Obviously'' this affects whole story about his technique. At his duel with Zhao, he finally improves. Look closely how he fights. He uses simpler movements against Zhao's unnecessary display of power. All throughout Season 2 Zuko goes Back to Basics in his firebending, and by the Season Finale he's a much more credible threat to the Avatar than ever, making use of impressive techniques. Once he learns the "Fire is Life" approach, and with his revisited technique, [[TookALevelInBadass by Season 3 Finale he's finally one of the most powerful firebenders in the show.past.]]
** Keep in mind that It's possible Iroh was enabling Zuko's choice. By siding with Azula lost and rejecting all Iroh had to teach him, ''he was rejecting Iroh as a teacher''. And so, Iroh was silent, because by siding with Azula over Iroh's advice, he had chosen to not have Iroh to advise him. And so Iroh didn't, subtly showing Zuko some of the consequences of his choice.
* Azula and Ozai think in fundamentally different ways. Whenever you see Ozai's reaction to something, he's reacting as the problem comes along, usually with more harshness than necessary. ("Son speaking out of place? Agni Kai! Refuses to fight? Burn half his face off and banish him! [[spoiler: Rebels in the captured Earth Kingdom? Burn the entire continent to the ground!"]]) Azula [[CrazyPrepared plans way ahead]], acts on opportunities, plans for every possibility, and manipulates people and events to
her sanity advantage. Her train of thought is more like, "I'll dress up like a Kyoshi warrior to get into Ba Sing Se, and since Long Feng wants to manipulate me, I'll let him think he's manipulating me, while really manipulating him. This gives me control of the Dai Li, so I'll use them in a complicated plan to take over the city. I'll instill fear in the Dai Li, so that when Long Feng eventually tries to betray me they'll still be on my side. I won't be able to beat the avatar and his friends, even with the Dai Li on my side, unless I also have Zuko. So I'll easily emotionally manipulate him and take it from there." In the end, [[spoiler: Azula's [[VillainousBreakdown villainous breakdown]] is shown, besides the paranoia and hallucinations, by her losing this methodical logic and becoming more like Ozai. Her decisions are now just like his. ("Servant left a pit in my cherry? Banish her!) Her complete loss of control and planning comes in her final fight with Katara. She was able to out reason Zuko, but Katara sees a grate with water running under it, lures her onto it, and uses the water to be able to defeat her. Under normal circumstances, Azula would be the one pulling a trick like this, and would have probably known about the water in advance and prepared for it.]]
* In one of the scenes where we first meet Azula, she's practicing her lightning. Afterwards, Li and Lo comment that
she became was "Almost perfect" with a single hair out of place, which Azula found unacceptable. Cut forward to the finale, just before she hallucinates her mother, she poorly cuts her hair. Her hair was also probably a large indicator to Zuko that she wasn't at her best.
** This is seen elsewhere in the series, Azula's hair being cut by Katara in the season two finale, and falling loose signified she was losing. Furthering the importance of Zuko's side switch.
* Another for Azula's breakdown. We never see Azula being taught much about actual ''ruling'' or ever taking an interest in what's happening at the lower levels of the
Fire Lord, so Nation except when it directly impacts her. All we ever really see of Azula is her Firebending became exceptional combat skills or using fear and misdirection to ruin her enemies and increase her power. The one time we see her at a war meeting, her contribution is to suggest genocide. Compare that with Zuko, who isn't nearly as good as Azula at firebending and he's incompetent at manipulation, but he ''is'' shown to grow to genuinely care about his people, he does listen to other people sharing their problems and at the same meeting his contribution is to analyze the problem and show an understanding of the Earth Kingdom. In other words all there really is to Azula is her abilities as a ''conqueror'' and nothing to her as a ''ruler''. From the start the series foreshadowed that Zuko would be a decent ruler while Azula would be a disaster even if Mai and Ty Lee had stayed.
* Why was firebending so dangerous for Aang? Precisely because he started as an airbender, and air enhances fire! So firebending would ''seem'' easy for him at the start, making it even
more erratic and unpredictable. Zuko perfected his Firebending likely for him to get himself into trouble with Aang so he was much stronger in terms of power and technique.
***
it. However, the opposite was not true for Roku, as he learned airbending first after firebending, and found it easy. And that is probably because mastering firebending requires mastery of ''controlling breath'', and breath is air. In a similar vein, Aang found waterbending easy, probably because since gases and liquids are both fluids, many techniques he mastered for controlling air probably applied with only minimal modification to controlling water. The order Jeong Jeong wanted Aang to master the elements (air then water then earth then fire) directly mirrors the Avatar cycle itself, and the pattern is a general one for all Avatars (the element immediately after that Avatar's birth element shares enough in common that the Avatar will find learning it very easy, and so will always learn it second after the birth element, the next element will be in some way opposite and therefore counterintuitive and difficult to master, and the final element will be complementary but deceptive and/or dangerous in some way, and so should be mastered last.)
** Iroh describes air as the element of freedom. What does Aang do when he first firebends? Allows it too much freedom.
* Aang and Zuko have been portrayed as NotSoDifferent since "The Storm". Remember how Zuko had a VisionQuest of sorts throughout "The Earth King", and Aang has one the next episode to unlock his seventh chakra? Aang rejected his at the last second, despite all the progress he had made to reach spiritual peace and enlightenment, because he chose another person's love over his own empowerment or what was right for the world. Going by the previous parallels, this was broad and subtle {{Foreshadowing}} to Zuko's impending betrayal.
* Rewatching the first season shows that Iroh never actively attacks the Avatar, except once, where he lent his strength to Zuko's fireball (which missed). The reason? Even now, Iroh knows that the Avatar must win and that Zuko must eventually join forces with him. But if he openly tells Zuko that, Zuko will send him away. He helps Zuko hunt the Avatar, because right now that's what Zuko needs. But the entire time he plays up his own weaknesses to try to slow Zuko down. Second season, when he has a better excuse, Iroh starts actively pushing Zuko away from hunting the Avatar and tries to convince him to have a normal life while he can.
*
Zuko and Azula's first clash happened when she attacked the Western Air Temple, before Ozai discarded her and she broke down, and they were evenly matched in relationship with their short duel there as well.
*** Even before that, they battled on the prison gondola at the Boiling Rock, and Zuko was able to match her blow for blow. The only reason neither could go all-out was because
father is a perfect example of the cramped battlefield dark side of filial piety, specifically filial cannibalism. In Chinese history, respect for ones' parents and ancestors was and still is very highly regarded, so much that during the Qing period, loved ones would actually commit cannibalism by cutting off parts of their nearby allies: bodies to feed to their deathly ill parents as an ultimate act of devotion. Zuko was covering Sokka, and Ty Lee was Azula spent their entire lives sacrificing their happiness, friendship and sanity (in Azula's case) for their father's prosperity and respect. While Ozai may not be "deathly ill" in body, he certainly is so in mind, specifically his megalomania, paranoia and sadism. In many ways, Zuko and Azula's attempts to please their father is in some way an attempt to free him of his mental illness so that he may show them love and respect for their efforts. Yet, despite these sacrifices Ozai never reciprocates the devotion of his children and continues to feed off them until he has no more use for them, with Zuko betraying the love of his Uncle and reconciliation with Aang and his gang in season 2, and Azula losing her best friends and being given the crown for a now-useless title.
* In hindsight with Korra's story now running; take notice of Aang's element choices when in combat, he actually mirror's what Korra herself would do much later. After Aang unlocks his ability to Earthbend he steadily uses it more and more over the course of the series to the point where it's arguably his second element of choice when his native Airbending isn't a viable option. Why? Earthbending although direct and forceful by nature, also allows a firm and planted ''defense,'' which is what he tends to tap into when makes use of it. Although it's his natural opposite, it has a built in compliment to his skill set by allowing him to tank hits when he can't evade them. Korra would then later show an affinity for Firebending as its powerful offensive capability bolsters her natural Waterbending which though powerful, can't dole out the kind of straight forward damage that she likes to employ.
* Regarding Azula, and what she thinks her mother thinks about her: Azula spent most of her childhood being praised and worshipped, either for being a recognised prodigy by the age of ten, or just for being princess. But Ursa gets on better with Zuko, the useless half-wit of an older brother, and Ursa scolds Azula for misbehaving. So
in Azula's line perfectionist mind, the fact that she doesn't receive unanimous praise and love means momma doesn't love her properly. And Azula can't figure out ''why'', because the reasons she and Ursa don't connect don't register with her.
** Oh my god... I never thought
of fire.it this way before...but does Azula want to be 'perfect' because even as a little girl she knew her MOM knew something was off in her, and so if she could be perfect...she could hide it? :O ---wait, second omg....does Azula hate Zuko so much BECAUSE he got their mom's love? Not because he's 'pathetic' or 'weak' but because he had something she wanted and couldn't get, and more than just being heir to the throne? He got Ursa!?
* Sozin (Zuko's great grandfather) and Roku's (Aang's past life and also Zuko's great grandfather) friendship and Zuko's and Aang's friendship at the end of the series are strong GenerationXerox parallels with slight modifications. Sozin's and Roku's friendship ended on a tragic note with Sozin betraying him, so in essence, that means their friendship got torn down. Then their descendants, Zuko and Aang, come along and not only restore the peace in the world; they also patch up things with each other, fixing what their ancestors ruined.
* As mentioned in the Fridge Horror section, Aang had a great fondness for the Fire Nation prior to waking up from the iceberg. This is fitting since his last incarnation was from the Fire Nation. It's possible Aang had nostalgia that transcended lifetimes but wasn't consciously aware of it, much like how he chose toys belonging to previous avatars without consciously remembering he owned them in past lives.

!!!Bending and Nation - General



* Firebending has a [[TheDarkSide Dark Side]] that would make you evil because it's the only way to master it. No wonder the Fire nation military and industry commits the atrocities they do with no conscience, they've all been influenced by TheDarkSide of firebending.
** And why Jeong Jeong hates being a Firebender so much.
** Considering that said Dark Side of firebending is fueled but anger and/or hate, how much anger and hate do you think Azula harbored to make her fire freakin' blue?
** Considering that Ozai himself acts like an AxCrazy PsychoticManchild in the finale, it might even mean that this approach to Firebending also makes you [[WithGreatPowerComesGreatInsanity insane after a point]]. Perhaps, among other things that contributed to her insanity, Azula went too deep in that direction.
** And why Iroh acts like he's OneOfTheKids so much, he's full of life and youth by mastering the true form of Firebending. Good Firebending makes you more spiritual. In one of the flashbacks in Zuko Alone we see Iroh writing a letter where he makes a joke about burning down Ba Sing Se. So he has always had a sense of humor, it was just darker before his spiritual revival.
* Thanks to the Masters, he learned that Firebending can be creative and full of color, which is why he pretended to be a dragon slayer to preserve the secret for his nephew.



* Iroh knew the non-corrupt form of fire bending. And early in the series he's shown instructing Zuko in the art; specifically, drilling Zuko in the basics. Zuko was too angry to catch on; a very different show would have resulted if he had.



* Somewhere up-page, someone made a joke about ''WesternAnimation/{{Captain Planet|and the Planeteers}}'', but let's run with that for a second:
** Aang is Wind
** Katara is Water
** Toph is Earth
** Zuko (or, briefly, Uncle Iroh) is Fire
** Which leaves Sokka as Heart. As evidenced by ''[[Recap/AvatarTheLastAirbenderSokkasMaster Sokka's Master]]'', which showed that in Sokka's absence, the Gaang is reduced to listlessness and boredom, compared to their previous drive to complete their mission or being distracted by various adventures on the way.
* At first Fire Nation's abduction of Benders from other nations seems simply like a systematized way of [[KickTheDog Kicking The Dog]] and showing what bastards they were. Once one comes to understand how the Avatar's cycle of reincarnation works in the series that it suddenly made complete sense: the {{Evil Overlord}}s are trying to effectively contain a threat to their schemes ''before it is even born''!
** Even if he didn't know that, he would be pleased because the next Avatar would be born either in the easily conquered South Tribe, the highly isolated North Tribe, or the Foggy Swamp which was in the Earth Kingdom he had control over. After that it would take at least 12 years for him to become an effective Waterbender and there's no way for him to become a fully realized Avatar because there's no one to teach him Airbending and it is very unlikely that anyone from the Fire Nation will be willing to teach him Firebending. An Avatar with a 2 maybe 3 element mastery would be useless against a largely consolidated Fire Empire.
** Keeping the other bending cultures alive would also greatly benefit the Fire Nation in the long run. They could easily kill a young Avatar, hastening the cycle until the Fire Nation got the Avatar again. Then they could easily indoctrinate him/her and force their captive Water and Earthbenders to teach the Avatar their skills. The Fire Nation winds up with a powerful weapon that they can still theoretically control as a fully realized Avatar is impossible (a Fire Lord should be able to defeat a rogue Avatar with only 3 elements). After that Avatar, the cycle will break but by then the Fire Nation should rule the world with or without Sozin's comet. The eugenic potential also does not seem to escape them with Ursa's grandfather in mind. Try not to think too hard about an Avatar mentored by Fire Lord Azula and married to one of Azula's children.
* It's interesting what was planned for Azula's character and what wasn't. In the very beginning of season 2 she seems like a 'older sister' archetype (even though she's younger). The perfect, older sibling who wins all of Daddy's approval, the one thing Zuko ever wanted. It's great how much they developed her, from being the epitome of everything Zuko needed, to her own, flawed character. She and Ozai both have an obsession with control and perfection. When she unhinges, we see her going into a more 'animalistic' instinctive nature. Killing a "weak" sibling (we always knew Azula was fine with Zuko dying, even early in season 3, something she might even actively pursue herself) and displaying more of her real nature. They really play with the idea of her being a sociopath throughout the series. Zuko couldn't beat her in her normal state. Anything else than the breakdown would have been undermining her character, if Zuko had just merely defeated her, it wouldn't have been enough. If she'd 'reformed' or been humiliated, it wouldn't have been enough. She had to die or 'break down' until she couldn't be her former self. Because any other DeusExMachina or decision wouldn't have been a fair treatment of her character.
* Referencing Azula's VillainousBreakdown, her first full appearance where she does some crazy firebending and then is all upset about her hair like a perfectionist? Definitely foreshadows the hair-chopping AxCrazy in the finale. Also, her line when Li and Lo tell her about it: "Almost perfect isn't good enough!" Azula has spent her life being perfect. Her firebending is perfect (nobody else bends blue flames like she does, and she can do lightning), she is a perfect leader, and perfectly executes her coup. When her record becomes "almost perfect" with Ty Lee and Mai's betrayal, she loses it, and she has a terrible success record through the rest of the show (fails to kill Zuko, her reign as Fire Lord is a disaster, she loses to Katara, she ends up in an insane asylum). When she's not perfect, she's...nothing. Without the veneer of perfection that she maintained through most of the show, she's just an abused kid who missed out on what she really wanted (her mother's love), and no more. She isn't the firebender prodigy who never lost a match (loses to both Zuko and Katara), she isn't the amazing leader who conquered Ba Sing Se in 2 days due to force of personality (she's over-paranoid and not quite in touch with reality during her reign as Fire Lord), and she isn't even the girl who had perfect control over her life (Mai and Ty Lee betray her). That one line foreshadowed, long before Azula lost it, that she had to be perfect or nothing. She didn't have any middle ground.
* Azula was born lucky, and Zuko was lucky to be born. Such a true line, but not in the way one would think. While Ozai meant it as a putdown for Zuko, the reality is that this is Zuko's greatest strength and Azula's greatest weakness. Yes, life is constantly kicking Zuko to the curb and spitting on him for good measure; but as a result of his suffering, he has learned how to deal with failure: he picks himself up and keeps on going, no matter how many times he has to do so. Being TheDeterminator is practically his defining character trait. Azula, on the other hand, was too used to things simply going her way: she's a prodigy, she was constantly outperforming her brother, earning the praise of her father and the whole Fire Nation, and just generally kicking ass. But as soon as things went wrong for her - not just a little wrong, but hugely, disastrously wrong, like losing her only friends and getting KickedUpstairs by the very father who "favors" her - she has no idea how to deal with it emotionally, and she completely falls apart. In the end, it's Zuko's fortitude and Azula's lack thereof are what put Zuko on the throne and left Azula a broken, sobbing wreck.
* Why is breathing so important for Firebending? Fires need Oxygen, and the original firebenders were dragons, which ''breathe'' fire.
* It seems a little weird to me that Zuko just went on quests with everyone is such an almost formulaic way (it's even lampshaded by Toph.) But it actually makes perfect sense that Zuko accompany everyone on quests that played huge parts in building up to the climaxes of their respective character arcs, because his arc was the first to be resolved! When you think about it, Zuko's arc is pretty much done in Day of the Black Sun when he has his epic CallingTheOldManOut moment and goes to join Aang. Not that important things don't happen to him post-DOTBS, but his main character development from Point A to Point B was pretty much concluded. Even more important when you remember that Zuko spent years (including most of the show) traveling with a StaticCharacter CoolOldGuy who played the exact same role in his life - helping him along with his character development because Iroh's own had already been done!
* Why was firebending so dangerous for Aang? Precisely because he started as an airbender, and air enhances fire! So firebending would ''seem'' easy for him at the start, making it even more likely for him to get himself into trouble with it. However, the opposite was not true for Roku, as he learned airbending first after firebending, and found it easy. And that is probably because mastering firebending requires mastery of ''controlling breath'', and breath is air. In a similar vein, Aang found waterbending easy, probably because since gases and liquids are both fluids, many techniques he mastered for controlling air probably applied with only minimal modification to controlling water. The order Jeong Jeong wanted Aang to master the elements (air then water then earth then fire) directly mirrors the Avatar cycle itself, and the pattern is a general one for all Avatars (the element immediately after that Avatar's birth element shares enough in common that the Avatar will find learning it very easy, and so will always learn it second after the birth element, the next element will be in some way opposite and therefore counterintuitive and difficult to master, and the final element will be complementary but deceptive and/or dangerous in some way, and so should be mastered last.)
** Iroh describes air as the element of freedom. What does Aang do when he first firebends? Allows it too much freedom.
* China could have built a world spanning empire instead of Europe. They even sent out massive ships called "floating dragons" as a show of power; some think the expeditions might have reached Hawaii. After Zheng He, the emperor's friend who was leading the expedition, died, bureaucrats called Mandarins burned all the records of the voyages, including the ships and how to build them. The Mandarins were followers of Confucius who emphasized knowing your place. They were also very traditional and cautious of change, thus burning the records. The similarities to the Dai Li seem far too strong for this to be a coincidence, given that the Earth Kingdom was based off of China.



* Aang and Zuko have been portrayed as NotSoDifferent since "The Storm". Remember how Zuko had a VisionQuest of sorts throughout "The Earth King", and Aang has one the next episode to unlock his seventh chakra? Aang rejected his at the last second, despite all the progress he had made to reach spiritual peace and enlightenment, because he chose another person's love over his own empowerment or what was right for the world. Going by the previous parallels, this was broad and subtle {{Foreshadowing}} to Zuko's impending betrayal.
* The Fire Nation seems stupid for capturing and not killing the waterbenders, in case they escaped with a grudge. Especially since Zuko didn't stake out the Water Tribes in his search for the Avatar. However, they thought the Avatar was a waterbender and were just letting Zuko roam around the world searching for a nonexistent(or so they believed) airbender to keep him out of their hair. That way, the Avatar wouldn't be born into the Earth Kingdom, a huge and not-as-easily weeded out place as the Water Tribes. At least, until the waterbenders died of old age, which I think Ozai was betting on happening after he won the war. Also, even though they don't have the waterbenders from the south pole, even if the avatar was there, it isn't likely they can master earth and fire, there is absolutely no chance of them mastering air, and so they aren't much of a threat to the Fire Nation. There's also a bit more fridge brilliance to this considering Aang's successor as Avatar, Korra. She could already bend three of the four elements much younger than any previous Avatar, Aang included, only having trouble with Airbending because it was opposite to her personality. Ozai's plan was pretty much doomed to failure from the start.
* Iroh tells Zuko lightning is fueled by an absence of emotion. However, we see Ozai and Azula generating lightning when they're visibly enraged. The Fire Nation had been corrupted from the true meaning of Firebending. Firebending is about life and energy, not just destruction and when Zuko lost his drive his bending became weak. It's possible that lightning generation isn't about an absence of emotion but a complete focus on a single task. When Ozai and Azula bend lightning while enraged they're completely 100% focused on killing their targets. The reason Zuko can't do it when Iroh's teaching him isn't that he can't let go of his emotions, but that his mind is focused on too many things at once (surpassing Azula, finding the Avatar, getting his father's praise) his mental focus is all over the place. And an even bigger bit of FridgeBrilliance is that Iroh knew the true secret of Firebending and yet he told Zuko what would have been in keeping with the Fire Nation's philosophy at the time. He kept the secret from him until he was ready to know the true way of Firebending. Lightning may be a true expression of Firebending but it is a true and pure expression of firebending in the sense of being the absolute pinnacle of a Firebender's drive.
** It could also be that lightning bending requires complete focus on something, but "nothing" qualifies as a focus. Learning it that way, as Iroh did, grants an advantage: lightning (or firebending for that matter) based on, for instance, hatred for an individual is rendered powerless if that hatred fades. Power based on meditation and serenity, though, can't ever be lost.
** This actually brings up another fridge brilliance. Bumi talked about how there's over 50 something types of Jing, with three of them being Positive (offensive), Negative (defensive) and Neutral (doing nothing). Bumi said that the best earthbenders were those who listened and waited, using Neutral Jing. Since both him and Iroh were part of the White Lotus, it's not out of the question that Iroh learned this from earthbenders and applied it to his lightning, much in the same way as how he learned about redirecting lightning from the Waterbenders.
** Also, they are sociopaths. They are strongly in control of their own "temperaments" even when they seem to be enraged - that frustration and rage is detached from themselves. Even in the final Agni Kai, Azula is clearly not temperamentally alright, but she can use lightning because she doesn't "feel".
** My personal theory is that you need to focus 100% on ''the lightning itself''. Lightning doesn't care what you're going through personally, it WILL be the ONLY thing on your mind if you think you can handle it. Iroh is peaceful and all-around pleased with the way of things, so he has no distractions to prevent him from making a clear path for lightning to follow. Zuko had a lot on his mind, so with nowhere to go, any lightning he made simply backfired by default. Azula, being such a prodigy, was powerful enough to simply ''force'' it into being without a care in the world as to how you're ''supposed'' to do it, just like with everything else she's ever done. This ended up being her downfall during the finale, because while she was super powerful, Zuko had been instructed in proper technique. All the power in the world will never compare favorably to actually knowing what you're doing, and Azula learned this the hard way.
* If you pay attention, Lion Turtles are ''everywhere''-- statues in the Air Temples, door knockers in the Earth Kingdom, the front of the Fire Nation war zeppelins, and in the library episode, Aang pulls out a scroll and commented on the HUGE lion turtle on it. [[TheProducersThinkOfEverything The Producers Really Do Think Of Everything]].
* ''Ozai was completely right'' when he says to Zuko, "You will learn respect, and suffering will be your teacher." At first it seems like a line that just proves his cruelty, and that's probably what he meant it to be. But here's the thing: Zuko ''didn't'' learn respect until he had suffered for a while, particularly throughout season 2. Watch as [[BreakTheHaughty his pride is slowly broken down]] and he starts being less of a jerk, culminating in his HeelFaceTurn in season 3, which was preceded by half a season of intense inner conflict. There is something Zuko did "learn" from his father there. Consider: Zuko surrendered, and got in a world of hurt for it. As Sokka observes in the season 1 finale, "If there's one thing we know, it's that Zuko never gives up". Up until "The Western Air Temple" halfway through season 3, Zuko was the only one of the "core cast" who had ''never'' surrendered to someone who wanted to fight him. That he can offer himself as a prisoner is a sign of how far he has moved out of his father's influence, particularly since getting a bending attack in his face ''again'' for the attempt does not work to deter him for long.
** The problem with this is, Zuko ''was'' a respectful person, by most standards, before Ozai burned him and banished him. Yes, Zuko did learn respect and humility on his long and painful journey--but he only had to learn them because ''Ozai twisted his personality in the first place.'' Zuko started demanding respect and generally trying to act the way his father and sister would only after the Agni Kai.
** Or, looking at it another way, Zuko suffered and learned ''to'' respect the other nations, the balance which was required, and the true nature of firebending. While he did learn respect through his suffering, it was exact opposite kind of respect that Ozai wanted him to learn.
* Fire Nation troops don't usually fight in formation. This is particularly noticeable in the assault on the Northern Water Tribe. If you replaced the Fire Nation troops with, say, WWII soldiers and replaced the tanks with WWII tanks, they'd look very similar to the FN's loose formations, with squads of troops moving among the tanks. And that makes sense, because firebending would render most pre-gunpowder formations useless anyway, and every firebender (which makes up the majority of the FN's army) would be capable of long-ranged attacks at will - exactly like modern firearm-equipped infantry. The Fire Nation has, quite literally, pioneered combined arms tactics on a parallel with modern mechanized armies. The Fire Nation's entire army parallels Germany during this period. Their favourite method of attacking is a quick strike before retreating (blitzkrieg), had utilized awesome but impractical weaponry (a giant fleet of zeppelins, a gigantic, almost looney-tunes esque drill) and moved to heavily industrializing the mainland for the war effort.
* The Fire Nation military was the most gender equal of all the four nations, but all the women seen were young women. There were no older women seen among the Fire Nation generals, and no older Fire Nation women seen in the Order of the White Lotus. And in the flashback to Roku and Sozin's youth, the women that were seen were all in more traditional roles. This suggests that the gender equality seen in the present is a ''recent'' phenomenon, possibly spurred by the exigencies of war to make up for manpower shortages (how else could the Fire Nation prosecute a 100 year war against the vastly larger Earth Kingdom?). Which would mean that it had to be one of the three Fire Lords (Sozin, Azulon, and/or Ozai) who introduced gender equality into the Avatar world. Warlike nations usually have greater gender equality, if only for economic reasons. Western gender equality has been greatly helped by war, although in that case it promoted more women into industrial positions than as soldiers. A good long world takeover campaign would almost necessitate encouraging women to take traditionally masculine roles simply to have enough soldiers and industrial producers.
** That makes sense, the Water Tribe was probably less populated than the Fire Nation and the Air Nomads were nomads, but the Earth Kingdom has the advantage of being living terraformers, and having a larger amount of land (just land period, in terms of agriculturally useful land they probably dominate) than any other kingdom. The Earth Kingdom probably had a massive population advantage over the Fire Kingdom throughout the war.
* The order of elements Aang has to master ties into his personal growth during the seasons. At the opening of season 1, Aang doesn't realize at first that there is a war going on and that the world as he knows it isn't the same. Only after visiting the ruins of what used to be his home temple and seeing the skeleton of his mentor does Aang realize that he has a responsibility to the world and can't go back to his old life anymore. Throughout season 1, he has to deal with the duty of being the Avatar. What element does Aang have to master for this season? Water, the element of change. Then next in season 2 is earth, the element of substance, whose discipline requires firmness and strength. Halfway through the season, Aang loses his animal companion and living relic of his old life, Appa and almost loses hope. Also the gang has to deal with delivering crucial info that could end the war to the Earth King past ObstructiveBureaucrats, the Dai Li. Finally, Aang learns fire, the element of desire and decisiveness in the last season where he faces off against Fire Lord Ozai. In the last first episodes he struggles against killing the Fire Lord due to his pacifist nature despite everyone telling him he must do it. Also in the last episode Aang and Katara kiss, thereby confirming their relationship, something both of them had desired to do.
* Fire Nation had pride in its benders, and might be losing touch with nature. However, look at what they were doing. All of their machines could be firebender operated. However, they were paving the way for non-benders to have equal power as their benders. Why dedicate a bender who could be used for fighting (gunpowder isn't around yet so Benders still have superiority in fighting) to keeping your vehicle moving when you could have anyone do it by using coal engines?
* So, the Fire Nation can develop tanks, giant drills, massive factories, etc...[[SchizoTech but no hot air balloons?]] Odd. Until you realize ''what happens when you kill everyone in the world whose specialty is manipulating air.'' Of ''course'' the Fire Nation didn't realize that hot air would allow flight; all of the accumulated knowledge of flight and moving with the air was lost when the Airbenders were wiped out!
* Episodes in the third season like "The Beach", "The Painted Lady", and "The Headband" aren't just {{Padding}} or {{Breather Episode}}s (though they serve that last purpose too). Up to now, the Gaang (and the audience) has seen the Fire Nation through the royal family and the army. These episodes let us see that the Fire Nation citizens also have kids in school who make pasta art and sneak out to go dancing. They have beach parties and go to the theatre. The lower classes struggle to make a living. In other words, they're not AlwaysChaoticEvil. The average Fire National is no worse (or better) than anyone else in the four nations. The goal is not to defeat the Fire Nation; it's to defeat Ozai and restore the "living in harmony" between the nations.
* Chronologically, the story begins with the Avatar and the Fire Prince as best friends, and when they part ways it causes the loss of balance in the world. The series ends with the Avatar and Fire Prince as enemies, and balance is only restored after they become friends.
** Legend of Korra implies that Zuko became Aang's best (human) friend.
* Aang is the Last Airbender, and Appa is an Sky Bison, the first Airbender.
* The show's three seasons correspond with whatever element Aang is learning, obviously. But they also correspond with what Zuko is doing, proving once again that they're NotSoDifferent! In the Water season, he lives on a ship out in the middle of the ocean. In the Earth season, he wanders around on land pretending to be an Earth Kingdom peasant. In the Fire season, he's a Fire Nation prince again, and then teaches Aang firebending.
* Why did the Gaang let Ozai, Azula, Yon Rha, and others live rather than just killing them? If Zuko is an example of the Fire Nation, Firebenders hold a high sense of honor (this is why out of the four nations, the Fire Nation has the greatest royalty). Killing a Firebender would be an easy decision, but an even better solution is through humiliation. Ozai, the ruler of the Fire Nation, is beaten by a child and imprisoned and his throne was taken by the son he personally branded and banished. Furthermore, this defeat came in the form of being held virtually at gunpoint and then [[PowerNullifier spiritually castrated]]. Azula loses her "friends" and her once-ruthless personality, and Yon Rha is bluntly told by Katara that he isn't even worth killing.
** Even [[BigBad Ozai]] found it more disgraceful when Zuko refused to fight him in the Agni Kai, partly because he's a SocialDarwinist and partly because of Values Dissonance within the Fire Nation - he might have looked terrified when Aang almost shot him in the finale, but he was ''pissed'' when Aang refused to kill him when he had the chance. Also ... that makes it funny when you consider that [[SmugSnake Zhao]] actually had the most ''honourable'' [[FaceDeathWithDignity death in the series]], of all noteworthy villains - he refused to degrade himself by taking Zuko's hand to survive, and so although he died with everyone considering him a monster, he at least felt he went out how he wanted. Not to mention, this places some interesting ideas on the level of morality afforded by the 'good guys' to the 'bad guys', and how it became more complicated as the series went on. To add another level to that, his choice was be saved by a teenager, one that was considered an embarrassing failure by his nation, or be killed by what was basically a ''pissed off god.'' Still crazy from a modern standpoint, but FridgeBrilliance if you think like a Firebender.
* Iroh always said that firebending came from the breath, and what did Combustion Man do before firing (pun intended)? ''He took a deep breath.''
* The reason firebenders wear shoes with metal soles is because, otherwise, they'd literally burn their shoes off every time they shot fire out of their feet.
* There's another good reason Toph's blind. All the in-universe written text in the series uses Chinese or Japanese characters. Having someone around who can't read gives the rest of the Gaang an excuse to read things ''to'' her, and by extension to the audience. Not to mention making it hilarious when someone (usually Sokka) tries to show her something written/drawn (like a picture of Appa).
* Rewatching the first season shows that Iroh never actively attacks the Avatar, except once, where he lent his strength to Zuko's fireball (which missed). The reason? Even now, Iroh knows that the Avatar must win and that Zuko must eventually join forces with him. But if he openly tells Zuko that, Zuko will send him away. He helps Zuko hunt the Avatar, because right now that's what Zuko needs. But the entire time he plays up his own weaknesses to try to slow Zuko down. Second season, when he has a better excuse, Iroh starts actively pushing Zuko away from hunting the Avatar and tries to convince him to have a normal life while he can.
* Yet more things that make the Hakoda/Kya and Ozai/Ursa families diametrically-opposed mirror images of each other: Kya died and Ursa disappeared at about the same time. Furthermore, Hakoda went to war and Zuko was banished at about the same time.



* Iroh, the bumbling old man who travels with Zuko and is constantly trying to get him to take it easy, suddenly turns out to be badass. If you look at [[BigScrewedUpFamily the rest]] [[RoyallyScrewedUp of his family]], you realize that if he wasn't badass, he ''wouldn't get to be an old man.'' Also, the only way to convince his family he wasn't a threat was to be a bumbling old man. The 'bumbling' persona is actually a protective measure.
* For the first half of season 3, the members of the Gaang and the Fire Kids mirror each other. Observe:
** Aang and Zuko. Obviously this has been pointed out in canon and in analysis several times.
** Katara and Azula. They're both extremely gifted, the more talented sibling in their respective families despite being younger than their respective brothers. They also hold the team together, but in different ways: Katara is the TeamMom, whereas Azula controls people through fear and intimidation.
** Toph and Mai. Both were repressed during childhood and found freedom and expression through their friends. Also, they're both snarky and awesome, and aren't afraid to tell people off when they need to cut the shit.
** Sokka and Ty Lee. Sometimes seen as goofy, but they both bring unique skills to the table that neither group would be able to function without. Also, both of them felt overshadowed in their families, Sokka by Katara, and Ty Lee by her sisters.
** It goes further than that, just look one generation above. You have a son who desperately wants approval from a father figure they haven't seen in years, with he and his sister's mother being gone since they were young children because of the Fire Lord. Now, is that Sokka and Katara, or Zuko and Azula?
* We all know how Sokka can't draw, right? Well, he's a Southern Water Tribe peasant. Of course he can't draw! He never went to school, and before traveling with the Avatar, his only experience with drawing would have been pictures in the snow; also, it's very difficult to use ink brushes, even if you know how to use a pen/pencil. He draws on the level of a preschooler because he IS on that level.
* Another Sokka one: We all know how the universe loves to torture Sokka, right? Well remember when Toph was training Aang, how quickly Sokka gave up meat and sarcasm, and then he went right back to eating meat and being sarcastic? The Avatar verse is paying him back for breaking his promise!
** In addition to that, the speed in which he gave up meat and sarcasm means he's probably done it before. He might not have been in another situation like that while with Aang, but I would bet it's really easy to get lost in a blizzard in the Southern Water Tribe or get into another situation where you desperately need help, especially if you're the kid who manages to do something like get two fishhooks in your thumb. He's probably made that promise before and broken it, and the universe just keeps pwning him because of that.
* Regarding Zuko and Agni Kai: In season 1, Zuko manages to defeat Zhao, a potent firebender, early on by "breaking his root" - i.e., upsetting his stance, specifically using an ankle sweep. This is fairly rudimentary principle - as Iroh had been drilling him on the basics in the first few episodes - but it works. Fast forward to season 3: Zuko's dueling Azula for the crown, and it's (gasp) evenly-matched. She's jetting around and throwing huge walls of flame, but he's wearing her down. She circles him, looking to engulf him, and he break-dance-firebends a fire wheel at ankle height. He '''breaks Azula's root''' and she tumbles to the ground, pretty much beaten. ''Zuko bested his nigh-unbeatable prodigy sister, '''during Sozin's comet,''' using a basic firebending principle.''
* The Lion Turtle at the end of the third season isn't drawn like the other characters and creatures, instead, he is done with the more detailed style and coloring used for the backgrounds. It makes perfect sense: he is one of the oldest creatures on the Airbender universe's earth. He is old enough to have a large, thriving forest growing on his back and the only creature we know of that's old enough to know energy-bending. He is drawn in the same style as the earth itself because like the earth, he is ancient.
* Ba Sing Se can be considered a parallel of New York. Why? It's seen as a very secure location and immigration hub, with a symbol that everyone immigrating to the city will see which is a symbol of safety and freedom, it has distinct sections each with different class of citizenry, and if said symbols fell many would consider it the end for that city. Also, the ferry that takes immigrants to Ba Sing Se is comparable to the ships that took immigrants to America from Europe.
* A few episodes after Iroh's White Lotus tile is featured, but well before the [[ChallengeCoin true significance of it is revealed]], we see another OldMaster using the tile in a game: Monk Gyatso. Old people really ''do'' all know each other!
* I wonder if this counts: We all heard Iroh tells Zuko that he is the representation of the battle between good and evil due to being the great grandson of both Roku and Sozin. Many viewers wondered afterward "yeah, but what about Azula?" for quite a while. A lot of them came to the simple conclusion that Zuko is the good great-grandchild while Azula is the evil one. Then, at the end, Azula's VillainousBreakdown happened. Azula's inner turmoil means that both she AND Zuko have great potential for BOTH great good AND great evil. The siblings are inverses: while Zuko is a basically good person struggling with bad influences and emotional turmoil caused by said influences, Azula, while outwardly psychotically evil, struggles with emerging hints of humanizing qualities, such as small amounts of warmth for Mai, Ty Lee, and especially Zuko, and a deep desire for true, unconditional love, particularly from her mother. That's a big part of the reason why Azula snaps, and why, unlike Ozai, she is quite tragic and sympathetic, and has at least some chance for redemption.
** There's a small parallel between Zuko and Azula in that regard. Zuko temporarily had the "sickness" when he gave up capturing Appa after Lake Laogai, and went into deep turmoil since Iroh's ArmorPiercingQuestion made him rethink what ''he'' wanted, not what his father did. Azula likewise had a similar breakdown when she realized that being the Fire Lord wasn't what she wanted and the betrayal of her friends made her question herself as well. Unlike Zuko though, Azula's Parental figure Ozai did nothing to help her, instead discarded her to what amounts to being a regent. Zuko, with the help of Iroh, passed his test of character, while Azula failed.
** Also, both children were the [[ParentalFavoritism favorites]] of their parents; Zuko to Ursa, who was Roku's grandchild, and Azula to Ozai, who was Sozin's. Just like with firebending itself, their ''roots'' were what really determined who they turned out to be.
* Some could argue that Iroh was holding an IdiotBall (or just having a WhatAnIdiot moment) when he seriously thought that ''Zuko'', who Iroh knows damn well is stubborn, proud, desperate for recognition, determined, and driven to try and reclaim his place in the Fire Nation for many reasons (including a desperate need to have the love of his family as well as a yearning to return things to "normal" and stop being the disgraced, dishonorable, worthless exile), would happily agree to spending the rest of his life meekly denying everything he was and pretending to be a humble waiter in a teashop. Which leads to FridgeBrilliance in its own right; a further emphasis of the subtle message in the show that all beings are fallible. Nobody, no matter how wise or powerful they may be, is totally immune to making mistakes or learning from those mistakes.
** This actually gives new meaning to Iroh's refusal to speak with Zuko while in prison. Initially, it just seems like Iroh is still angry at his nephew for betraying him at Ba Sing Se. However, he may have realized by then that, even though he could help Zuko make the right choices, being together didn't make Zuko into his own person, it just made him more like Iroh. [[CruelToBeKInd In order to make sure Zuko's decisions after that were completely his own, he refused any sort of contact with him until he knew the whole story about his past.]]
** It's possible Iroh was enabling Zuko's choice. By siding with Azula and rejecting all Iroh had to teach him, ''he was rejecting Iroh as a teacher''. And so, Iroh was silent, because by siding with Azula over Iroh's advice, he had chosen to not have Iroh to advise him. And so Iroh didn't, subtly showing Zuko some of the consequences of his choice.
* Azula and Ozai think in fundamentally different ways. Whenever you see Ozai's reaction to something, he's reacting as the problem comes along, usually with more harshness than necessary. ("Son speaking out of place? Agni Kai! Refuses to fight? Burn half his face off and banish him! [[spoiler: Rebels in the captured Earth Kingdom? Burn the entire continent to the ground!"]]) Azula [[CrazyPrepared plans way ahead]], acts on opportunities, plans for every possibility, and manipulates people and events to her advantage. Her train of thought is more like, "I'll dress up like a Kyoshi warrior to get into Ba Sing Se, and since Long Feng wants to manipulate me, I'll let him think he's manipulating me, while really manipulating him. This gives me control of the Dai Li, so I'll use them in a complicated plan to take over the city. I'll instill fear in the Dai Li, so that when Long Feng eventually tries to betray me they'll still be on my side. I won't be able to beat the avatar and his friends, even with the Dai Li on my side, unless I also have Zuko. So I'll easily emotionally manipulate him and take it from there." In the end, [[spoiler: Azula's [[VillainousBreakdown villainous breakdown]] is shown, besides the paranoia and hallucinations, by her losing this methodical logic and becoming more like Ozai. Her decisions are now just like his. ("Servant left a pit in my cherry? Banish her!) Her complete loss of control and planning comes in her final fight with Katara. She was able to out reason Zuko, but Katara sees a grate with water running under it, lures her onto it, and uses the water to be able to defeat her. Under normal circumstances, Azula would be the one pulling a trick like this, and would have probably known about the water in advance and prepared for it.]]
* In one of the scenes where we first meet Azula, she's practicing her lightning. Afterwards, Li and Lo comment that she was "Almost perfect" with a single hair out of place, which Azula found unacceptable. Cut forward to the finale, just before she hallucinates her mother, she poorly cuts her hair. Her hair was also probably a large indicator to Zuko that she wasn't at her best.
** This is seen elsewhere in the series, Azulas hair being cut by Katara in the season two finale, and falling loose signified she was losing. Furthering the importance of Zuko's side switch.
* The way Zuko and Azula firebend is fundamentally different. While Azula relies on practice and precision , Zuko firebends using raw power. This is illustrated by the way they use their hands, Azula uses the tips of her fingers while Zuko shoots fire from his fists, thin, calculated strips of fire versus wild blasts.
** Also a reason why Azula realized Zuko would eventually win in the finale (and why Zuko thought he could win when he challenged her); Zuko had her beat in both control and raw power. Evidenced in that Zuko barely moves from his spot while Azula was expending large amounts of energy zapping around the dueling grounds. Sure Zuko did some fancy break dancing, but he was basically in the same spot. The only time he moved was to take the hit meant for Katara.



* Whoever thought of designing the Avatar State mechanism must have Batman levels of CrazyPrepared. On one hand you would do well to have the power and skill of all the past avatars, but on the other hand, Aang has access to all their experience. If ATLA and Korra is something to go by, once people find out a child or teenager is the Avatar, then their expectations skyrocket and they want them to be like their fully realized predecessors, who have lived for decades, even centuries. Now that is about as unreasonable as it can get, in fact it's dumb, as Sokka points out when he says Aang is just a goofy kid. No child or teenager has the experience, wisdom and CharacterDevelopment of a fully realized Avatar who has lived a full life. Unless there was a way by which they could contact the previous Avatars and get their guidance. The Avatar's spiritual link up comes prepared just in case this sort of situation was to happen, and according to Roku, it has happened many times before.
** Further FridgeBrilliance: Why does Aang go into the Avatar state to [[spoiler:energybend Ozai, Yakone and Korra]]? Because nobody can overcome the spiritual strength of a thousand fully realized Avatars and the spirit of the whole planet acting through you. This allows the Avatar State to have offense and defense capabilities at a spiritual level too. CrazyPrepared all right.
* In Season 1, Katara tells Aang she's sure that he ended up frozen for a hundred years for a reason. What reason would destiny have for wanting to put the Avatar on ice for a century? Well, imagine what would have happened if Aang (or, if he had been killed, the new Avatar) had grown up and faced Fire Lord Sozin. Even if he had won, ''there would have been no one fit to succeed Sozin as Fire Lord.'' Azulon wasn't much better than his dad, and certainly would have continued the war if he thought his father had been killed by the Avatar. True peace couldn't be achieved until someone could lead the Fire Nation back to its original path and atone for Sozin's killing of Roku. So Aang had to wait until Zuko showed up, because only together could they restore balance.
%% [[http://avatarparallels.tumblr.com/ This website.]] All of it.
%% [[http://atla-annotated.tumblr.com/ This one]] is FridgeBrilliance meets ShownTheirWork.
* Why is Roku the one to introduce recaps of previous episodes at the start of each episode? Because he's the previous life of Aang.
* The fact that Zuko [[spoiler: is the descendant of both Roku and Sozin, and that this lineage gives him a pointedly evil and a pointedly good side]] is somewhat sneakily foreshadowed throughout the series. The first is when Azula snarks, "remember to remind the portrait painters to ''get your good side.''" But this is exactly why he can learn to [[spoiler: redirect lightning.]] At the point in the story when he learns the skill from [[spoiler: Iroh,]] he's told he must separate the negative and positive energies to ''create'' [[spoiler: lightning]]. He can't manage this because at this point, [[spoiler: his good and evil sides are in conflict - i.e., his negative and positive energies]]. He also has an evil (scarred) and a good (unscarred) side of his face. In shots where he's doing something noble, such as the first time he [[spoiler: Approaches Aang and asks to join the group,]] his unscarred side is highlighted.
* Sky Bison aren't like mascots that just happen to have convenient arrow-like markings. Master Airbenders tattoo themselves that way precisely ''because'' Sky Bison have them. Since they are the 'original airbenders'.
* Another for Azula's breakdown. We never see Azula being taught much about actual ''ruling'' or ever taking an interest in what's happening at the lower levels of the Fire Nation except when it directly impacts her. All we ever really see of Azula is her exceptional combat skills or using fear and misdirection to ruin her enemies and increase her power. The one time we see her at a war meeting, her contribution is to suggest genocide. Compare that with Zuko, who isn't nearly as good as Azula at firebending and he's incompetent at manipulation, but he ''is'' shown to grow to genuinely care about his people, he does listen to other people sharing their problems and at the same meeting his contribution is to analyze the problem and show an understanding of the Earth Kingdom. In other words all there really is to Azula is her abilities as a ''conqueror'' and nothing to her as a ''ruler''. From the start the series foreshadowed that Zuko would be a decent ruler while Azula would be a disaster even if Mai and Ty Lee had stayed.
* Toph's personality doesn't lend itself well to expressing any kind of love towards others (which she herself points out after punching Zuko on the arm). This makes sense when you consider the element associated with the Heart Chakra, which deals with love; Air. Air, obviously, being the opposite element to Toph's Earth. Additionally, the chakra associated with Earth deals with fear, something that would obviously stop a person emotionally opening up.
* The most common hairstyle in the Fire Nation is the topknot, which keeps the hair tied back tight at the top of the head. Makes sense considering long, loose hair is a fire hazard.
* We learn in Book 3 that the Fire Nation's version of firebending is fueled by rage and hatred, and once Zuko [[spoiler: joins the Gaang and gives up on hunting the Avatar, the loss of his drive leads him to lose his firebending]]. This means that when his father challenged him to an Agni Kai, a firebending duel, all those years ago, he refused and surrendered not only because he didn't want to hurt his father but also because he instinctively knew that he wouldn't be able to fight it, just like how master firebenders can sense when the solar eclipse is over. He might not have known why, but since he is somewhat of a firebending prodigy (and only TheUnfavourite because he was overshadowed by Azula) he could have sensed that the duel was a bad idea.
* Zuko and Azula's relationship with their father is a perfect example of the dark side of filial piety, specifically filial cannibalism. In Chinese history, respect for ones' parents and ancestors was and still is very highly regarded, so much that during the Qing period, loved ones would actually commit cannibalism by cutting off parts of their bodies to feed to their deathly ill parents as an ultimate act of devotion. Zuko and Azula spent their entire lives sacrificing their happiness, friendship and sanity (in Azula's case) for their father's prosperity and respect. While Ozai may not be "deathly ill" in body, he certainly is so in mind, specifically his megalomania, paranoia and sadism. In many ways, Zuko and Azula's attempts to please their father is in some way an attempt to free him of his mental illness so that he may show them love and respect for their efforts. Yet, despite these sacrifices Ozai never reciprocates the devotion of his children and continues to feed off them until he has no more use for them, with Zuko betraying the love of his Uncle and reconciliation with Aang and his gang in season 2, and Azula losing her best friends and being given the crown for a now-useless title.
* In hindsight with Korra's story now running; take notice of Aang's element choices when in combat, he actually mirror's what Korra herself would do much later. After Aang unlocks his ability to Earthbend he steadily uses it more and more over the course of the series to the point where it's arguably his second element of choice when his native Airbending isn't a viable option. Why? Earthbending although direct and forceful by nature, also allows a firm and planted ''defense,'' which is what he tends to tap into when makes use of it. Although it's his natural opposite, it has a built in compliment to his skill set by allowing him to tank hits when he can't evade them. Korra would then later show an affinity for Firebending as its powerful offensive capability bolsters her natural Waterbending which though powerful, can't dole out the kind of straight forward damage that she likes to employ.
* Regarding Azula, and what she thinks her mother thinks about her: Azula spent most of her childhood being praised and worshipped, either for being a recognised prodigy by the age of ten, or just for being princess. But Ursa gets on better with Zuko, the useless half-wit of an older brother, and Ursa scolds Azula for misbehaving. So in Azula's perfectionist mind, the fact that she doesn't receive unanimous praise and love means momma doesn't love her properly. And Azula can't figure out ''why'', because the reasons she and Ursa don't connect don't register with her.
** Oh my god... I never thought of it this way before...but does Azula want to be 'perfect' because even as a little girl she knew her MOM knew something was off in her, and so if she could be perfect...she could hide it? :O ---wait, second omg....does Azula hate Zuko so much BECAUSE he got their mom's love? Not because he's 'pathetic' or 'weak' but because he had something she wanted and couldn't get, and more than just being heir to the throne? He got Ursa!?



* Sozin (Zuko's great grandfather) and Roku's (Aang's past life and also Zuko's great grandfather) friendship and Zuko's and Aang's friendship at the end of the series are strong GenerationXerox parallels with slight modifications. Sozin's and Roku's friendship ended on a tragic note with Sozin betraying him, so in essence, that means their friendship got torn down. Then their descendants, Zuko and Aang, come along and not only restore the peace in the world; they also patch up things with each other, fixing what their ancestors ruined.
* As mentioned in the Fridge Horror section, Aang had a great fondness for the Fire Nation prior to waking up from the iceberg. This is fitting since his last incarnation was from the Fire Nation. It's possible Aang had nostalgia that transcended lifetimes but wasn't consciously aware of it, much like how he chose toys belonging to previous avatars without consciously remembering he owned them in past lives.

to:

* Sozin (Zuko's great grandfather)
!!!Bending
and Roku's (Aang's past Nation - Fire
* Firebending has a [[TheDarkSide Dark Side]] that would make you evil because it's the only way to master it. No wonder the Fire nation military and industry commits the atrocities they do with no conscience, they've all been influenced by TheDarkSide of firebending.
** And why Jeong Jeong hates being a Firebender so much.
** Considering that said Dark Side of firebending is fueled but anger and/or hate, how much anger and hate do you think Azula harbored to make her fire freakin' blue?
** Considering that Ozai himself acts like an AxCrazy PsychoticManchild in the finale, it might even mean that this approach to Firebending also makes you [[WithGreatPowerComesGreatInsanity insane after a point]]. Perhaps, among other things that contributed to her insanity, Azula went too deep in that direction.
** And why Iroh acts like he's OneOfTheKids so much, he's full of
life and also youth by mastering the true form of Firebending. Good Firebending makes you more spiritual. In one of the flashbacks in Zuko Alone we see Iroh writing a letter where he makes a joke about burning down Ba Sing Se. So he has always had a sense of humor, it was just darker before his spiritual revival.
** Thanks to the Masters, he learned that Firebending can be creative and full of color, which is why he pretended to be a dragon slayer to preserve the secret for his nephew.
* Iroh knew the non-corrupt form of fire bending. And early in the series he's shown instructing Zuko in the art; specifically, drilling Zuko in the basics. Zuko was too angry to catch on; a very different show would have resulted if he had.
*
Zuko's great grandfather) friendship firebending was so weak as a child, but he was able to match Azula towards the end. The Firebending that Zuko learnt at first had to be fueled by rage and Zuko's hate, which Zuko was ''too soft'' for, unlike Azula or Ozai, it isn't in his nature to be so heartless or evil to work well. Well, until he got banished and Aang's friendship at dishonored, he didn't have a source of rage and Angst to fuel his fire. He got much better after he learnt the end of the series are strong GenerationXerox parallels "Fire is Life" approach, because that is more in tune with slight modifications. his real character.
** Another reason he got stronger might be because he finally got over his shame at not living up to his father's expectations (both because of his weak firebending as a kid and his banishment), since it was said when Aang was studying under the guru that the fire chakra has to do with willpower and is blocked by shame. This means that he was getting a boost from more than just
Sozin's comet in the finale--he had finally gotten over both his old problems and Roku's friendship ended been forgiven by his uncle. That helped give him the boost that put him on Azula's level.
** This is true
on a tragic note more technical level. In an earlier episode we see Iroh being uncharacteristically stern regarding Zuko's firebending, stressing that he needs to breathe. If you see his fights you can see that he moves too much and rarely does anything besides big fireballs. Per his personality, Zuko always tries for direct and powerful, despite having issues with Sozin betraying him, so the basics. ''Obviously'' this affects his technique. At his duel with Zhao, he finally improves. Look closely how he fights. He uses simpler movements against Zhao's unnecessary display of power. All throughout Season 2 Zuko goes Back to Basics in essence, his firebending, and by the Season Finale he's a much more credible threat to the Avatar than ever, making use of impressive techniques. Once he learns the "Fire is Life" approach, and with his revisited technique, [[TookALevelInBadass by Season 3 Finale he's finally one of the most powerful firebenders in the show.]]
** Keep in mind
that means their friendship got torn down. Then their descendants, Azula lost her sanity when she became Fire Lord, so her Firebending became more erratic and unpredictable. Zuko perfected his Firebending with Aang so he was much stronger in terms of power and technique.
*** However,
Zuko and Aang, come along Azula's first clash happened when she attacked the Western Air Temple, before Ozai discarded her and not she broke down, and they were evenly matched in their short duel there as well.
*** Even before that, they battled on the prison gondola at the Boiling Rock, and Zuko was able to match her blow for blow. The
only restore reason neither could go all-out was because of the peace cramped battlefield and their nearby allies: Zuko was covering Sokka, and Ty Lee was in Azula's line of fire.
* Why is breathing so important for Firebending? Fires need Oxygen, and the original firebenders were dragons, which ''breathe'' fire.
* Fire Nation troops don't usually fight in formation. This is particularly noticeable
in the world; they also patch up things with each other, fixing what their ancestors ruined.
* As mentioned in
assault on the Fridge Horror section, Aang had a great fondness for Northern Water Tribe. If you replaced the Fire Nation prior troops with, say, WWII soldiers and replaced the tanks with WWII tanks, they'd look very similar to waking the FN's loose formations, with squads of troops moving among the tanks. And that makes sense, because firebending would render most pre-gunpowder formations useless anyway, and every firebender (which makes up the majority of the FN's army) would be capable of long-ranged attacks at will - exactly like modern firearm-equipped infantry. The Fire Nation has, quite literally, pioneered combined arms tactics on a parallel with modern mechanized armies. The Fire Nation's entire army parallels Germany during this period. Their favourite method of attacking is a quick strike before retreating (blitzkrieg), had utilized awesome but impractical weaponry (a giant fleet of zeppelins, a gigantic, almost looney-tunes esque drill) and moved to heavily industrializing the mainland for the war effort.
* The Fire Nation military was the most gender equal of all the four nations, but all the women seen were young women. There were no older women seen among the Fire Nation generals, and no older Fire Nation women seen in the Order of the White Lotus. And in the flashback to Roku and Sozin's youth, the women that were seen were all in more traditional roles. This suggests that the gender equality seen in the present is a ''recent'' phenomenon, possibly spurred by the exigencies of war to make up for manpower shortages (how else could the Fire Nation prosecute a 100 year war against the vastly larger Earth Kingdom?). Which would mean that it had to be one of the three Fire Lords (Sozin, Azulon, and/or Ozai) who introduced gender equality into the Avatar world. Warlike nations usually have greater gender equality, if only for economic reasons. Western gender equality has been greatly helped by war, although in that case it promoted more women into industrial positions than as soldiers. A good long world takeover campaign would almost necessitate encouraging women to take traditionally masculine roles simply to have enough soldiers and industrial producers.
** That makes sense, the Water Tribe was probably less populated than the Fire Nation and the Air Nomads were nomads, but the Earth Kingdom has the advantage of being living terraformers, and having a larger amount of land (just land period, in terms of agriculturally useful land they probably dominate) than any other kingdom. The Earth Kingdom probably had a massive population advantage over the Fire Kingdom throughout the war.
* Episodes in the third season like "The Beach", "The Painted Lady", and "The Headband" aren't just {{Padding}} or {{Breather Episode}}s (though they serve that last purpose too). Up to now, the Gaang (and the audience) has seen the Fire Nation through the royal family and the army. These episodes let us see that the Fire Nation citizens also have kids in school who make pasta art and sneak out to go dancing. They have beach parties and go to the theatre. The lower classes struggle to make a living. In other words, they're not AlwaysChaoticEvil. The average Fire National is no worse (or better) than anyone else in the four nations. The goal is not to defeat the Fire Nation; it's to defeat Ozai and restore the "living in harmony" between the nations.
* Iroh always said that firebending came
from the iceberg. breath, and what did Combustion Man do before firing (pun intended)? ''He took a deep breath.''
* The reason firebenders wear shoes with metal soles is because, otherwise, they'd literally burn their shoes off every time they shot fire out of their feet.
* The way Zuko and Azula firebend is fundamentally different. While Azula relies on practice and precision , Zuko firebends using raw power.
This is fitting illustrated by the way they use their hands, Azula uses the tips of her fingers while Zuko shoots fire from his fists, thin, calculated strips of fire versus wild blasts.
** Also a reason why Azula realized Zuko would eventually win in the finale (and why Zuko thought he could win when he challenged her); Zuko had her beat in both control and raw power. Evidenced in that Zuko barely moves from his spot while Azula was expending large amounts of energy zapping around the dueling grounds. Sure Zuko did some fancy break dancing, but he was basically in the same spot. The only time he moved was to take the hit meant for Katara.
* We learn in Book 3 that the Fire Nation's version of firebending is fueled by rage and hatred, and once Zuko [[spoiler: joins the Gaang and gives up on hunting the Avatar, the loss of his drive leads him to lose his firebending]]. This means that when his father challenged him to an Agni Kai, a firebending duel, all those years ago, he refused and surrendered not only because he didn't want to hurt his father but also because he instinctively knew that he wouldn't be able to fight it, just like how master firebenders can sense when the solar eclipse is over. He might not have known why, but
since he is somewhat of a firebending prodigy (and only TheUnfavourite because he was overshadowed by Azula) he could have sensed that the duel was a bad idea.

!!!Miscellanous
* If you look at all the masters in the Order of the White Lotus, Bumi, Piandao, Pakku, Jeong Jeong, Iroh, and what Bumi says by "All old people know each other...don't you know that?" you can't help but think that proper practice of the bending arts makes you wise and spiritual, which was perhaps the ultimate purpose of all forms of bending. Remember that kung-fu masters see it not just for combat, but as a way of life and enlightenment? Bumi, you're a master of this trope!
* After Fire Lord Sozin betrayed Roku he started the tradition of killing dragons for fame and glory despite having a dragon mount before and during the betrayal. Roku also had a dragon and it was basically
his last incarnation was symbol, so it is possible that Sozin started the tradition of hunting dragons because they reminded him of Roku and the friendship he had to destroy in order to fulfill his dream of conquest.
* At first Fire Nation's abduction of Benders
from other nations seems simply like a systematized way of [[KickTheDog Kicking The Dog]] and showing what bastards they were. Once one comes to understand how the Avatar's cycle of reincarnation works in the series that it suddenly made complete sense: the {{Evil Overlord}}s are trying to effectively contain a threat to their schemes ''before it is even born''!
** Even if he didn't know that, he would be pleased because the next Avatar would be born either in the easily conquered South Tribe, the highly isolated North Tribe, or the Foggy Swamp which was in the Earth Kingdom he had control over. After that it would take at least 12 years for him to become an effective Waterbender and there's no way for him to become a fully realized Avatar because there's no one to teach him Airbending and it is very unlikely that anyone from the Fire Nation will be willing to teach him Firebending. An Avatar with a 2 maybe 3 element mastery would be useless against a largely consolidated Fire Empire.
** Keeping the other bending cultures alive would also greatly benefit the Fire Nation in the long run. They could easily kill a young Avatar, hastening the cycle until the Fire Nation got the Avatar again. Then they could easily indoctrinate him/her and force their captive Water and Earthbenders to teach the Avatar their skills. The Fire Nation winds up with a powerful weapon that they can still theoretically control as a fully realized Avatar is impossible (a Fire Lord should be able to defeat a rogue Avatar with only 3 elements). After that Avatar, the cycle will break but by then the Fire Nation should rule the world with or without Sozin's comet. The eugenic potential also does not seem to escape them with Ursa's grandfather in mind. Try not to think too hard about an Avatar mentored by Fire Lord Azula and married to one of Azula's children.
* China could have built a world spanning empire instead of Europe. They even sent out massive ships called "floating dragons" as a show of power; some think the expeditions might have reached Hawaii. After Zheng He, the emperor's friend who was leading the expedition, died, bureaucrats called Mandarins burned all the records of the voyages, including the ships and how to build them. The Mandarins were followers of Confucius who emphasized knowing your place. They were also very traditional and cautious of change, thus burning the records. The similarities to the Dai Li seem far too strong for this to be a coincidence, given that the Earth Kingdom was based off of China.
* The Fire Nation seems stupid for capturing and not killing the waterbenders, in case they escaped with a grudge. Especially since Zuko didn't stake out the Water Tribes in his search for the Avatar. However, they thought the Avatar was a waterbender and were just letting Zuko roam around the world searching for a nonexistent(or so they believed) airbender to keep him out of their hair. That way, the Avatar wouldn't be born into the Earth Kingdom, a huge and not-as-easily weeded out place as the Water Tribes. At least, until the waterbenders died of old age, which I think Ozai was betting on happening after he won the war. Also, even though they don't have the waterbenders from the south pole, even if the avatar was there, it isn't likely they can master earth and fire, there is absolutely no chance of them mastering air, and so they aren't much of a threat to
the Fire Nation. There's also a bit more fridge brilliance to this considering Aang's successor as Avatar, Korra. She could already bend three of the four elements much younger than any previous Avatar, Aang included, only having trouble with Airbending because it was opposite to her personality. Ozai's plan was pretty much doomed to failure from the start.
* Iroh tells Zuko lightning is fueled by an absence of emotion. However, we see Ozai and Azula generating lightning when they're visibly enraged. The Fire Nation had been corrupted from the true meaning of Firebending. Firebending is about life and energy, not just destruction and when Zuko lost his drive his bending became weak.
It's possible that lightning generation isn't about an absence of emotion but a complete focus on a single task. When Ozai and Azula bend lightning while enraged they're completely 100% focused on killing their targets. The reason Zuko can't do it when Iroh's teaching him isn't that he can't let go of his emotions, but that his mind is focused on too many things at once (surpassing Azula, finding the Avatar, getting his father's praise) his mental focus is all over the place. And an even bigger bit of FridgeBrilliance is that Iroh knew the true secret of Firebending and yet he told Zuko what would have been in keeping with the Fire Nation's philosophy at the time. He kept the secret from him until he was ready to know the true way of Firebending. Lightning may be a true expression of Firebending but it is a true and pure expression of firebending in the sense of being the absolute pinnacle of a Firebender's drive.
** It could also be that lightning bending requires complete focus on something, but "nothing" qualifies as a focus. Learning it that way, as Iroh did, grants an advantage: lightning (or firebending for that matter) based on, for instance, hatred for an individual is rendered powerless if that hatred fades. Power based on meditation and serenity, though, can't ever be lost.
** This actually brings up another fridge brilliance. Bumi talked about how there's over 50 something types of Jing, with three of them being Positive (offensive), Negative (defensive) and Neutral (doing nothing). Bumi said that the best earthbenders were those who listened and waited, using Neutral Jing. Since both him and Iroh were part of the White Lotus, it's not out of the question that Iroh learned this from earthbenders and applied it to his lightning, much in the same way as how he learned about redirecting lightning from the Waterbenders.
** Also, they are sociopaths. They are strongly in control of their own "temperaments" even when they seem to be enraged - that frustration and rage is detached from themselves. Even in the final Agni Kai, Azula is clearly not temperamentally alright, but she can use lightning because she doesn't "feel".
** My personal theory is that you need to focus 100% on ''the lightning itself''. Lightning doesn't care what you're going through personally, it WILL be the ONLY thing on your mind if you think you can handle it. Iroh is peaceful and all-around pleased with the way of things, so he has no distractions to prevent him from making a clear path for lightning to follow. Zuko had a lot on his mind, so with nowhere to go, any lightning he made simply backfired by default. Azula, being such a prodigy, was powerful enough to simply ''force'' it into being without a care in the world as to how you're ''supposed'' to do it, just like with everything else she's ever done. This ended up being her downfall during the finale, because while she was super powerful, Zuko had been instructed in proper technique. All the power in the world will never compare favorably to actually knowing what you're doing, and Azula learned this the hard way.
* If you pay attention, Lion Turtles are ''everywhere''-- statues in the Air Temples, door knockers in the Earth Kingdom, the front of the Fire Nation war zeppelins, and in the library episode,
Aang had nostalgia pulls out a scroll and commented on the HUGE lion turtle on it. [[TheProducerThinksOfEverything The Producers Really Do Think Of Everything]].
* ''Ozai was completely right'' when he says to Zuko, "You will learn respect, and suffering will be your teacher." At first it seems like a line
that transcended lifetimes just proves his cruelty, and that's probably what he meant it to be. But here's the thing: Zuko ''didn't'' learn respect until he had suffered for a while, particularly throughout season 2. Watch as [[BreakTheHaughty his pride is slowly broken down]] and he starts being less of a jerk, culminating in his HeelFaceTurn in season 3, which was preceded by half a season of intense inner conflict. There is something Zuko did "learn" from his father there. Consider: Zuko surrendered, and got in a world of hurt for it. As Sokka observes in the season 1 finale, "If there's one thing we know, it's that Zuko never gives up". Up until "The Western Air Temple" halfway through season 3, Zuko was the only one of the "core cast" who had ''never'' surrendered to someone who wanted to fight him. That he can offer himself as a prisoner is a sign of how far he has moved out of his father's influence, particularly since getting a bending attack in his face ''again'' for the attempt does not work to deter him for long.
** The problem with this is, Zuko ''was'' a respectful person, by most standards, before Ozai burned him and banished him. Yes, Zuko did learn respect and humility on his long and painful journey--but he only had to learn them because ''Ozai twisted his personality in the first place.'' Zuko started demanding respect and generally trying to act the way his father and sister would only after the Agni Kai.
** Or, looking at it another way, Zuko suffered and learned ''to'' respect the other nations, the balance which was required, and the true nature of firebending. While he did learn respect through his suffering, it was exact opposite kind of respect that Ozai wanted him to learn.
* The order of elements Aang has to master ties into his personal growth during the seasons. At the opening of season 1, Aang doesn't realize at first that there is a war going on and that the world as he knows it isn't the same. Only after visiting the ruins of what used to be his home temple and seeing the skeleton of his mentor does Aang realize that he has a responsibility to the world and can't go back to his old life anymore. Throughout season 1, he has to deal with the duty of being the Avatar. What element does Aang have to master for this season? Water, the element of change. Then next in season 2 is earth, the element of substance, whose discipline requires firmness and strength. Halfway through the season, Aang loses his animal companion and living relic of his old life, Appa and almost loses hope. Also the gang has to deal with delivering crucial info that could end the war to the Earth King past ObstructiveBureaucrat-s, the Dai Li. Finally, Aang learns fire, the element of desire and decisiveness in the last season where he faces off against Fire Lord Ozai. In the last first episodes he struggles against killing the Fire Lord due to his pacifist nature despite everyone telling him he must do it. Also in the last episode Aang and Katara kiss, thereby confirming their relationship, something both of them had desired to do.
* Fire Nation had pride in its benders, and might be losing touch with nature. However, look at what they were doing. All of their machines could be firebender operated. However, they were paving the way for non-benders to have equal power as their benders. Why dedicate a bender who could be used for fighting (gunpowder isn't around yet so Benders still have superiority in fighting) to keeping your vehicle moving when you could have anyone do it by using coal engines?
* So, the Fire Nation can develop tanks, giant drills, massive factories, etc...[[SchizoTech
but no hot air balloons?]] Odd. Until you realize ''what happens when you kill everyone in the world whose specialty is manipulating air.'' Of ''course'' the Fire Nation didn't realize that hot air would allow flight; all of the accumulated knowledge of flight and moving with the air was lost when the Airbenders were wiped out!

* Chronologically, the story begins with the Avatar and the Fire Prince as best friends, and when they part ways it causes the loss of balance in the world. The series ends with the Avatar and Fire Prince as enemies, and balance is only restored after they become friends.
** Legend of Korra implies that Zuko became Aang's best (human) friend.
* Aang is the Last Airbender, and Appa is an Sky Bison, the first Airbender.
* The show's three seasons correspond with whatever element Aang is learning, obviously. But they also correspond with what Zuko is doing, proving once again that they're NotSoDifferent! In the Water season, he lives on a ship out in the middle of the ocean. In the Earth season, he wanders around on land pretending to be an Earth Kingdom peasant. In the Fire season, he's a Fire Nation prince again, and then teaches Aang firebending.
* Why did the Gaang let Ozai, Azula, Yon Rha, and others live rather than just killing them? If Zuko is an example of the Fire Nation, Firebenders hold a high sense of honor (this is why out of the four nations, the Fire Nation has the greatest royalty). Killing a Firebender would be an easy decision, but an even better solution is through humiliation. Ozai, the ruler of the Fire Nation, is beaten by a child and imprisoned and his throne was taken by the son he personally branded and banished. Furthermore, this defeat came in the form of being held virtually at gunpoint and then [[PowerNullifier spiritually castrated]]. Azula loses her "friends" and her once-ruthless personality, and Yon Rha is bluntly told by Katara that he isn't even worth killing.
** Even [[BigBad Ozai]] found it more disgraceful when Zuko refused to fight him in the Agni Kai, partly because he's a SocialDarwinist and partly because of Values Dissonance within the Fire Nation - he might have looked terrified when Aang almost shot him in the finale, but he was ''pissed'' when Aang refused to kill him when he had the chance. Also ... that makes it funny when you consider that [[SmugSnake Zhao]] actually had the most ''honourable'' [[FaceDeathWithDignity death in the series]], of all noteworthy villains - he refused to degrade himself by taking Zuko's hand to survive, and so although he died with everyone considering him a monster, he at least felt he went out how he wanted. Not to mention, this places some interesting ideas on the level of morality afforded by the 'good guys' to the 'bad guys', and how it became more complicated as the series went on. To add another level to that, his choice was be saved by a teenager, one that was considered an embarrassing failure by his nation, or be killed by what was basically a ''pissed off god.'' Still crazy from a modern standpoint, but FridgeBrilliance if you think like a Firebender.
* There's another good reason Toph's blind. All the in-universe written text in the series uses Chinese or Japanese characters. Having someone around who can't read gives the rest of the Gaang an excuse to read things ''to'' her, and by extension to the audience. Not to mention making it hilarious when someone (usually Sokka) tries to show her something written/drawn (like a picture of Appa).
* Regarding Zuko and Agni Kai: In season 1, Zuko manages to defeat Zhao, a potent firebender, early on by "breaking his root" - i.e., upsetting his stance, specifically using an ankle sweep. This is fairly rudimentary principle - as Iroh had been drilling him on the basics in the first few episodes - but it works. Fast forward to season 3: Zuko's dueling Azula for the crown, and it's (gasp) evenly-matched. She's jetting around and throwing huge walls of flame, but he's wearing her down. She circles him, looking to engulf him, and he break-dance-firebends a fire wheel at ankle height. He '''breaks Azula's root''' and she tumbles to the ground, pretty much beaten. ''Zuko bested his nigh-unbeatable prodigy sister, '''during Sozin's comet,''' using a basic firebending principle.''
* The Lion Turtle at the end of the third season isn't drawn like the other characters and creatures, instead, he is done with the more detailed style and coloring used for the backgrounds. It makes perfect sense: he is one of the oldest creatures on the Airbender universe's earth. He is old enough to have a large, thriving forest growing on his back and the only creature we know of that's old enough to know energy-bending. He is drawn in the same style as the earth itself because like the earth, he is ancient.
* Ba Sing Se can be considered a parallel of New York. Why? It's seen as a very secure location and immigration hub, with a symbol that everyone immigrating to the city will see which is a symbol of safety and freedom, it has distinct sections each with different class of citizenry, and if said symbols fell many would consider it the end for that city. Also, the ferry that takes immigrants to Ba Sing Se is comparable to the ships that took immigrants to America from Europe.
* A few episodes after Iroh's White Lotus tile is featured, but well before the [[ChallengeCoin true significance of it is revealed]], we see another OldMaster using the tile in a game: Monk Gyatso. Old people really ''do'' all know each other!
* Whoever thought of designing the Avatar State mechanism must have Batman levels of CrazyPrepared. On one hand you would do well to have the power and skill of all the past avatars, but on the other hand, Aang has access to all their experience. If ATLA and Korra is something to go by, once people find out a child or teenager is the Avatar, then their expectations skyrocket and they want them to be like their fully realized predecessors, who have lived for decades, even centuries. Now that is about as unreasonable as it can get, in fact it's dumb, as Sokka points out when he says Aang is just a goofy kid. No child or teenager has the experience, wisdom and CharacterDevelopment of a fully realized Avatar who has lived a full life. Unless there was a way by which they could contact the previous Avatars and get their guidance. The Avatar's spiritual link up comes prepared just in case this sort of situation was to happen, and according to Roku, it has happened many times before.
** Further FridgeBrilliance: Why does Aang go into the Avatar state to [[spoiler:energybend Ozai, Yakone and Korra]]? Because nobody can overcome the spiritual strength of a thousand fully realized Avatars and the spirit of the whole planet acting through you. This allows the Avatar State to have offense and defense capabilities at a spiritual level too. CrazyPrepared all right.
* In Season 1, Katara tells Aang she's sure that he ended up frozen for a hundred years for a reason. What reason would destiny have for wanting to put the Avatar on ice for a century? Well, imagine what would have happened if Aang (or, if he had been killed, the new Avatar) had grown up and faced Fire Lord Sozin. Even if he had won, ''there would have been no one fit to succeed Sozin as Fire Lord.'' Azulon
wasn't consciously aware of it, much like how better than his dad, and certainly would have continued the war if he chose toys belonging thought his father had been killed by the Avatar. True peace couldn't be achieved until someone could lead the Fire Nation back to its original path and atone for Sozin's killing of Roku. So Aang had to wait until Zuko showed up, because only together could they restore balance.
%% [[http://avatarparallels.tumblr.com/ This website.]] All of it.
%% [[http://atla-annotated.tumblr.com/ This one]] is FridgeBrilliance meets ShownTheirWork.
* Why is Roku the one to introduce recaps of
previous avatars without consciously remembering episodes at the start of each episode? Because he's the previous life of Aang.
* The fact that Zuko [[spoiler: is the descendant of both Roku and Sozin, and that this lineage gives him a pointedly evil and a pointedly good side]] is somewhat sneakily foreshadowed throughout the series. The first is when Azula snarks, "remember to remind the portrait painters to ''get your good side.''" But this is exactly why
he owned them can learn to [[spoiler: redirect lightning.]] At the point in past lives.
the story when he learns the skill from [[spoiler: Iroh,]] he's told he must separate the negative and positive energies to ''create'' [[spoiler: lightning]]. He can't manage this because at this point, [[spoiler: his good and evil sides are in conflict - i.e., his negative and positive energies]]. He also has an evil (scarred) and a good (unscarred) side of his face. In shots where he's doing something noble, such as the first time he [[spoiler: Approaches Aang and asks to join the group,]] his unscarred side is highlighted.
* Sky Bison aren't like mascots that just happen to have convenient arrow-like markings. Master Airbenders tattoo themselves that way precisely ''because'' Sky Bison have them. Since they are the 'original airbenders'.
* Toph's personality doesn't lend itself well to expressing any kind of love towards others (which she herself points out after punching Zuko on the arm). This makes sense when you consider the element associated with the Heart Chakra, which deals with love; Air. Air, obviously, being the opposite element to Toph's Earth. Additionally, the chakra associated with Earth deals with fear, something that would obviously stop a person emotionally opening up.
* The most common hairstyle in the Fire Nation is the topknot, which keeps the hair tied back tight at the top of the head. Makes sense considering long, loose hair is a fire hazard.

14th Feb '18 3:13:30 PM ANewEnigma
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Added DiffLines:

** An even more horrifying thought: What if Kuzon had ended up being slowly indoctrinated by his nation until he not only came to believe it as necessary, but outright embraced it in the belief that what the Fire Nation was doing was a GOOD thing? And what if he happened to know one of Aang's other friends like Bumi, who could have ended up bearing witness to Kuzon being turned into a xenophobic patriot of a murderous empire, maybe even being forced to fight him? What if that friend had to live with the knowledge that one of Aang's own friends has turned to the dark side, likely to never be redeemed due to probably dying out before the end of the war?
8th Feb '18 7:26:31 AM silentdrew
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to:

*** That's not really Frdige Logic, the episode makes that part really obvious.


Added DiffLines:

** Just like how she dealt with Chin the Conquerer, she waited until just the right moment to strike. Bumi would be proud.


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** Of course Kyoshi did nothing to stop him, that is the way of the Master Earthbender. In this case, she had to wait until he had unified the Earth Kingdom (minus Ba Sing Se) under his banner in order to bring peace. Killing him sooner would have just fractured the Earth Kingdom even more.
4th Feb '18 1:16:20 AM WingedNightbringer
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** If you look at Zuko's movements carefully, you can see him using some of the steps of the Dancing Dragon.
4th Feb '18 1:08:46 AM WingedNightbringer
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Added DiffLines:

**If you look at Zuko's movements carefully, you can see him using some of the steps of the Dancing Dragon.
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