Characters: Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Fire Nation
These characters hail from the Fire Nation. Most of them serve as antagonists to Aang and his friends.
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"I don't need luck, though. I don't want it. I've always had to struggle and fight, and that's made me strong. It's made me who I am."
Even as the prince of the Fire Nation, Zuko has always struggled in life, particularly in matching his prodigy sister Azula and getting his father's acknowledgement. This came to a head when Ozai punished him for a perceived slight by horrifically burning his face and sending him into exile, refusing to let him return until he had captured the Avatar. (This was intended as a Snipe Hunt
, since Aang had been missing for a century). Determined to prove his worth to his father, Zuko hunted Aang across the world for the first season while trying to find his own destiny. Eventually, Zuko betrays Iroh and helps Azula take over Ba Sing Se. Granted amnesty for his actions, Zuko is finally allowed to come home. He has his honor restored, the adoration of a nation, the love of his life, and the respect of his father. And he finds himself lacking. After some soul-searching, Zuko finally realizes what Iroh had always tried to teach him. After giving Ozai an epic and well-deserved Calling the Old Man Out, Zuko defects to join the Gaang as Aang's Firebending teacher. Though initially mistrusted, grudges dissolve into friendships and Zuko soon becomes a core member of the group. At the end of the series, Zuko becomes the new Fire Lord and strives to rebuild the world into an era of peace. And hopefully find his mother.
- Adorkable: All of his attempts to be normal. "Hello! Zuko here!"
- "Why am I so bad at being good?!"
- Alter Ego: The Blue Spirit.
- Ambiguously Evil: Zuko is the first antagonist, but is given enough sympathy points throughout the first season that it is more than a bit hazy on which side of the fence he'll wind up. After trying to be evil, he decides it's not for him.
- Anti-Hero: After cutting his ties with the Fire Nation, becomes an Unscrupulous Hero or a Nominal Hero. After joining the Gaang, he becomes a Knight in Sour Armor.
- Anti-Villain: In Book 1, he was a Type I or II.
- Antagonistic Offspring: During "The Search", Zuko tries his hardest not to be this. Zuko realizes that the way he treated his father after the war isn't any different from the way his father treated him before.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: Averted, actually. Despite having an evil father and an example of The Sociopath for his sister, he's actually a White Sheep. In fact, The fact he averts this is one of the main reasons he’s The Exile at the start of the series. He's still a jerk at his angriest and has shades of Royal Brat with his sense of entitlement until his Character Development, however .
- Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Mostly in Season 1.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: Zuko had to reclaim the throne by defeating his sister in Agni Kai. Additionally, this was key to fulfilling his destiny.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Now that his father can no longer firebend, Zuko's firebending is more formidable than ever, no longer driven by anger.
- The Atoner: After his Heel-Face Turn, he tries to make up for two and a half seasons of jerkassery.
- Awesome Moment of Crowning: When he's made Fire Lord at the end of the series.
- Badass: Through his sheer determination.
- Bad Liar: Another trait that makes Azula and him Sibling Yin-Yang.
- Bald of Evil: At first, before he cuts off his ponytail and starts to grow his hair out normally.
- Beta Couple: With Mai.
- Big Bad Ensemble: In season one, with Zhao, though it's more of a Heavy Ensemble, since they're both still on Ozai's direction.
- Big Brother Mentor: To Aang in the second half of the third season.
- Big Damn Heroes: Early in Book One, he saves Iroh from getting his hands crushed by the Earth Kingdom soldiers who had captured him. Much later, in "The Western Air Temple", when the Gaang was too busy tending to Toph's wounds to notice Combustion Man sneaking up on them, it was Zuko who saved them from his attack.
- Big Good: Cements this status from the end of the war onward.
- Birds of a Feather/Opposites Attract: Zuko and Mai somehow manage to be these at the same time. While they're both perpetually frowning Emo Teens with some kind of family issue who are from the Fire Nation, their temperaments are completely opposite.
- A platonic example with Sokka. They discuss their mutually poor track record with relationships to break an Awkward Silence.
- Bonding Over Missing Parents: With Katara.
- Break the Cutie: Before his banishment, he was an eager and happy young prince who wanted to learn everything he could to prepare himself to rule. After having a fourth of his face burned off by Ozai and being banished, he becomes a brooding teenager who can barely find anything to be happy about.
- Break the Haughty: Season 2.
- Broken Bird: A rare male example.
- Byronic Hero: Conflicting emotions? Check. Trouble with conflicting integrity? Check. The status of exile? Big ol' Check. A troubled past? Very much so. Pride? Big problem he has to deal with. He's also a loner, "prone to Melodrama", and as for intelligence...well, Aang says that he's smarter than people give him credit for.
- Cain and Abel: Abel To Azula's Cain.
- Calling the Old Man Out: Calls his father, Ozai, out for the monster and horrible father that he is and tells him that he's going join the Avatar to defeat him. Ozai doesn't take kindly to this.
- Cannot Tell a Joke: His jokes are so bad they're made into jokes by other characters.
- Cerebus Retcon: All throughout season 1 and the beginning of season 2 humorous things happen to Zuko that foil his attempts at catching Aang. At the end of "Bitter Work" (after being unable to create lightning), he's screaming into a storm about how cruel the universe has always been to him and finally breaks down. Suddenly, all those silly things go from the universe poking fun at an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain to the turmoils of a teenage boy just desperate to go home and be loved by his father.
- Character Development: Up to Eleven. Interestingly despite being banished he had shades of a Royal Brat but unfortunately for his ego, no one treats him with the respect he feels he is entitled to. Learns An Aesop in the Whole Episode Flashback but he still has shades of it. Although in this case, Zuko has a good reason. He only started acting like a royal brat after his "lesson on respect" from his father—the flashback implies he was more upbeat and cheerful and not interested in being put up on a pedestal. Which makes sense: given his banishment came because he wasn't showing due respect to his father, respect would become a big deal in his mind. Part of his character arc in Seasons 1 and especially 2 is Zuko growing past his sense of aristocratic entitlement, personified in his treasonous Blue Spirit persona. He steals not only for basic necessities, but basically whenever he sees something shiny. Zuko's aristocratic nature eventually becomes a positive motivator for him, to the point where he vows to see Ozai overthrown and the Fire Nation redeemed.
- Charles Atlas Superpower: While one of the most visibly muscular characters, he once punches a person across a room.
- Chick Magnet: Has almost as much onscreen romance as Sokka, plus a fan club and a bunch of random girls that swoon over him at the beach. And a massive Estrogen Brigade. However, he's sort of lacking in the charm department...which is his charm, come to think of it.
- Childhood Friend Romance: With Mai.
- Crazy Jealous Guy: In The Beach, all it takes for Zuko to lose his cool is seeing some guy flirting to his girlfriend.
- The Comically Serious: Sure, having a Big Fun uncle helps, but he can be comically serious even when he's on his own, partially because he's so Adorkable.
- Cosmic Plaything: He's so sure he's this, he shouts Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter during a thunderstorm. Given all the crap he's put up with, he just might be right.
- Dork Knight: He genuinely is good-looking and a true badass, and he's skilled at fighting, giving orders, and anything that doesn't involve social interaction. But sit down and have a conversation with the guy and you'll discover his adorkable side pretty quickly.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: Turns out he's this while training Aang in firebending. He's not as brutal as Toph (at least not from what was shown), but he's still pretty tough.
- Dual Wielding: He's quite skilled with double broadswords. And there are those twin fire-knives that he tries (unsuccessfully) to battle Azula with.
- Fights Like a Normal: These skills give him a handy means of defending himself in situations where firebending might be a bad idea (usually when he's trying to conceal his identity).
- Dueling Scar: His burn scar isn't quite the iconic version, but as a facial scar received in a duel fought in a militaristic culture, it's a pretty clear reference.
- Easily Forgiven: Averted with the Gaang, but Up to Eleven with Iroh, who will always forgive him.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Ambitious as he is though, he spoke out against intentionally sending lines of inexperienced troops to die simply to wear down the enemy's defenses for their more experienced forces.
- Emo Teen: Cranked Up to Eleven in The Abridged Series, but there in the original.
- The Exile: He was banished for speaking out of turn at a war meeting and shaming himself in a duel with his father, and spends much of the first two seasons on a quest to earn his return back home.
- Expository Hairstyle Change: Every time something significant happens to him, his hair seems to change.
- Facial Horror: However, that scar certainly doesn't affect him being the series' most famous Mr. Fanservice one bit.
- Fan Nickname: Zudork, Failko, Dorko, and Prince Zuko: The Master Cockblocker.
- Fanservice Pack: His Character Development and gradual transformation into a good guy also makes him more attractive.
- The Fettered: Season 1. And then it all sort of starts to crumble in Season 2.
- Freudian Excuse: Getting your face scorched by your own father is bound to make anyone have issues.
- Friend or Idol Decision: Zuko has a choice between going after the Avatar, whose capture would restore his honor, or saving his uncle Iroh who has been imprisoned by the Earth Kingdom. After much agonizing, he chooses Iroh.
- Team Dad: To the Team Avatar. Especially◊ in the comics◊.
- Teens Are Short: A bit Fridge Logic-inducing because he appears about a head shorter than average-sized men◊, but tall enough around the other Gaang members and Iroh to indicate that he should be at least the same height as said average-sized men.
- Took a Level in Badass: Remember in the first episode of Book: Earth, when he wasn't even able to land a hit on Azula? He improves throughout the second season, and even gets the upper hand on Aang a couple of times. After seeing the dragons Ran and Shaw with Aang in the third season, his firebending went up to par with Azula's, holding his own pretty well until he took a lightning bolt shot at Katara.
- Took a Level in Kindness: After his Heel-Face Turn.
- Two-Faced: Because of his father, during an Agni Kai.
- The Unfavorite: To his father, and grandfather at least.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: The day his mother left was the day things got bad for Zuko....Even his Heel-Face Turn did nothing to reverse this.
- Villain Ball Magnet: Season 2 through the first half of Season 3. Whenever he tries to do something good, it goes horribly wrong and paints him as a villain once again. Case in point: accidentally burning Toph's feet when she was the only member of the Gaang to trust him.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With the Avatar.
- Warrior Prince
- Warrior Therapist: Plays The Lancer to Sokka and Katara when they need to sort out their problems (after Aang does the same to him) but the brand of therapy he gives to Katara skirted the line of a Poisonous Friend (albeit unintentionally). Mocked when Toph points out that everyone else got to go on a life-changing field trip with Zuko, grabs his arm, and proceeds to take him for a walk-and-talk... and he tells her that they need to focus on finding Aang.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Earning his father's approval is his driving force. Later on it's his uncle's.
- What Would Uncle Iroh Do?: When trying to find a way to prove Team Avatar that he has genuinely changed sides, he imitates his uncle, and for the sake of argument, his sister.
- White Man's Burden: Raised to believe that the Hundred Year War was the way the Fire Nation could share its unparalleled greatness with the rest of the world, Zuko eventually rejects this line of thinking as a lie. Later on in "The Promise" trilogy, after he becomes Fire Lord, he has something of a turnaround on the concept. While the war itself was bad, Zuko justifies the Fire Nation's colonialism, and their shabby treatment of the native populace, in terms reminiscent of the White Man's Burden.
- White Sheep: Zuko is a downright saint when one takes his grandfather, his sister and his father. He shares the White Sheep factor with his uncle and his mother
- Worf Had The Flu: Word of God has actually stated that he was impeded during his fight with Katara during the Siege Of the North by the fatigue and exposure from infiltrating the Water Tribe fortress. Had he been in good shape he would have won much more decisively. This is directly in line with his Didn't Think This Through personality, he fails to realize that borderline hypothermia and exhaustion are not good conditions to have in the middle of an enemy fortress.
Voiced by: Mako
(original), Greg Baldwin (after Mako's death)
"Sick of tea?! That's like being sick of breathing!"
Zuko's and Azula's uncle and Ozai's brother, Iroh was once the heir to the Fire Nation throne, a mighty general known as the Dragon Of the West. After the death of his beloved son Lu Ten, Iroh lost his thirst for conquest and retired. Afterwards, Iroh came to think of Zuko as his own son. When Zuko was exiled, Iroh went along with him to mentor and protect him. While he tends to act very silly most of the time, he is actually one of the most capable of the cast, and likely a match for Ozai himself. Also the Grand Master of the Order of the White Lotus.
- Acrofatic: Season 1 and 2.
- Action Dad: He was this back when he was a General and his son Lu Ten was alive.
- Actor Existence Failure: Averted in regards to the role. Mako passed away in the latter parts of Season 2 production, but luckily Greg Baldwin took up Iroh's character. Incidentally, Iroh's story in The Tales of Ba Sing Se concludes with a message "in honor of Mako" during the scene he cries before his dead son's portrait.
- Affably Evil: A mellow, easy-going, Cool Old Guy who loves tea, Pai Sho, and just relaxing. He also just happens to work for Zuko, his Troubled, but Cute Anti-Villain nephew (although Iroh is never seen doing anything particularly evil, and he never really helps Zuko make any major progress toward capturing the Avatar). Subverted like whoa when it that turns out he secretly did a Heel-Face Turn several years ago and, since then, he's never supported the Fire Nation in their quest to Take Over the World. And he's also a prominent figure of the Order of the White Lotus.
- Pre-Heel-Face Turn, though, he fit this trope to a T. In one flashback, he's seen writing a kind letter to his family in the Fire Nation while leading a brutal siege against Ba Sing Se (in the letter, he even casually jokes about the possibility of burning the city to the ground). Later during this siege, his son died, and this seems to have triggered his Heel-Face Turn, possibly because of the uncomfortable realization that this is the kind of emotional trauma that he's been inflicting on Earth Kingdom families for years on end.
- And Then What?: When Zuko attempts to steal Appa from the Dai Li and use him to bait Aang without even thinking about what to do with him afterwards, Iroh forces him to confront his Didn't Think This Through tendencies this way and demands to know what he wants to do with his life, contributing to Zuko's Heel-Face Turn.
- Anti-Villain: Type IV. He has no malicious plans of any sort and is mostly concerned with helping Zuko.
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: As revealed in The Legend of Korra, he decided to let his soul depart to the Spirit World after he felt his work in the material world was done.
- Badass: Easily one of the most badass characters in the show, by miles.
- Badass Beard: That's an awesome beard indeed.
- Colonel Badass: As one of the Fire Nation's most decorated generals.
- Badass Grandpa: Still a powerful Firebender well into old age, enough so that Zuko tried to get him to challenge Ozai when Aang disappeared.
- Took a Level in Badass: He was already badass enough before then, but in Sokka's Master, he actually trains for his great escape while imprisoned. As a result, he loses all of his fat and replaces it with pure muscle.
- Big Fun: Season 1 and 2. See Acrofatic.
- Big Good: Of the order of the White Lotus.
- Breath Weapon: "Did I ever tell you how I got the nickname Dragon of the West?" While he's not the only Firebender who can do this, this is his signature move.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: He is one of the greatest Firebenders in the world and the leader of an organization of Badass Grandpas who have all dedicated their lives to mastering their art/fighting style. He would much rather drink tea and play pai-sho.
- Cain and Abel: Abel To Ozai's Cain, though the two never fought directly. When he was given the chance, Iroh declined, as it was Aang's job.
- The Caretaker: To Zuko.
- Chivalrous Pervert: During the fight between Team Avatar and Zuko and June, June's animal companion, who has a tongue with neurotoxins that can paralyze anything that it licks, is "blinded" and lashes out, stunning Zuko and June. When June fell, Iroh "fell" so she was on top of him. Zuko comments that he didn't see Iroh get hit, and Iroh shushes him and goes back to enjoying his "paralysis."
- Cincinnatus: Of the 'does not want power' type. He'd much rather run a tea shop and let his nephew run the nation.
- Cool Old Guy: Friendly, funny, badass, and plays a mean game of pai-sho.
- Cool Uncle: To Zuko, specifically.
- Cultured Badass: Not only can he kick your ass in the battle arena, he can kick it in pai-sho and tea brewing!
- Unlike the rest of the Royal Family, he also respects and has carefully studied the cultures of the other nations, even incorporating some aspects of waterbending into his fighting style.
- In fact we see him using wisdom drawn from all the world's cultures at some point; The aforementioned lightning redirection is from Water bending, his prison escape is done by simply waiting and picking the right moment as Earthbender King Bumi would (and did) do, and he tries to detach himself from Fire Nation politics to lead a care-free life, like the Air Nomads' desire to detach themselves from worldly concerns.
- Cynicism Catalyst: Inverted. It's implied that if his son hadn't been killed in the Battle of Ba Sing Se, Iroh would've been a different person rather than the cheery, yet tragic Cool Old Guy. Not necessarily evil, but he definitely would've been a powerful, feared Fire Lord after the victory.
"Leaves from the vine...falling so slow..."
- Death Faked for You: Protected the dragons from being exterminated by pretending to kill the last of them himself.
- Dirty Old Man: More of a chivalrous version, however.
- The Dragon: Implied that he was this to his father Azulon in the past.
- Drink Order: Tea.
- Eccentric Mentor: He's obsessed with tea, acts goofy, and is so casual you'd think he didn't know there was a war going on, yet he's the key to Zuko's character development and helps along Aang's and Toph's too.
- Et Tu, Zuko?: He really must have felt disappointed when Zuko betrays his trust to help capture Ba Sing Se for Azula and Ozai's approval.
- Foreshadowing: His White Lotus tile may not seemed important when brought up during Book One, until you later find out about the Order of the White Lotus.
- For Happiness: Everything he ever does is to make people happy. He constantly tries to keep his nephew on the right path, helps Toph along in her Character Development, and commends Aang for refusing to let go of his love for Katara to achieve mastery over the Avatar State.
- Generation Xerox: He more closely resembles his genocidal grandfather Sozin than his lanky father. There is double irony there, given that Iroh is far nicer than Sozin was, and that he was his father's favorite (rather than Ozai, who resembled Azulon the most).
- Genre Savvy: Probably one of the smartest and wisest characters in the series.
- Heel-Face Turn: Subverted, as he was pretty much always a good guy. He just stuck with the Fire Nation to protect/guide Zuko. He showed his True Colors when he learned of Zhao's plans for the moon.
Iroh: Zhao, whatever you do to that spirit, I'll unleash on you ten-fold! Let it go now!
- Though given he was the Fire Nation's greatest asset once upon a time, it can be safely assumed he had one offscreen, most likely when Lu Ten died.
- Hot-Blooded Sideburns: In Season 1.
- Intergenerational Friendship: Develops one with Toph in "The Chase".
- Iroh-ny: Years ago, he failed to conquer Ba Sing Se for the Fire Nation, which Azula later did. In the series finale, he successfully conquers the city... so the Earth Kingdom can take it back. He even lampshades it.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Even after kicking ass throughout the series, the man just wants his tea shop back.
- Know Your Vines: In the second season, Iroh has a run-in with some of these.
"Delicious tea?... Or deadly poison?"
- Let's Get Dangerous: Most of the time he leaves the fighting to Zuko, but occasionally he demonstrates how he earned the title "Dragon Of The West".
- Lightning Bruiser: Family trait.
- Like a Son to Me: This is how he percieves Zuko. Zuko eventually feels the same way.
- Mysterious Past: We just know the footnote version.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: The Dragon of the West.
- Noodle Incident: We never found out exactly how he managed to escape his cell on the Day of Black Sun.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: Not that any of the characters ever treat him like he is, but as far as the audience is concerned for most of season 1, he's Zuko's nephew's goofy teacher and sidekick. In the season 1 finale, however, we see how devious he can be when he and Zuko outplay Zhao, but it's when he learns that Zhao plans to kill the Moon that Iroh shows just what a Badass he truly is- he drops the whimsical facade and demands Zhao stops his crazy plan, and effortless curb stompes Zhao's Elite Mooks when Zhao doesn't listen.
- The Obi-Wan: He's a mentor who helps Zuko after he was banished.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Admit it, at first glance he looks like a slovenly Dirty Old Man. You'd never know he's the grand master of a club for Cool Old Guys.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Iroh's escape from the Fire Nation prison in Book 3. He pulls his Obfuscating Stupidity whenever anyone's watching, while training determinedly in private. When Zuko finally makes his last Heel-Face Turn and goes to rescue Iroh, he's long gone, having trashed everyone and everything in his path. All we find out is that he was "like a One-Man Army."
- Older Sidekick: Old enough to be Zuko's dad. Heck, he's old enough to be Zuko's grandfather.
- Old Master
- One-Man Army: The prison warden calls him this when he breaks out of prison during the eclipse.
- The Other Darrin: Following his death, Mako was replaced by Greg Baldwin, who many feel did a great job in the role. Greg being a self-taught Mako understudy, that would be his job. One who didn't know of Mako's death might not even notice the change.
- Outliving One's Offspring: Before the start of the series, Iroh's son, Lu Ten, died in the siege for Ba Sing Se. Iroh took his death so hard that he abandoned the siege and retired from being general.
- Papa Wolf: When Azula tries to kill Zuko with lightning after a botched attempt to imprison them both, Iroh steps in at the last second, redirects the lightning into a nearby cliff, and then kicks her overboard.
- Parental Substitute: Though his birth father hates his guts and has actively tried to kill him, Zuko is fortunate enough to have a replacement in Iroh, who accompanied him throughout his banishment and raised him as his own son.
- Prisons Are Gymnasiums: During Iroh's time in prison, his cell did double duty as a gym so the trope above could occur. A before/after comparison appears as the image for this trope itself!
- Prophecy Twist: He once had a vision that he would conquer Ba Sing Se, and his attempt to do so cost his son's life. He is destined to conquer it, but only to save it from the Fire Nation.
- Retired Badass: Retired pre-series, after (nearly) penetrating the impenetrable city of Ba Sing Se.
- Samurai Ponytail: The Fire Nation seems to use the hairstyle just as the trope indicates with the style being indicative of his status, even in exile. He cuts it when Zuko is betrayed by Azula at the beginning of the second season.
- Shock and Awe: One of the only three Firebenders we ever see shooting lightning, although we don't get to see him use it in combat. He, in fact, invented the lightning redirection technique.
- Smart People Play Chess: He's a master at Pai-sho
- Spot of Tea: Asian variation. Azula calls him 'His Royal Tea Loving Kookiness'. It carries on to the sequel, The Legend of Korra, where he has become a resident of the Spirit World.
- Static Character: Justified in that he already had his development in the past. Now he helps others along in their Character Development.
- Supporting Leader: He leads the White Lotus.
- The Thirty-Six Stratagems: Plays #27 while in prison to hide his continued physical training.
- Trademark Favorite Drink: Tea.
- Warrior Therapist: Odd in that he doesn't fight at the same time. He'll sit you down and talk over your problems with tea.
"My own mother thought I was a monster... She was right, of course, but it still hurt."
Zuko's younger sister and princess of the Fire Nation. As a Firebending prodigy, her father Ozai favored her over Zuko, though the two had an opposite relationship to their mother Ursa. Azula uses her position and power to torment Zuko and anyone else in her way. A skilled tactician, master manipulator, and brilliant fighter, she's easily one of the Gaang's deadliest foes. She describes herself as "a people person," but she really is only skilled in manipulating people through fear. Normal interaction eludes and bewilders her more often than not.
- Ambiguous Disorder: Exhibits traits associated with anti-social, narcissistic and schizoid personality disorders without fully fitting the definition of any of the above.
- Aloof Big Sister: Inverted. She is the younger sibling.
- Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: She fits the trope like a glove. She is pretty, dark-haired, aloof, and imposing.
- Alpha Bitch: Very much.
- Antagonistic Offspring: Azula's true motive for "helping" with the search for Ursa in "The Search" is so that she can kill her mother.
- Arrogant Kung Fu Girl: She has this opinion of herself but her interactions with opponents are more psychological.
- Ax-Crazy: Keeps it in check for most of the series, but lets it all loose during her Villainous Breakdown.
- Annoying Younger Sibling: To Zuko.
- Badass: Competes with Toph and Iroh for the most powerful character on the show.
- Bad Boss: One of her first moments in the series is threatening to kill the captain of her ship for refusing to sail through dangerous tides. And of course, there's the fact that she pretty much forces Mai and Ty Lee to work for her (Which ultimately comes back to bite her when they perform a Heel-Face Turn).
- The Baroness: Sexpot variety.
- Berserk Button: What really sets her off is the implication that she's less than perfect. Also, try not to say that Zuko's better than her.
- Big Bad: Book Two, with Ozai as a Bigger Bad.
- She goes back into the Big Bad seat in Part 3 of The Search
- Little Sister Bully
- Broken Ace: She's held as The Ace throughout the Fire Nation for being a Firebending prodigy and a master planner and manipulator, at the age of 14. She, however has serious issues with perfection, and she gets even more broken in Book 3.
- Broken Tears: Katara couldn't bear to watch. Zuko forced himself to watch.
- Cain and Abel: The Cain To Zuko's Abel, especially after the latter's Heel-Face Turn.
Azula: I'm about to celebrate becoming an only child!
- The Caligula: Fire Lord assumptive.
- Card-Carrying Villain:
"My own mother thought I was a monster... She was right, of course, but it still hurt."
- While this was played for psychosis and self loathing in the finale, when first brought up, it was in a "history will overlook that unsavory aspect of me" sense.
- The Chains of Commanding: When Ozai gives her the title of Fire Lord when he ascends to Phoenix King, Azula is initially pleased at the authority she now wields... But the burden of being supreme leader starts eating at her sanity, resulting in her becoming more paranoid and psychotic as the days pass. By the time Zuko and Katara show up to face her in the grand finale, she's a total wreck.
- Chekhov's Gunman: In the flashback showing how Zuko got his scar, she can be seen in the crowd near Iroh and Zhao looking disturbingly pleased. Also, during Katara's opening narration, Azula is the firebender.
- The Chessmaster: At only 14 years old, she comes up with a plan that successfully conquers a city that had remained standing for a century.
- Child Prodigy/Teen Genius: A firebending master at age 14.
- Childhood Friends: With Mai and Ty Lee.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Practically every time Azula forms an alliance with someone, she betrays them.
- Classic Villain: Representing Ambition and Pride. Just like her father.
- Combat Pragmatist: Has no qualms about blasting someone in mid-transformation sequence.
- The Comically Serious: Especially in The Beach.
- Conspiracy Theorist: In "The Search", she's only (barely) able to function after her Villainous Breakdown in the series finale by blaming everything wrong with her life on an imaginary conspiracy orchestrated by her mother Ursa. Easily going past Insane Troll Logic as she clearly assumes that everyone is answering to Ursa.
- Consummate Liar: "I'm a four hundred foot tall purple platypus bear with pink horns and silver wings."
Okay, I admit, you're good.
- Control Freak: Ultimately, her biggest weakness is that she can't handle not being in control of everything. When there's no one around for her to control, she loses it and enters her Villainous Breakdown.
- The Corrupter: She uses her manipulation to pull Zuko away from his Heel-Face Turn despite Iroh's attempts to pull him the other way.
- Creepy Child: When she was about 9 years old.
- Daddy's Girl: Favored by her father and they have generally a good (for manipulative villains) relationship.
- Daddy's Little Villain: She's Ozai's daughter, just as cruel as him and looking forward to taking his title for herself.
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: One example: Immediately trading her useless Red Shirt Army for a Quirky Mini Boss Squad that achieved results.
- Dangerously-Short Skirt: In the Beach Episode, but the only "fighting" she ever does is playing volleyball.
- Dark Action Girl: She's powerful, brutal and vicious.
- Deadpan Snarker: It's something she's fond of doing, which may be because of just how emotionally detached she typically is. Still has this attitude in "The Search" whenever she's in a more sedated state of mind.
- Determinator: To the point that she could lightningbend, a technique that requires clarity of mind, in the middle of a mental breakdown.
- Diabolus Ex Machina: She occasionally seems to know things she should have no way of knowing. Maybe she's just lucky.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Manages to kill Aang while he was in the Avatar State.
- The Dragon: To Ozai.
- Dragon-in-Chief: For most of the series, she looks more threatening than her own father, though this was proven wrong in the Grand Finale.
- Dragon Lady: Though less ethnically offensive than many other Dragon Ladies, as pretty much everyone in the series is a fantasy Asian or Inuit, and there are plenty of other Asian-esque women and girls who aren't Dragon Ladies.
- The Dreaded: Even Iroh fears being in the hands of Azula.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Her Villainous Breakdown was partly brought about by Azula receiving this from her father. "You can't treat me like this. You can't treat me like Zuko!"
- Et Tu, Mai and Ty Lee?: She starts to lose it after Mai and Ty Lee do their Heel-Face Turn.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Can't understand why her mother (whom she believed never loved her) actually would love her despite her cruel personality, or why Mai would betray her for Zuko or Ty Lee to follow after Mai had been captured.
- Used rather heartbreakingly in The Search, first she can't understand why Zuko would save her if not for his own gain, then she becomes horribly confused when her mother apologizes to her for not loving her enough.
- Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Usually the jokes she makes at Zuko's expense.
- Eviler than Thou: To Long Feng, at least in screen time and supplemental works. All in all, she seems to had been a more humane ruler, which is saying something.
- Evil Is Burning Hot: Sympathetic traits aside, she's second only to her father in terms of being the most evil villain on the show, and she's a master Firebender to boot.
- Evil Is Hammy: "The Beach".
Zuko: What are you doing here, Azula?
Azula: Isn't it obvious?! I'm about to celebrate becoming an only child!
- Expy: The similarities to Asuka in personality, backstory and ultimate fate seem unlikely to be coincidence.
- Fallen Princess
- Faux Affably Evil: Is capable of acting quite polite, but the key word is "acting."
- Foil/Shadow Archetype: For Zuko. Especially in the third season, where he rejects the Fire Nation's Take Over the World policy and becomes a much more mentally-healthy individual, while she continues to embrace it and goes utterly insane.
- Foreshadowing / Chekhov's Gunman: She appeared with her face obscured by shadows in the show's opening as the representative of firebending, and first appeared in Zuko's flashback to the events that led to his exile as one of the audience members of his Agni Kai with Ozai.
- For the Evulz: She just enjoys messing with people. Especially Zuko. If she can do something, she'll go the extra mile to screw with somebody while doing it.
- Freudian Excuse: A sincere belief her mother never loved her and considered her a monster, combined with a doted-on father genuinely being a psychotic, manipulative, emotionally abusive monster who encouraged her to be a monster so she'd be more useful to him that way.
- God Save Us from the Queen!
- Go-Getter Girl: She's characterized by her ambition. Unfortunately, when this becomes thwarted, there's nowhere for her to go but down...
- Grapes of Luxury: She gives this a try while in power.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Needless to say, it doesn't take much to set her off.
- The Heavy: In Book 2 and most of Book 3, she drives most of the plot with her actions, though Ozai's still the Big Bad since it's his directions.
- Heel-Face Turn: She begins one at the end of "The Search" due to Zuko's brotherly love for her: giving up her goal of killing her mother or taking the throne from him and instead runs off to find a new objective in life.
- Hero Killer: She kills Aang in the Avatar State... but he gets better.
- Hot Girls Are Bitches: She's beautiful, regal, and vicious.
- I Am What I Am: The Quote at the top. In-Universe it's discussed.
- Ignored Epiphany: During "The Beach"; after realizing she can't interact with other teens in a regular setting, helping her comrades work through their various nuerotic traits, and admitting to some Mommy Issues, her final course of action is to shrug it off and give people more reason to believe the worst in her since she believes the worst to be the best. This belief comes back to bite her later on.
- Important Haircut: In the Grand Finale, after banishing every single one of her servants as the new Fire Lord, Azula tries and fails miserably to fix her hair, having apparently never done it on her own before. Not only is the resulting hairdo extremely disheveled (her ponytail's basically falling apart), but in a moment of stress-induced rage at her own incompetence, she clumsily hacks off her bangs, leaving her hair a tangled, uneven mess, much like her own sanity.
- Improbable Age: While almost all of the main characters are complete masters who are leagues better than people double their age, Azula stands out as being more talented initially than all of them, as well as being drawn as if she's 18, rather than a mere fourteen.
- Inelegant Blubbering: A rare completely serious example during the final stages of her Villainous Breakdown; there's no other way to describe her when she's chained up in the Fire Palace courtyard after the Agni Kai.
- Inferiority Superiority Complex: She's basically a coldblooded Asuka with the Attention Whore aspects replaced with manipulation and strong-arm tactics to ascertain worship from her peers. It doesn't play out that much better.
- Despite all of her talk about being perfect, she feels that she's Ursa's failure, even though Ursa denies it.
- Ink-Suit Actor: She looks alot like a younger Grey DeLisle, down to her hair colour and lipstick.
- I Surrender, Suckers: In "The Chase", when she is cornered by Team Avatar, Zuko and Iroh, she pretends to surrender, then sneak attacks Iroh and escapes.
- It's All About Me: Her rant to her mother in The Search Part 3 can be summed up as "My life sucks and it's all your fault and you never gave a damn about me."
- Jerkass: The biggest one in the series aside from her father (who's where she gets it from, after all.)
- Kick the Dog: Frequently and potently. Azula doesn't merely kick the dog, she punts it into orbit. She even literally kicked over some toddler's sandcastle in the Beach Episode.
- Knight of Cerebus: Her first major appearance brought in a whole new villain competency level, as well as ensuring Book 2 exhibited the show's Darkest Hour.
- Lack of Empathy: Another thing she has in common with Ozai.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Karma served in the fact that the master manipulator who spent two seasons playing mind games to ultimately suffer a mental breakdown set off by the specific reason of not being able to manipulate effectively. Azula says trust is for fools, and while it took three seasons for Zuko and Katara to trust each other, it's the trust in each other as friends that also overcame Azula.
- Also Hoist By Her Own Petard, to an extent. If Azula hadn't set Mai and Zuko up on that date, then Zuko would have stayed in the Earth Kingdom, which would mean no Firebending teacher for Aang and no Heel-Face Turn for Mai, Ty Lee, or perhaps even Zuko—no betrayal by her friends, no Sanity Slippage.
- Laughing Mad: In her final fight with Katara, she indulges in two cackling fits while charging up lightning bolts.
- Lightning Bruiser: A family trait, something she shares with her uncle and brother.
- Limp and Livid: During and after her Villainous Breakdown.
- Puppet King: She was made Fire Lord by Ozai...who immediately made the title pointless when he crowned himself Phoenix King. Azula took this very badly.
- Pyromaniac: Especially after her Villainous Breakdown.
- Rage Against the Reflection: She rages at her hallucination of her mother in a mirror as she realizes that she is completely alone and unloved, thus also clearly raging against herself.
- She continues to do this in "The Search", where she believes that Ursa's controlling everyone around her to ruin her life.
- Redemption Quest: Is potentially on this path at the end of "The Search"...it's really unclear.
- Redemption Rejection: This exchange happens between her and her mother, where she apologizes to Azula for not loving her enough. Azula hesitates for a moment, but instead, just continues to attack Zuko and states her desire to be free from the torment in her head.
- Reluctant Psycho: In "The Search", Azula's fully aware that she's lost her mind and isn't happy about it.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Like all the Fire Nation royalty, she's a One-Man Army waiting to happen. When Ozai "rewards" her with a meaningless position, it exacerbates her Sanity Slippage.
- Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training: See No Social Skills.
- Sanity Has Advantages: In "The Search: Part 1" Azula manages to escape from the Gaang in Volume 1 with her typical do-daring, but, unlike her pre-breakdown self, is quickly recaptured because she stops running to get into an argument with a hallucination.
- Sanity Slippage
- Scarily Competent Tracker: Goes hand-in-hand with being a Dangerously Genre Savvy Manipulative Bitch. There's only one episode where we see her tracking skills, but it's clear she knows what she's doing.
- Self Made Woman: Of a sort. She's certainly privileged and naturally talented but Azula believes in doing her own dirty work. Her greatest achievements are things she did through determination, guile and brass tacks power.
- Self Proclaimed Liar: See Consumate Liar.
- Serious Business: Beach Volley.
- She Is the King: The title of Fire Lord is unisex.
- Shock and Awe: Introduces lightning generation, which only a few very skilled firebenders can do.
- Sixth Ranger Traitor: Ultimately betrays Team Avatar in "The Search: Part 3".
- Slasher Smile: Sported one during her final fight with Zuko.
- Smug Super: Being a firebender with The Gift and lightning bending is just one reason she thinks she's better than everyone.
- The Social Expert: Plays everyone from her brother to foreign officials like fiddles. Until her Villainous Breakdown, at least.
- The Sociopath: Just like daddy.
- Strong Family Resemblance: She looks exactly like her mother Ursa, especially when she has her hair down.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: She basically takes Admiral Zhao's place, but she's even more dangerous than he is.
- Teens Are Monsters: Only 14, but one of the nastiest, most messed-up villains in the show.
- Terms of Endangerment: "Zuzu!"
- It could be said this one word sums up what makes Azula a Tragic Villain. It began as a genuine loving nickname from a little sister to her elder brother but by the time she shows up in the series, it's a biting insult to express that she thinks he's beneath her in all ways.
- Token Evil Teammate: To Team Avatar in "The Search".
- Tragic Villain: For all her scary traits, ruthless acts and hints of psychosis, Azula is, ultimately, little more than a lost girl at heart, desperately seeking love and attention from her family.
- Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: While Ozai definately nurtured Azula's villainous side, every flashback we see in the series indicates sociopathic traits/tendencies from an early age. We've seen her smirking with glee as her brother got his face set on fire, setting her presents on fire because she didn't want them, jeering that her uncle's "weak" for having an emotional breakdown after his only son is killed, and cheerfully taunting her brother and her mother both that her father is going to kill his son — and there's subtle hints she may have been lying about that just to drive a wedge between the family. It's so easy to see Azula engaging in stereotypical "psycho behavior", like torturing her brother's pets, it's frightening.
- When Zuko says to his mom "do you want to know how Azula feeds the turtle-ducks?" and proceeds to throw a big rock at them, it's pretty clear that animal cruelty is part of her record.
- True Companions: Mai and Ty Lee, the only ones she trusts due to them being the longest-lasting victims of being afraid of her, and what send her to the deep end when they betrayed her. Fear is not a good way to make friends. Subverted in "The Search" with Team Avatar, as she does not integrate with them much
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: In Universe and Fanon, seems to take with stride that a 14 year old girl with other two teens managed to take Ba Sing Se, a city that the greatest generals in the Fire Nation couldn't conquer (including Iroh with dozens of thousands of soldiers and 600 days) in a 100-year war, bring down a dynasty, destroy the greatest dictatorship in the Verse so far, command the absolute loyalty of the Dai Li and permanently cripple the Earth Kingdom (capturing the 5 generals), quite likely ending the war. She did this in less than a month with zero casualties while making it up as she went.
- The Unfavorite: Word of God says she perceives herself to be this when it comes to her mother.◊
- The Vamp: Though she apparently does it without realizing it. The one time she tried to seduce someone, she failed miserably.
- Villainous Breakdown: It starts when Ty Lee and Mai turn on her, and Ozai pushes her aside just like he did to Zuko. It comes full circle when she loses to Katara and Zuko; she's left chained to a grate, crying and whimpering on the ground while Katara and Zuko can only look on in pity and horror.
- Villain Decay: In "The Search" due to her deteriorated mental state.
- Villainous Friendship: With Mai and Ty Lee, until it becomes apparent that both of them were scared of Azula's wrath and pull a Heel-Face Turn.
- Wake Up Call Boss: Although Zuko improved over the series he was not the same level of threat even with a troupe of soldiers in Book 1 to Aang as Azula was alone season 2.
- We Can Rule Together: She tried this as a pick-up line on a guy at a party. She also used this on Zuko, and was one of the few occasions where it worked.
- Well Done Daughter Girl: Not just to her father, but to her mother as well. She sought the approval of both parents by being cruel to others due to what Ozai taught her. While Ozai was pleased with the result, at least up til the point where this meant she'd lie to him, Ursa got worried about her daughter's mental instability. She mistook that for Ursa's fearing her as a monster.
- What Could Have Been: She and Toph were both originally planned as boys.
- Worf Had The Flu: Azula was virtually unbeatable when she was on her game. It took her brain breaking for Katara to bring her down. Her Sanity Slippage gave Zuko an advantage, which he noted before their Agni Kai began. After a certain point Katara doesn't even try to attack the crazed and comet-powered girl, instead waiting until she could disable Azula by chaining her up.
- Younger than She Looks: Yep. She's fourteen. At least until the year-long timeskip happens in The Promise; then she's 15.
Daughter of very high class Fire Nation nobles, Mai was constantly forced by her parents to be quiet in order to keep up appearances. As a result, Mai finds no enjoyment in anything other than her childhood crush Zuko. As an expert with throwing blades, Mai was recruited by her old friend Azula to help her in her schemes. Although she does have a soft spot for Zuko, she's so apathetic to everything that she doesn't care about being Azula's soldier. At least, that's what Azula thought.
- Aloof Big Sister: Shows little emotion in regards to her brother, but the comics show that she cares greatly for him.
- Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: She is almost as tall as Zuko, has long black hair, and is very aloof and cold.
- Archnemesis Dad: Her father turned to The Dark Side, with the ambition of overthrowing Zuko. Mild example though, because he doesn't see himself or his daughter as enemies. Mai on the other hand, thinks otherwise.
- Badass: When you can tame the Prince of the Fire Nation and save him from Royal Guard Fire Benders with only knife-throwing skills without striking vitals flawlessly, you're this.
- Beleaguered Assistant: To Azula
- Beta Couple: With Zuko.
- Big Sister Instinct: The story arc of Rebound, a comic sequel to "The Promise" series, portrays this. After undergoing Character Development and her breakup with Zuko, she discovers her father gathered a Ozai-loyal faction and intends to raise Tom-Tom into loyalty to Ozai and hatred for Fire Lord Zuko. With that, Mai snatches Tom-Tom away (who ran into her arms) and brings him to a friendly aunt where she knows he'd be raised well.
- Birds of a Feather/Opposites Attract: She and Zuko somehow manage to be these at the same time. While they're both perpetually frowning Emo Teens with some kind of family issue who are from the Fire Nation, their temperaments are completely opposite.
- Charles Atlas Superpower: While turning her back on Azula at the Boiling Rock, she managed to consistently pin several guards onto solid metal architecture, using the same knives with which she attacks everything and everyone else. More passively, she's on even footing with the average elite bender, such as Early-Season-Two Katara and half the Terra Team sent to attack The Drill.
- Childhood Friend Romance: With Zuko.
- Childhood Friends: With Azula and Ty Lee.
- Co-Dragons: With Ty Lee, to Azula.
- Cool Big Sis: To Azula and Ty Lee to a certain degree. "Rebound" also portrays her as this to Tom-Tom.
- Dark Action Girl: During her time as Azula's lieutenant.
- Deadpan Snarker: Has a very dry sense of humor.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Much like her boyfriend, except it takes her longer to thaw.
- Did You Think I Can't Feel?: Towards Zuko in "The Beach."
- Emo Teen: "That gloomy girl who sighs a lot?"
- Emotionless Girl: Almost everything she says is in a monotone.
- Fingerless Gloves: Part of her attire.
- Flechette Storm: Her preferred method of attack is to throw several knives at once to incapacitate her enemies.
- Goth: Apparently, part of her appeal to Zuko.
- Heel-Face Turn: To the point where she's the only one in the final scene of the series who wasn't a main protagonist.
- Sweet Tooth: She loves fruit tarts. With rose petals on top.
"My aura has never been pinker!"
Daughter of Fire Nation nobles, Ty Lee made an effort to distinguish herself from her six identical sisters. After joining a circus, Ty Lee was forcefully recruited by her childhood friend Azula. Although she's an expert martial artist able to stop bending by striking pressure points, she's more interested in doing handstands and being girly than doing villain work. Nonetheless, she's easily cowed by Azula, making her a loyal, if very quirky, minion. At least, that's what Azula and Ty Lee herself thought.
- Attention Whore: Most likely as a result of having six identical sisters and not having the attention she wanted as a child. This is also why she ran away to the Fire Nation circus.
- Aura Vision: Though it's really more a take-my-word-for-it thing; the viewers never get to see it.
- Badass: In a world full of benders, she's more than capable of holding her own.
- Boobs of Steel: She's endowed, and one of the most feared fighters in the show, thanks to her chi-blocking abilities.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Azula learns this the hard way.
- Buxom Is Better: Out of all the attractive ladies on the beach, she was the most popular.
- Dating Catwoman: Sort of. She seems to have a crush on Sokka, or at least usually shows attraction to him whenever she encounters him.
- The Dreaded: For any bender who has fought and got their powers shut off. In one episode, Katara mentioned how downright terrifying it was even recalling her first experience being chi-blocked. Apparently, her abilities are so scary that all the main characters who can bend are more concerned with distancing themselves or outright avoiding her, including Aang when he was dealing with the drill.
- Friendly Enemy: She's quite flirtatious with Sokka.
- Genki Girl: Energetic and perky.
- Good Costume Switch: Joins the Kyoshi Warriors.
- Good Feels Good: She loved entertaining people at the circus, and then she stopped Azula before she could attack Mai.
- I Just Want to Be Special: She joined a circus to demark herself from her six identical sisters.
- Machiavelli Was Wrong: Looks like her friendship with Mai mattered more to her than her fear of Azula did.
- Mage Killer: Her pressure points can shut down bending making her the ideal person to fight benders.
- Ms. Fanservice: Lampshaded in "The Beach", where some guys see her lying on the beach and picture her doing sexy poses.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Ty Lee chi-blocks Azula in "The Search" when she knocks over the tray, and Azula takes advantage of her temporary flexibility to slip out of her straitjacket and find Ozai's letters.
- Not Afraid of You Anymore: Subverted with regards to Azula in "The Search", Azula asks if Ursa was responsible for getting Ty Lee to lose her fear of Azula, but after leaving, Ty Lee says to Zuko "She's wrong, you know. I never lost my fear of her."
- Obfuscating Stupidity: The episode, The Beach, revealed that at least part of her bubbly personality is an act.
- One Woman Army: Took out an elite team of earthbenders by herself.
- The Paralyzer: She can (temporarily) disable bending ability, designating her as the anti-bender combatant.
- Perky Female Minion: She even provides the page picture and the page quote!
- Punch Clock Villain: She's only going after the Gaang because she's working with Azula. Then she ditches her.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The red to Mai's blue. Or, since Ty Lee describes her aura as pink, and Mai's as grey, Ty Lee is the Pink Oni to Mai's Grey.
- The Runaway: To join the circus.
- She-Fu: Justified as she was a circus performer.
- She's Got Legs: As shown in the Beach Episode.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Doesn't give a damn about any of the Fire Nation beach boys drooling over her, and instead develops a crush on Sokka.
- Stalker with a Crush: To Sokka.
- Stepford Smiler: At least some of her attitude is a ruse to keep Azula happy.
- Token Good Teammate: In a team where Azula is Obviously Evil and Mai is extremely apathetic, Ty Lee comes off as this in comparison.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Girly Girl to Mai's Tomboy.
- Valley Girl: As Mai is the Avatar world's version of a Goth, the creators describe Ty Lee as this.
- Yes Woman: To Azula, if only because she's terrified of her. When she turns on Azula, Ty Lee was just as surprised as everyone else.
Fire Lord Ozai
Ruler of the Fire Nation and likely the most powerful Firebender on the planet, Ozai is the main antagonist of the series. A ruthless warlord and megalomaniac, Ozai is willing to burn the rest of the world to the ground so he can rule. He has little to no empathy for anyone, including his own children (though he's acts decent towards them if they prove themselves useful.) Aang must defeat Ozai before Ozai can harness Sozin's Comet and use it to end the war once and for all. After crowning himself Phoenix King and trying to annihilate the Earth Kingdom with the Comet's power, Ozai was defeated by Aang, relieved of his Firebending, and left to rot in a prison cell.
- God Emperor: Makes a claim at this towards the end with the new position of "Phoenix King".
- Godzilla Threshold: He's the one villain Zuko doesn't recommend holding back on. Aang on the other hand, isn't wiling to take his life even if Ozai passes this threshold.
- Hot Dad: Pun aside, he looks pretty good for a forty-something year old man.
- Humiliation Conga: Brought Down to Normal, mocked by kids and teenagers, and left living on the mercy of the son he abused.
- Inferiority Superiority Complex: Heavily implied in his relationship with his brother, in his own personal search of admiration and respect and lately in his Villainous Breakdown.
- Kill It with Fire: Aside from the obvious, his master plan is to use Sozin's Comet to greatly enhance firebending everywhere. A more literal example comes later in the series; the final battle is kicked off when he begins to personally burn down swathes of the Earth Kingdom.
- Knight of Cerebus: Again, much like his daughter, he's a dead serious and frighteningly competent villain.
- Large and in Charge: He outsizes a lot of his subordinates.
- Large Ham: In the series finale as The Phoenix King!
- Long Range Fighter: Reflects his fighting style if not his fragility. Unlike his brother and children who like to mix it up in close combat and are generally almost as dangerous without bending as they are with it, Ozai prefers to stay at a distance and blast his enemies with ranged attacks. In the absence of bending he even seems to consider himself outmatched by Zuko to that point that he wouldn't bother fighting, though Zuko was armed with swords at the time.
- Manipulative Bastard: Plays on Zuko's emotions right until the boy pulls a Calling the Old Man Out. By "The Promise", he's gained a reputation for being this.
- Might Makes Right: Firmly believes that the Fire Lord's will is right by way of being the Fire Lord.
- Misery Builds Character: He believes strongly in this as way of upbringing to his children.
- Near Villain Victory: He had the edge on Aang until inadvertently giving his opponent access to the Avatar state again.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: He tried to smash Aang's earth shield only to hit the chakra that Azula had blocked, opening it, and then spends the rest of the fight fleeing in terror from the wrath of an absolutely furious Avatar Aang.
- Zuko outright states that he did this. As if he never banished him to go hunt for the Avatar, he would have been victorious. Granted, Zuko still felt his banishment was unjust, but nonetheless felt that it was the only thing that put Zuko on the right path.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: Discussed by Sokka after learning about Ozai's plan to obliterate the Earth Kingdom with the power of Sozin's comet. Sokka once believed Ozai was merely a bad guy, but later realizes that the fire lord is just pure evil.
- Offing the Offspring: Was planning on doing this to Zuko when he was about 8-10 to appease his father. Attempted to do it again when Zuko announced his intentions to join the Avatar to help him defeat him.
- Oh Crap: He actually has his first moment of panic even before this when it looks like Aang is going to redirect his lightning right back at him. He doesn't use lightning for the fight after this. He didn't take it well when Zuko threw his lightning back, either.
- Omnicidal Maniac: His Evil Plan in the finale was to wipe out the other two nations.
- Orcus on His Throne: Strategically justified.
- Pyromaniac: It's easy to see where Azula gets it from.
- Restraining Bolt: He's rendered harmless by Aang permanently removing his ability to firebend
- Self-Made Orphan: "The Search" reveals that, although Ursa is the one who made the poison, it was ultimately Ozai who murdered Azulon, as Ursa shortly left after giving the vial to him.
- Shock and Awe: And very good at it, too. He can generate lightning extremely quickly, whereas both Azula and Iroh, master firebenders in their own right, require at least a few seconds to "charge".
- The Social Darwinist: "You're weak, just like the rest of your people! They did not deserve to exist in this world!"
- Also, this is why he absolutely hates it when Zuko and later Aang have him at their mercy and won't kill him, or when Zuko won't fight an Agni Kai against him after challenging the chain of command. Everyone else should be a Social Darwinist too, damn it!
- The Sociopath: In case you're wondering where Azula got it...
- Tall, Dark and Handsome: He's essentially an older Zuko sans the horrific scarring.
- The Unfettered: Nothing checks his ambition.
- The Unfavourite: Implied.
- Ungrateful Bastard: His thanks to Ursa for allowing him to usurp Azulon as Fire Lord, while saving their son's life in the process, was to banish her for treason.
- Unwanted Spouse: To Ursa.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: According to Zuko.
- Villainous Breakdown: Occurs during his final battle with Aang. During the opening of the battle he's smug and confident, but after Aang achieves the Avatar State, Ozai's visibly terrified. And after he loses his bending, he's left a pathetic shell of his former self.
- Villains Never Lie: He's the only character who gives exposition on Ursa's fate. He's taken at his word by both Zuko and the audience, even though Ozai was blatantly trying manipulate Zuko at the time. (This may be because the story matches up with hints from Azula.)
- Villain with Good Publicity: He is very popular with his citizens, even after being deposed, as seen in "The Promise". This is thanks to him developing a cult of personality where, as shown in The Headband, Fire Nation schools routinely teach their students to adore him and even rewrite history to favor him and his predecessors.
- Would Hurt a Child: Well duh.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: After Ursa gives him the poison, Ursa would be the final loose end; Ozai had to banish Ursa without her taking the children.
Voiced by: Jen Cohn
"That's what moms are like — if you mess with their babies, they're gonna bite you back."
Even as Ozai's wife, Ursa was a caring mother to their children. (Though she had considerable problems dealing with Azula.
) She was one of the few people who consistently supported Zuko, and it came as a hard blow to him when she suddenly disappeared. The reason for her disappearance was part of a deal with her husband Ozai: in exchange for not killing Zuko, Ursa would kill Fire Lord Azulon and make it so Ozai could take the throne. Though Ozai claims that she is now banished, the long-standing question of what really happened to her wouldn't be answered until The Search.She is also the granddaughter of Avatar Roku.
- Childhood Friend Romance: Before being forced to marry Ozai, Ursa had a lover named Ikem, who was also her childhood friend.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Subverted. She thought that after finding Ikem, changing her identity and marrying him was the happy ending she wanted. When Team Avatar finds her, she came to realize that this was not what she truly wanted.
- Gilded Cage: After marrying Ozai, her new life was better than her backwater village due to the comforts of the Palace. However, Ursa wasn't allowed to speak to her family or mention her pre-Fire Nation princess life again after their wedding. She couldn't have certain possessions or travel where she wants without the Royal family's permission. Even her letters secretly sent back home were intercepted and confiscated.
- Good Mom: She's a very loving mother. But as "The Search" reveals, not a perfect one.
- Identical Granddaughter: She looks very similar to Roku's bride, Ta Min, who's also her grandmother.
- Irony: Her last words to Zuko are "Never forget who you are!" She then proceeds to literally and willingly forget a significant part of who she is, and who Zuko is for that matter.
- Lady Macbeth: Subverted. Ursa made a bargain with Ozai to help kill his father and become Fire Lord, but she did it in order to protect Zuko.
- Mama Bear: See her character quote above.
- Master Poisoner: She knew a lot about poisons and herbs thanks to her mother. She gave Ozai odor-less, color-less poison to kill Azulon.
- Meaningful Name: Ursa is Latin for "bear."
- Gains further meaning when one stops to think of Ozai's use of the word "vicious" to describe her treason. Right after telling Zuko that disfiguring his son wasn't a big deal and right before he tries to smite the boy.
- Missing Mom: To Zuko and Azula.
- Mommy Had A Good Reason For Abandoning You
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: To see if her letters have been intercepted, Ursa wrote a letter that states that Zuko is Ikem's son rather Ozai's, knowing that it would provoke Ozai. It backfired horribly, as Ozai's jealousy and rage over this caused him to openly treat Zuko as if he was not his own son as punishment for Ursa (though Ozai had already been treating Zuko pretty badly even before his confrontation with Ursa). This also led to Ozai favoring and corrupting Azula, and Ursa once again failed to help matters by focusing her efforts into protecting Zuko from the results of her mistake, apparently unintentionally neglecting Azula (at least from her perspective) in the process.
- Parents as People: "The Search: Part 3" reveals that she may have loved her children, but she feels she didn't love them enough to keep her from having her painful memories of her life with the Fire Nation royalty wiped, which she feels she cannot bear to remember. Even Noriko, who is Ursa under memory loss and a new identity, admits this when she hears of what her past-self did, and when she's restored to being Ursa, she re-iterates this admittance to Zuko, outright asking herself "what kind of mother forgets her own children?"
- Rags to Royalty: She was a commoner who became a princess through an Arranged Marriage to Ozai.
Commander / Admiral Zhao
Voiced by: Jason Isaacs
"I had a pupil once who had no interest in learning discipline. He was only concerned with the power of fire - how he could use it to destroy his opponents and wipe out the obstacles in his path." -Jeong Jeong
The power-hungry and glory-seeking Commander and later Admiral of the Fire Nation. With his greater resources and army, he served as Zuko's rival to capture Aang in the first season. However, he considered the capture of the Avatar to be a minor project compared to his dream of KILLING THE MOON! While he did succeed, his actions were quickly undone by Yue, and he was thrown into the Fog of Lost Souls by the vengeful Ocean Spirit. The sequel show proves he's still trapped there.
- Arc Villain: For Book One.
- Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: He's very confident in his abilities.
- Berserk Button: "I dunno why, but I thought you'd be better than Zuko!"
- Big Bad Ensemble: For the 1st season with Zuko, though it's more of a Heavy Ensemble due to them both working under Ozai's direction.
- The Bus Came Back: He's a prisoner in the spirit world in the second season of Korra.
- Cowboy Bebop at His Computer: His trading card released during the first season premier claimed he was the one who gave Zuko his scar.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Zhao is actually a very capable and powerful firebender, when push comes to shove. It just happens to be that he lacks discipline.
- Deceptive Disciple: See his quote.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: His dream in life is to kill the moon. Which in the Avatar universe is a sentient being. And he technically succeeded.
- Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: Never considered the enviromental and spiritual consequences of killing the moon. It's a vengeful ocean spirit, the soul-mate spirit of the moon, coming to end him.
- Dragged Off to Hell: In season two of 'Korra' it's revealed that he's been rendered utterly insane and immortal, trapped in the spirit world forever.
- Disc One Final Boss: Literally, as he's the final enemy Aang faces in Book One.
- Embarrassing Rescue: Subverted. Chooses death over rescue at Zuko's hands, not that he likely would have survived after that anyway.
- Expy: Of Tarkin.
- Evil Versus Evil: He's constantly fighting with Zuko for the prize of Aang.
- Face Death with Dignity: Why he chooses not to be rescued.
- Fake American: The character's obviously not American, but Jason Isaacs puts on a fake American accent while playing him. This is likely to avoid Unfortunate Implications by having the main unsympathetic Fire Nation officer speak with a British accent as opposed to Zuko's American one.
- Fatal Flaw: Pride.
- Fate Worse Than Death: In The Legend of Korra it's revealed that he was transported to the Spirit World and thrown in the Fog of Lost Souls, a sort of prison that can drive people mad with their worst memories if they stay in it too long. Made even worse by the fact that you don't age in the Spirit World, and thus, you cannot die of age. Zhao is doomed to wander the Fog of Lost Souls forever.
- Gaia's Vengeance: For trying to destroy the moon, the Ocean Spirit captures Zhao and essentially condemns him to live within his own head for eternity.
- A God Am I: He's convinced the moon-killing thing is his destiny.
- Glory Hound: Just listen to the speech he gives after capturing Aang; its 'I am great' over and over again.
- The Heavy: Gradually eclipses Zuko as being The Heavy driving the plot of Book 1, eventually becoming the main antagonist in the Book 1 finale.
- Honor Before Reason: Only one time: when Zuko reaches out to try and save Zhao from being dragged to his death by the Ocean Spirit, Zhao refuses to take it, choosing death over accepting help from his sworn enemy.
- Hotblooded Sideburns
- Jerkass: Almost all of his scenes revolve around him being a jerk.
- Karmic Death: To avoid an Embarrassing Rescue. Given a rather contemplative ethical Lampshade Hanging in Kyoshi's flashback in the finale.
- It turns out in TLOK that he isn't dead, but he might as well wish he was.
- Knight of Cerebus: Not to the same degree as Azula, but he proves to be a far more competent and effective villain than Zuko.
- Kill It with Fire: Virtually a Pyro Maniac. His (corrupted) firebending style is derived from extreme aggression and thus, while easy to learn, is easily countered by purer forms of firebending.
- Large Ham: "They will call me Zhao the conqueror! Zhao the moonslayer! ZHAO THE INVINCIBLE!"
- Madness Mantra: When he's trapped, forever, in the Fog of Lost Souls. "I am Zhao The Conqueror. I am The Moonslayer! I ''will' capture The Avatar!"
- Orwellian Editor: Implied. Zhao learned about the Moon Spirit from Wah Shi Tong's library. Said library had an entire section burned down because it contained information that could hurt the Fire Nation. And since Zhao was confirmed to be there...
- The Rival: To Zuko.
- Sanity Slippage: He was losing it towards the end, but decades in the spirit world have left him a babbling lunatic.
- Smug Snake: He's not nearly as good as he claims to be.
- Starter Villain: He was a credible threat in the beginning, but mostly because of his resources. He is no where near as dangerous as Azula who had resources but also the skills and frightening intelligence that Zhao lacked.
- Too Dumb to Live: Well, he did kill a force of nature. Like that's ever been a good idea.
"I've heard about you. They say you're good at what you do. And even better at keeping secrets. The Avatar is alive. I want you to find him. And end him." - Zuko
A mysterious assassin hired by Zuko to hunt down and kill the Avatar. Relentless in his pursuit of Aang and seemingly unstoppable, he uses a unique form of Firebending by shooting laser beams that cause Stuff Blowing Up
. Also known as Sparky Sparky Boom Man.
- Achilles' Heel: Getting hit in the tattoo on his head screws up the flow of chi which creates his explosions, causing them to blow up in his face ( or worse).
- Appropriated Appellation: Both of his names were made up by Sokka for the sake of identification. Combustion Man never actually hears them and it's unknown what he actually calls himself. Zuko apparently knows his real name, but never gets a chance to say it.
- Artificial Limbs: Word of God is that he blew off his natural limbs by accident while experimenting with his powers.
- Attack Its Weak Point: Indirectly subverted. While he is twice foiled by things hitting his tattoo, both times were completely unintentional and the gaang never actually figured out how to stop him. Sokka takes the credit for defeating him, with his boomerang.
- Badass: He manages to send the Gaang running scared in their first fight with him.
- Bald of Evil: Although he clearly shaves it to be that way.
- Beard of Evil: It's the hair he's really got.
- Evil Counterpart/Shadow Archetype: The art book reveals he was intended as one of these to Aang.
- Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: His real name is never revealed, and the Gaang actually refers to him as Sparky Sparky Boom Man, then Combustion Man.
- Fan Nickname: Sparky Sparky Boom Man, which originated in-universe.
- Fluffy the Terrible: See above.
- Genius Bruiser: Aside from the obvious with him being a huge guy, in addition to being a powerful firebender, he's also crafty enough to make sure to keep any word of Aang being alive from getting out, and he captures Toph, he has her thrown in a jail cell made completely of wood.
- Hero Killer: Though not the same extent as Azula.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Hitting the tattoo on his forehead causes his powers to go haywire and quite literally blow up in his face. When Toph did it by accident, it only caused him to misfire, but when Sokka hit him with his boomerang, it outright caused him to blow himself up.
- Implacable Man: He can be stopped by hitting the tattoo on his head, but it's only temporary.
- Made of Explodium: The basis of his power. A beam issues forth from his Third Eye, it pops like a firecracker a few times en route to its target, and then *KABOOM*
- Mysterious Mercenary Pursuer: Aside from his powers, we never learn much about him. Not even his real name, as mentioned below.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast/No Name Given
- Power Incontinence: At first. It's the reason he has a fake arm and leg.
- Professional Killer: See his quote. Good enough to go after the avatar.
- Red Right Hand: His tattoo.
- Scarily Competent Tracker: Even moreso than Zuko, and without some tracking method like June's shirshu (the interceptor buzzard was helpful though), which really is saying something.
- Tattooed Crook: He fires his beams from an eye tattoo on his forehead.
- Third Eye: Though it's only a tattoo, it allows him to fire his beams.
- Villain Ball/Irrevocable Order: Continues trying to kill Aang even when Zuko calls the hit off and offers him double to stop. Word of God is that he realized that Ozai could pay him more than Zuko could hope to.
- The Voiceless: Nothing aside some grunts when he's mad.
Fire Lord Sozin
"I've been thinking. We should share this prosperity with the rest of the world. In our hands is the most successful empire in history. It's time we expanded it."
Sozin is the man responsible for the destruction of the Air Nomads, father to Azulon, grandfather to Iroh and Ozai and great-grandfather to Zuko, Azula and Lu Ten (Iroh's son). As Fire Lord during Roku's era, Sozin plotted to take over the world as a way of sharing the Fire Nation's prosperity with everyone. Knowing that the Avatar would oppose his plans, he used the power of a passing comet to launch a devastating first strike on the Air Nomads, wiping them out (except Aang, who he missed) and leaving him free to wage a one hundred year war. Although he is now long dead, his comet will return to allow Ozai to do the same for the rest of the world. Also once close friends with Avatar Roku, ever since they were children. However, the two became distant due to Roku's duties as the Avatar and Sozin's plans for conquest, and Sozin betrayed him as soon as he had the chance.
- Ambition Is Evil: Especially when it leads you to leave your former best friend to die.
- Bait the Dog: Right before he begins his plans for conquest, he's personally helping to save his citizens from an erupting volcano.
- Be All My Sins Remembered: Thinks this near the end.
- Beard of Evil: Much like Azulon and Ozai.
- Bigger Bad: The root of the series' conflict.
- Cain and Abel: The Cain to Roku's Abel in the former friends variety.
- Creepy Monotone: Courtesy of Ron Perlman.
- Death by Irony: He started off as a nationalist that wanted to "share Fire Nation prosperity" with the world. By the end of his life, not only did he regret ever acting upon his ambitions, but he realized all too late that he couldn't do a damn thing to change it. It's a healthy dose of irony, karma and a rather tragic finish to what could've been a great leader (morally speaking).
- Dragon Rider: Though according to Zuko, he's the one who started the tradition of hunting them for sport; by the time of the series, they are all extinct or so Zuko thinks, which seems ungrateful of him.
- Et Tu, Brute?: The way he betrays Roku by leaving said former friend to die on the volcano of the latter's island.
- Evil Former Friend: Towards Roku. He betrays his friend by leaving him to die on the volcano when he had the chance.
- Evil Plan: To Take Over the World. He didn't think it was evil at first and his descendents all continue carrying out this plan. Ozai almost succeeded.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Comes with being voiced by Ron Perlman.
- Face-Heel Turn: The defining trope of his character arc.
- Heel Face Doorslam: He realizes towards the end of his life that starting a world war and killing his best friend wasn't worth it, but dies too soon afterward to make use of it.
- The Napoleon: He was rather short, compared with his old friend Roku.
- Karma Houdini: Subverted, rather surprisingly. He doesn't physically suffer for his actions, but he ultimately comes to realize that he crossed the Moral Event Horizon, betrayed his best friend and wasted his life on a wild goose chase to find the next Avatar. At the end of his life, Sozin dies a rather somber man, unable to enjoy his success or attempt to undo the damage he's done. The world let Sozin off, but his conscience didn't.
- Posthumous Character: We learned of his backstory through a flashback-like episode, particularly by word-of-mouth from Roku and Zuko's history scrolls. Azula pitched in on the basics of Sozin's impact on the world at the beginning, too.
Fire Lord Azulon
Voiced by: Walker Edmiston
"You dare suggest I betray Iroh? My first born? Directly after the demise of his only beloved son? I think Iroh has suffered enough. But you, your punishment has scarcely begun!"
Azulon was the Fire Lord before Ozai, son of Sozin, father to Iroh and Ozai and grandfather to Zuko, Azula and Lu Ten (Iroh's son). Famed for his military prowess and skill at firebending, he ruled the Fire Nation with an iron grip. He was a man with little warmth in him, sentencing men to death with a stunning callousness. Ozai seemed to have had as strained a relationship with him as he did with his own son, always seeking to earn his favour but always being met with scorn. After Ozai tried his patience one time too many, making an inappropriate bid for the throne, Azulon ordered Zuko's death, to teach his son a lesson in humility. He died shortly after giving that order, making way for Ozai to succeed him as Fire Lord.
- Abusive Dad: Heavily implied that he was like that with Ozai, and towards Zuko as well.
- Asshole Victim: All signs point to Azulon not being a very nice person. Word of God and background material show him as ruling the Fire Nation with an iron fist and carrying out the war against the other nations with brutality only matched by Ozai. Of particular note is the genocide carried out against the Southern Water Tribe's Waterbenders and the raids carried out against said tribes. (These raids eventually resulted in the death of Katara's mother.) Not to mention the fact that he was willing to have his innocent grandson killed just to prove a point to Ozai. Other than possibly Iroh, it's unlikely anyone really missed him when Ozai and Ursa killed him.
- Beard of Evil: Much like his son.
- The Coroner Doth Protest Too Much: Blows up at Ozai over a proposal to disown Iroh one night, and dies of old age after naming Ozai his heir by the next morning? How... convenient.
- Death by Irony: "The Search" revealed that Azulon's death was caused by an untraceable poison, made from the flowers he was admiring in Ursa's family greenhouse.
- Even Evil Has Standards: As his quote illustrates, he didn't appreciate Ozai's attempt to use Lu Ten's death to usurp the birthright from Iroh. Deconstructed in that he ordered his own grandson to be killed.
- Evilutionary Biologist: According to "The Search", he set up the Arranged Marriage between Ursa and Ozai as a eugenics experiment to breed a powerful firebender with blood of Avatar Roku and the Fire Nation Royal Family. Azula is the most successful product of the experiment.
- Papa Wolf: Despite his evil heritage and seeking his grandson's death, Azulon was quite offended for Iroh after Ozai asked for the throne.
- Posthumous Character: He's long dead by the time the series starts.
Lo and Li
Voiced by: Takayao Fischer
"Azula, we are concerned for you and your well-being!"
Lo and Li are a pair of elderly twins, who serve the Fire Nation Royal Family as Azula's advisors and Firebending mentors, despite not being Firebenders themselves. Every scene of theirs is with Azula.
- Badass Normal: While Lo and Li are never actually seen fighting, it's clear that when you consider the attitude of the Fire Nation royals, being an advisor must mean you're pretty good at what you do. Word of God also states that they were driving the machine in "The Chase", meaning they have some proficiency with machines.
- Creepy Twins: At first. In their last few appearances, they seem to become comic relief.
- Even Evil Has Standards: When Azula started going crazy, they did their best to stop Azula from going overboard.
- Evil Old Folks: Or at least devout patriots to an evil society.
- Older and Wiser: They are advisors, after all.
- Recurring Element: At first, they seem to be Azula's answer to Zuko being with Iroh, but that doesn't come to pass.
- Single-Minded Twins: They're constantly finishing each other's sentences or speaking in unison, and their physical actions often mirror each other.
- Theme Twin Naming: Their names are the exact same, bar a single letter. It's also a Punny Name in that it plays off a Chinese phrase that means "to mutter endlessly."
- We Were Quite The Lookers: In "The Beach", it's revealed that when they were young, they were quite beautiful. They're also the trope's image.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: We never do find out what happens to them after one of them is to be banished. It could be assumed that they left together instead of just one, given Azula's insanity at the time. Or, they could've just stayed while they were confused.