Azula is not hallucinating, but she's actually speaking to Ursa's spiritWe've seen Aang talk to Roku's spirit reflected in the water before. It's a well known supernatural phenomena at work, seeing spirits in mirrors, and the Search does deal with the spiritual side of the Avatarverse. Azula is seeing her mother's spirit in mirrors and the water. Part of Azula's insanity is because she can't understand it.
Ursa belonged to the Ember Island PlayersRemember how Zuko used to say they butchered "Love Amongst Dragons" and Ursa had them watch it every year?
Azula will die or go permanently insane or suffer a Fate Worse Than Death by being sucked into the spirit world for good
Zuko isn't Ikem's child. Azula is
Ursa was already pregnant when she married Ozai.Zuko is still Ikem's kid, but he was born quickly enough after the wedding that Ursa could pass him off as Ozai's. Only Ursa would know any better... provided she didn't write any incriminating letters that could fall into the wrong hands— oops.
Ursa has gone slightly crazy.In her despair, Ursa has become slightly unhinged. She's lying to herself via the letters, convincing herself that Zuko isn't the son of the man who forced her into wedlock and bullied her into bed. This inclination for mental instability is something she shares with Azula.
The wolf spirit
Zuko's name comes from a character the play "Love Amongst the Dragons". The letter is actually forged from the lines of the play's scriptAlright, this needs to probably examine the background of how Zuko got his name. Several aspects of Zuko's character including the Blue Spirit disguise actually comes from the play, so let's stretch things a little further... The controversial letter at the end of Part 1 when observed closely sounds rather like a piece from a script, because it is derived from the script of Love Amongst the Dragons. There must be a scene in the play where lead pair get married and have a son, a dragon named Zuko and at some point in the script, Ursa's character (the dragon princess) either speaks out, or writes the lines in a letter, about their son Zuko to the dragon emperor (Ikem's character). This is probably why Ursa named her son Zuko. If Azula was named after Azulon, Zuko must be named after someone. Ozai and Azula have forged a letter based on the script replacing the names of the dragons with those of Ikem and Ursa and are planning to wreck Zuko's mental balance yet again.
Azula is a mutant. Gene Yang has been reading X-Men.The result of Genetic Engineering Gone Horribly Wrong. Her blue flame and extraordinary power and prodigial intellect is the plus. But on the downside she is incapable of empathy and becomes increasingly unstable mentally over time. It seems to be more genetic than we assumed as she seems to have given Zuko nightmares and horrors even before the guy's old enough for kindergarten! Must have been inspired by the Scarlet Witch. Or worse
Azula is now the JokerOf the Avatar Verse. Because all that was missing till now was the insanity part.
Ozai substituted Ursa's letter with his own doctored oneOzai having seen the original letter that Ursa has written to Ikem, decides to play some of his usual dirty work. He substitutes Ursa's letter with the fabricated one, and plans to use it in the future to establish Azula as the next Firelord. Of course, along the way he's defeated by the Avatar, but since then he's anticipated Zuko would search for Ursa and use Azula to get information out of him right from the beginning and he's waited for the right time to play his trump card. To make sure Azula plays her part right (since she's losing her mind often), he's not told her the truth about the letter so that she'll believe it's real. Or maybe he has and she's still as crafty as ever. Bonus points that she's set the letter in her boot overhearing Zuko and Sokka's conversation and knowing too well that Zuko cannot resist.
Azula needed Ursa's letter to forge the one Zuko readsFor the handwriting. She actually burnt the envelope and hid the letter before Zuko could spot it.
Zuko is not Ikem's sonBecause it's rated for 7 years and up and you don't show pre-marital sex for that rating. Oh and Zuko resembles Ozai right down to the eyes. But more importantly, if Ursa and Ikem had met any time, they would have realized that Ursa's letters never reached her hometown because Ozai intercepted them all. Clearly Ursa has no clue so she's never seen Ikem since the arrangement.
Corollary to the above WMG: When Ursa said that Zuko was Ikem's son, she meant from an emotionality standpoint, not a biological one.When Ozai's abuse became too much for her, she made a secret plan with Ikem to run away with him. Ursa was chosen to prove a strong heir to the Fire Nation, she'd already done that so she hoped it was enough for them to leave her in peace. She also knew if she took both of her children, than the entire Firenation army would be looking for them. Since Ozai adored Azula and hated Zuko so the choice was obvious. So when Ursa was telling Ikem that Zuko was his son, she was really saying that she was going to take him with her so they could all live as one big happy family.
The letter Azula burnt was the original letter sent by Ursa in the flashback. It's a Chekhov's GunAnd sometime later in the story, it's remains are going to come back.
The Blue Wolf has met Ursa at some point
Azula or Zuko is going to die and Ursa will sacrifice her life or existence to bring them back to lifeOnce every season, someone dies. God would that scene make for an epic Tear Jerker or what? What would be Azula's reaction? And the fandom's reaction... Also in the Promise they had a tendency to recycle certain old plot points so maybe they might...
Sokka will get to beat Azula with nothing but his boomerangSokka's boomerang jokes are a Running Gag at the moment, but it might actually have more serious implications. I contemplate a point where Azula goes out of control and the rest of the gang can't keep her in check. and then the boomerang is going to do a Whack-a-Pow.
The Sukka ship is heading for rough waters with Zuki/Suzuki in the Bermuda triangle, which means we will see more comics.For this to happen sufficient space is mandatory and so it is necessary to guess that there will be quite a few more ATLA comics coming out in the future. A Zuki (or shall we call it Suzuki?) ship seems to be in the dockyard as Suki is showing signs that she might be thinking of Zuko as more than just a friend, and it's sooner or later going to crash into Sukka. Suki breaking up the Maiko ship doesn't seem accidental.
Ozai and Ikem are the same personOH NO!
Azula actually does not know what is in the letters apart from what Ozai told her. Ursa will at some point appear to tell the truthShe only had enough time to open the trunk and burn them before Zuko and only believes whatever Ozai told her. So the only one who really knows the truth now is...
The two people in the dark are Ozai and AzulaAnd if it's not that it's a dark scene from Love Amongst Dragons
The lyrics of the play that Ursa and Ikem were rehearsing will go in the Fridge Brilliance page as a form of ForeshadowingBecause now we know just how Bumi's a mad genius. The play's lyrics are hinting to some similar event that actually happens in the comic, which will later go in the Fridge Brilliance page when it comes out.
The play "Love Amongst Dragons" is actually a Bowlderized adaptation of a real piece of spirit & earth historybecause the antagonist of the story is ... The Dark Water Spirit. Tropers, I forward you to Korra. Season 2.
Ursa really did write that letter, but...As a test.
She suspected that none of her letters were getting through, so wrote down the most shocking thing she could think of in order to get Ozai to admit it.
Should Ursa be found, she will reveal that it was not because of her love for Zuko that she killed AzulonInstead she will reveal that she killed Azulon to save Azula's life, and it will be revealed after Azula had all but killed her in her mad rage.
Zuko's Blue Spirit mask was the alleged water spirit from the excerpt Ikem was reading for "Love Amongst the Dragons".
Ursa died a long time ago.Because the way Azula blames all her problems on Ursa, I can't see this going any other way than for her to find out that the so-called diabolical mastermind was dead and buried long before she could have possibly started acting against her. Whether this shocks her out of her delusions is another thing altogether...
Ursa has three children.When she wrote "our son", she was referring to Zuko and Azula's older half-brother, whom she hid and snuck out of the palace. Ozai didn't know about it until she was pregnant with Zuko, so he began to suspect that Zuko wasn't his son. After than, he placed even more restrictions on Ursa so he'd be sure that Azula was his daughter.
Ursa wasn't banished for killing Azulon but because of that letter. Ozai engineered the whole series of circumstances to ensure she had no other choiceThe real reason for banishing her was because she had begun to exercise a huge influence on Ozai, who saw her as a threat to his plans — perhaps it was because Ursa realized that at some point he was intercepting her letters. So she takes drastic measures. The letter Ursa wrote was not really true, but it was meant to blackmail Ozai threatening him with the possibility of a scandal. However Ozai, Magnificent Bastard that he is, waits patiently for the right time and eventually break free of her control. This is possibly how he does it... Iroh's bereavement gives him an excellent chance to infuriate his father into ordering Zuko's death. Later he confronts Ursa and reveals he plans to go ahead with Azulon's order to kill Zuko. He accuses her of blackmail and threatens her with Zuko's death for her attempts at creating a scandal. Or she could let Zuko live but face exile. Alternatively, he may threaten to kill her instead. However, both know that Azulon will ensure that Zuko dies either way. So Ursa is forced to come up with her plan — by enabling Ozai to become the fire Lord, her sentence may be reduced to banishment so she goes ahead and kills Azulon. The plot was a set up by Ozai so that he could become Firelord and finally be rid of her influence.
Azulon wanted Zuko killed because he saw Zuko as an experimental failureIt makes sense now since it came just after the , he needed a reason to weed out what he thought was the bad crop. Claiming to punish Ozai for arrogance was just an excuse. His real motive was to ensure that his bloodline continued only through Azula.
Ozai actually killed Azulon and banished Ursa in the name of treachery. But the real reason she was banished was due to the letterThe plan was Ursa's, but it's Ozai who kills his father. He becomes Firelord and has Ursa take the blame for it (or perhaps she volunteers). One possible way this can happen is that after killing Azulon, he confronts her with the truth of the letter and threatens to make a scandal out of it. Ursa is left with no choice but to choose exile and she is blamed for Azulon's death.
Azulon was poisoned to deathHe could never be beaten in a fight, so it was the only other way.
Ozai and Ursa ran into severe issues because of their conflicting ancestryShe was the granddaughter of Roku after all so there must have been a lot of conflict and tension in the relationship. For all we know, if it weren't for Ursa, Ozai might have gone ahead with his schemes a lot sooner. Perhaps that's why she was really banished.
Azula has some of Vegeta's DNAProbably proof that Saiyans visited the Avatar Earth and somehow became part of Azulon's plan to produce Super powerful Firebenders. Or more reasonably, the creators have been watching DBZ. Look at her, insanity issues aside, she's just like Vegeta in every way, even to the point of talking things like, "For a True Firebender..."
Ursa became a spirit to reunite with Ikem or to act as a Spirit Mentor to Zuko & AzulaShe had planned to go back to Ikem, but from the time he met the blue wolf, Ikem is either dead or has somehow found a way to enter the spirit world. A heartbroken Ursa does something to become a spirit herself so she can find her old lover.
The lives of Ursa, Ikem & Zuko will mirror the roles of the characters in "Love of Dragons"
Ursa was planning on divorcing Ozai at some point, taking Zuko with her and reuniting with Ikem. If not that, she at least intended to elope with Ikem taking Zuko along, making for quite a scandalAssuming the letter is true, that's why she uses the words "our son" to refer to Zuko. Ursa was clearly unhappy in her marriage and wanted to get out somehow. In the time setting of the Avatar Verse, a divorce — especially in the Royal family — would have caused quite a controversy. But the Crown prince's wife eloping with a former lover taking her son with her would have been an even greater scandal.
The forest or Forgetful Valley is a part of the Spirit World or from another planetIt came along with a Spirit who came from the Spirit World to the physical. That symbol with 3 circles probably suggests. Knowing what went into Voyager 1, perhaps it's a sign to indicate that the forest is of alien origin.
Azulon arranged Lu Ten's death and also Zuko's death in order for Ozai and Ursa 'perfectly bred' child to be the heirIroh is the elder son or Azulon, he was next in line to be Fire Lord and then his son Lu Ten would be next. Iroh was a fierce and loyal soilder but I doubt he would have ever forced a young girl into marriage simply to produce a strong heir. Azulon wanted the Royal Family and Roku's genes to cross and Ozai was willing to do anything to claim the throne. After Azulon's demonstration, Azulon would have seen Azula as the success of his genetic experiment and would have therefore decided to dispose of Luten and then Zuko to weed out what he saw as experimental failures and ensure that the Fire Lord's line would continue through her alone. Azulon was the only person who could have arranged for Luten's death in a way that no one would find out. Had Ozai had done it Iroh would have found out from someone who was loyal to him after all he was the crown prince and only way this could of happened is if the orders were from above Iroh. That whole scene where Azulon was angry at Ozai for trying to claim the throne after Lu Ten was killed was just an act made to excuse the potential killing of Zuko as retribution for Ozai arrogance. In reality Zuko was also due to have been killed just like Luten because his skills were not at Azula's level and his lineage was not certain. Which would also mean that Ursa really did kill Azulon to save Zuko's life. Ozai wouldn't have cared because his father death just meant that he was the Fire Lord that much sooner and he would either banish or kill Zuko later ensuring Azula as the next Fire Lord.
The dialogue between Ozai and Azulon with Azulon ordering him to kill Zuko was all staged to remove Zuko and Ursa from the pictureAzulon had determined that Azula the prodigy was the true heir he had been seeking and the successful product of the genetic experiment, he and Ozai decided that Zuko had to be disposed off and that Ursa had served her purpose. It may be possible that as Roku's granddaughter, Ursa would have been horrified at Azulon's plans and would have acted as a restraining influence on Ozai. In any case she was no longer useful. So they stage the whole scene of Ozai's disobedience knowing that Azula is watching them behind the curtains (perhaps Ozai told her to do so) and ensure she gets to know of Zuko's impending extermination. As expected she tells Ursa who in turn probably manages to tempt Ozai with the promise of becoming Fire Lord himself. Perhaps she blackmails him with the idea that Zuko might not be Ozai's son and threatens to create a scandal if Zuko was killed. In the end she manages to find a way to kill Azulon and she is banished.
The Zuko that we know is Ursa's Replacement Goldfish for the Zuko referred to in the letter.
Proof That The Letter Is FakeThe Letter was written as if by a woman who made a mistake and regrets it and wishes she had made a different choice. We know that Ursa was lying when she told Ikem that marrying the prince was what she really wanted (to stop him from getting himself arrested or killed), but Ozai doesn't. Ursa never really wanted to marry Ozai and never had a choice in the matter — quite different from the persona of the supposed letter-writer. Ozai, however, assumed that what she said in the street that day was true and wrote the fake letter with a woman who freely chose to marry him but later decided she'd made the wrong choice in mind.
Zuko is Ozai's son, and Ikem and Ursa have no children together.It's all based in a confusing bit of grammar. "My one consolation is our son Zuko." 'Our' could still mean 'mine and Ozai's'.
Ursa wrote the letter, but...It was multiple pages long; Azula burnt the first page that would have clarified that Zuko wasn't Ikem's son in order to falsely accuse Ursa of something she likely didn't do. She was likely sending Ikem a letter talking about how sweet Zuko was and how Zuko's personality was similar in some ways to his. The other pages, if there were any, were probably lost.
Noren and Noriko are Ikem and Ursa with new faces and no memory of their old lives.The anti-Koh spirit gives people new faces, and lives in the Valley of Forgetfulness. Meaning the price for a new face is that you lose your memories associated with your old face. Ikem embraced a new face because he wanted to forget the loss of his one true love. Ursa embraced a new face because she's lost everyone she loved in her life, and had a murderous ex-husband who might decide to have her hunted down on a lark. Being an accomplice to regicide probably didn't help. Ursa's new face is why she didn't recognize Azula or Zuko. Ikem became Noren. Ursa became Noriko, who came to the village after Ursa supposedly returned for a brief time. She and Ikem/Noren paired up in their new personas because True Love Shines Through, and they carried the seed of that love like the amnesiac spirits did in Love Amongst the Dragons.
Rafa lost his face to Koh the Face Stealer.Rafa has a particular kind of deformity that cannot be healed. He cannot eat, talk or see and wears a mask. Why? Because his face is not just mutilated, his face is actually gone! He probably tried to steal something from the sacred sanctuary, broke some sacred rules in the process and was punished by Koh not unlike Avatar Kuruk. So the solution is to find the mother of all faces. Misu must have found it while reading about Koh.
The mother of faces is related to Koh.
The Mother of Faces inspired Time Lord Regeneration.At some point, the Time Lords studied the Mother of Faces’ method of giving people new faces and realized they could use it to prolong their lives. They developed a similar technique that could heal themselves from otherwise fatal injuries, with the face changing as an unavoidable side effect. Whether the Mother of Faces approved of this or not is anyone’s Wild Mass Guess, but it’s safe to say that they have met at some point.
Ursa and Ikem as well as Misu and Rafa will be restored to their normal form by the end of the Search.Because their stories are analogous to and somehow mirror the lives of the characters in "Love of Dragons" in their own ways.
Azula just fatally injured or killed someone at the end of Part 2.She shoots lightning at the siblings and Zuko jumps in the middle, but it looks like he was too late. Or did it hit him?
Azula's lightning disfigures Misu's face as well.And Aang has to appeal for both of them now.
Zuko's scar will be gone by the end of the Search.Perhaps Zuko gets his face healed by the Mother of all faces?
The letter was actually a Batman Gambit on Ursa's part.She was suspicious that her letters were being intercepted, so she decided to write something that would force Ozai to act to confirm her suspicions. She may have also hoped that it would get Ozai to summarily banish her and her children (death penalty just doesn't seem to be a thing in the high echelons of the Fire Nation — taboo against kinslaying, perhaps?), thus granting them freedom. She may have also already been ready with her "tasteless, odorless poison" in case her husband would react violently. Somehow she was already aware that Ikem was out of Ozai's reach, ofcourse; maybe his departure to the Forgetful Valley happened right before the royal wedding?
Azula is in danger and probably heading for big trouble with the spirits ignoring all of Ursa's warnings.Ursa is trying to warn her to stay away as her insanity is going to create big trouble with the spirits. The warnings are becoming increasingly more severe and now Ursa is actually imploring Azula to turn back as she is going the wrong way. That means Azula is unknowingly putting herself in a very dangerous position. Exactly what will she do next is difficult to say, but her insanity fits are increasing in direct proportion to how close she thinks she is to finding her mother. And this leads to the next WMG....
Ursa is going to sacrifice herself to save Azula's life near the end.Azula goes beyond control and in the process the forest takes out it's wrath on her, probably resulting in her being killed or seriously injured or a Fate Worse Than Death. Ursa will then make another sacrifice to save Azula's life (and probably restore her sanity).
Azula will lose her bending.When she starts desecrating the spiritual landscape in her out of control madness. She may even go permanently insane at the idea
Azula will undergo a complete change in personality near the end.Ursa has been telling her that a much more beautiful destiny lies ahead of her if she truly becomes who she's supposed to be. So maybe the valley will force her to forget her past and turn out a new leaf...well that's overly idealistic, but still...
Azula will be forced to lose her memories.It's happening in forgetful valley and it suggests that people with tortured pasts go there to forget — and probably implies literally wiping away past memories and the trauma they bring. At the very least, all her conspiracy ideas borne out of insanity have to go if she is ever going to regain her sanity. Azula's again showing cracks in her armour. At the bottom of her cold exterior, Azula is vulnerable, unsure, and an emotional wreck and to top things up she is unwilling to embrace who she really is supposed to be. So on the other end of the scale, probably only way to restore Azula to what Ursa means when she says "take of your mask" would be a complete memory re-write.
Azula will be restored to sanity only when she throws her false mask away.Ursa seems to have diagnosed Azula's problem quite well — she's an emotional wreck at heart because of her mask of fear and intimidation and her idea that she is the One True Heir to the throne. It is the root cause of her insanity fits and conspiracy theories. At some point in Part 3 she's going to be forced to face the fact or else go mad for good.
Part 3 will see the birth of The Dark SpiritThis is based on several previous WMG's, namely: (1) the visions of Ursa are actually the memories/personality of Ursa that she shed to become Noriko and (2) that Azula herself will shed her memories by the end. This WMG is that whatever Azula leaves behind will become the Dark Spirit, the villain of Korra Book 2, who we already know shares Azula's voice actress.
The mother of faces is not benevolent and will run into a confrontation with the GaangAgain the symbolism in the Love of Dragons play, the Water spirit has supposedly cast a spell on the hero and forced him to forget who he is in the body of a mortal and after the hero somehow regains his old glory, he recognizes the trickery of the Water spirit, defeats him and is reunited with his love. Similarly the mother of faces is actually an antoganist — she gives faces at the cost of erasing people's past memories and forcing them to forget who they really are, putting them under her spell. Probably she also forces them to break off all past contact with their previous friends and loved ones as a price just like what Ozai demanded from Ursa. This may be why Noren and Noriko are lying about Ursa's fate. Therefore, if the truth about what happened to Ursa and Ikem is revealed, it might require the Avatar and co. to confront the spirit and somehow force her to restore them back to their old selves.
Kyi is actually Zuko's sister or at least half sisterOn the assumption that the previous WMGs about Ikem and Ursa are true, then Kyi is at the very least Zuko's half sister. Hints in this regard are how Zuko takes a liking to the child and her dolls and how she gets so friendly with him that she tugs his arm at the end and wants to know if he'll come back. It's definitely full of those "older brother vibes".
Noren and Noriko are Ikem and Ursa, but they remember their past all too well and are bound by some condition not to reveal it to anyoneA twist on the other WMG that goes on the lines of them losing their memories. This one differs in that both of them have definitely not lost any of their memories, but their price of getting a new face and identity is to start a new life and break off all contact with their past (again). Hence Ursa cannot reveal herself to her children and Noren/Ikem cannot talk about his meeting with Ursa. But for her children's sake Ursa probably obtained some kind of spiritual arrangement to at least contact them in spirit.
Noren and Noriko are the reincarnations of Ikem and UrsaGetting a new face is probably not unlike reincarnating in many ways. That's probably why Ursa seems to appear as a spirit to both Zuko (in the promise) and Azula (in reflections). That's another way of saying that they are in fact dead, and the spirit of Ursa that we are seeing is the identity and memories and intelligence from her past incarnation, but in reality the souls of Ursa and Ikem have now taken up new bodies altogether and are now different people. Ursa appears in the form of her past self whenever she wants to act as a Spirit Advisor to her children.
Azulon actually wanted Ozai to kill Azula as his punishmentOzai's punishment has "just begun" which meant Azulon was probably referring to Ozai suffering in the long term. The truth is that there is an error in Azula's statement that Azulon wanted Ozai to know what it's like to lose one's first born — Iroh has only one son. Ozai would not suffer much to get rid of Zuko as by that point he didn't even believe Zuko was truly his son anyway. But he would suffer heavily were he asked to kill Azula — the success of the Tyke Bomb experimentand the future of his race. That's the point where he hatches the plan to kill his father, take the throne and get rid of Ursa '''all''' in one sweep.
Azula is right. However, Ursa is taking orders from Avatar Roku to prevent another Fire Nation Face-Heel TurnThis came after thinking about Zuko's dream from the Promise. It's clear that there are several forces at work with their own plans to steer the fate of the Fire Nation in their respective directions. In Ursa's case, when she finds out that her parents are dead and she is now all alone, she finds a way to contact her grandfather Avatar Roku for advice. In all the circumstances that follow, Avatar Roku is the Man Behind the Man and is secretly trying to ensure that Azula does not get the throne. Feeling responsible for failing to stop Sozin, Roku, now as a spirit, advises his granddaughter Ursa into plotting to ensure that the Fire Nation does not fall into the hands of a dangerous lunatic like Azula while trying to get her to throw off her "mask" (which would be Ursa's own personal concern). This is in direct opposition to the Ozai-Azula duo's plan of trying to make Zuko's lineage null and void by declaring him an illegitimate son of Ursa. Ursa and Roku are thinking about the future of the fire nation that has just been liberated from Ozai and do not want it to fall back into Azula's hands. Hence Ursa is trying to stop her from taking the throne. Azula is right, Ursa is ruining her plans of become Fire Lord. That would also explain how Zuko saw Ursa's spirit behind Roku's in his dream and how Roku is aware that she is her granddaughter.
Azula is cursed to die or go permanently insane if she becomes Fire LordBecause there's a curse on the throne!
Or maybe it's because Azula was born insane and it's only a matter of time before she cracks. And in the process does something that could lead to the destruction of her nation.
Noren and Noriko are actually not Ikem and Ursa, but are hiding her whereabouts out of fear.They were interrogated by Vachir when he came to the village looking for Ikem and that's how he found out about Forgetful Valley — maybe he tortured them or burned their house down in the process. Later on they hid Ursa in their house for a while and maybe they somehow got her reunited with Ikem. Hence Noren is very suspicious of anyone who comes inquiring about know about Ikem or Ursa probably thinking that the fire nation still wants to hunt them down. Azula's attitude is definitely helping his fears.
Ursa does not want to be foundPerhaps she is really dead and the Search will be futile, perhaps the Search will prove to be too dangerous for her children, especially Azula. Hence she is trying to dissuade Azula on what she calls a futile quest. Or finding the truth of her will entail a Deal with the Devil or some other terrible price to pay. Or perhaps as an earlier WMG says, she and Ikem have become Noriko and Noren and they don't want to be disturbed in their new life, so Ursa prefers to contact Azula in spirit.
Azula is suffering from severe guilt over what happened to her mother and is masking it by self brainwashing herself trying to justify that her mother is conspiring against her. That is her mask that Ursa wants her to remove.Guilt over a dark and dirty secret — it was she who was responsible for her mother's banishment. It was she who probably suggested to Ozai that her mother was a skilled herbologist. From her statement in Sozin's comet, it appears that she has been seeing Ursa's spirit for a long time before the finale. It's more or less confirmed by now that she gleefully co-conspired with Ozai to kill Azulon and get Ursa out. Perhaps she intended only to kill Azulon but didn't think of losing her mother in the process. Whatever the exact details are, the guilt is hanging over her her and is fundamentally responsible for her insanity. To keep herself sane, she needs to hide that guilt. So she tries to drive away her mother's spirit because it is too painful for her conscience when Ursa claims to love and care for her in spite of how she had ruined her life. Due to insanity and pride however her reaction is one of anger against her mother but it is actually a mountain of guilt. Azula is trying to silence her guilty conscience by convincing herself that her mother is trying to conspire against her and that in turn justifies her actions — and it allows her to express her anger against herself on her mother instead. Eventually she turned into a Conspiracy Theorist by lying to herself the whole time suppressing her conscience to the point of brainwashing herself in a futile attempt to stay sane. And now she believes her own Conspiracy Theories so much that whenever she sees her mother's spirit, she gets wild with rage. This might actually be the "mask" that Ursa is repeatedly talking about. Secondary WMG: Her visions of Ursa might actually be her own repressed conscience. Or Ursa herself is trying to act as her moral conscience as she has become too confused and misguided.
Ozai was only born to be part of Azulon's Eugenic Project of Sozin/Roku, and nothing moreBased on his relationship with his father and his status, it seems odd that Ozai would be 20 years younger than Iroh and that Azulon wouldn't give Ozai the throne, even when Iroh's bloodline has died out and that he had Ozai marry Ursa for his eugenic project. And why hasn't Azulon bother have first and most favorite son, Iroh, marry Ursa instead of his unfavorite and second son? Well, perhaps the Fire Sages gave Azulon the prophecy too late, as Iroh was already married. Not wanting to strain his relationship with his favorite heir, Azulon conceived another son for the prophecy, and ensured that the new son, Ozai, will be prepare for his role as the producer of uber firebending children. As result, Ozai was pampered and spoiled within the palace walls, never exposed to the outside world nor the war frontline that his elder brother was facing, yet at the same time, never given much love and affection from Azulon as he had for Iroh, only seen as a failsafe key to fulfill the prophecy. When Ursa gave birth to Zuko, Ozai felt enraged because his role is to sire powerful children for Azulon, and Zuko's lack of fire bending spirit embarrassed such role of his. And since Ursa is the descendant of the Avatar, arguably the best bender in the world, Zuko's lack fire bending would likely to point to Ozai's blood, which would make Ozai a failure in Azulon's eyes. Paired up with the best blood and couldn't even produce a good fire bender. Thankfully, he was convinced otherwise, and Zuko did show fire bending skills, only to read the letter about Zuko's heritage a few years later...
Ursa's fate will unhinge Azula for goodShe will in the end realize that there was no way for her mother to have plotted against her or spoken to her in any manner at all, but unfortunately for her, this belief is the only focal point that has been keeping her mind steady, that too only by rage. Now with all clarity gone, she'll collapse into total insanity. Azula simply cannot accept or face the truth within her conscience.
Zuko is Ozai's son but the letter caused Ozai to cross yet another Moral Event Horizon and take his wrath on Ursa by disowning Zuko instead. The Unfortunate Implications of letter resulted in Zuko being condemned to a life of miseryThere are two possible ways of doing this. One is that after reading that letter Ozai began to consider that Zuko was no longer his son and therefore began to treat him like a low class child. The other is that Ozai is Dangerously Genre Savvy and is fully aware that it's impossible that Ursa could have met Ikem. He concludes (or realizes it after their argument in Vol.2) that she lied to him just to force him to confront her over her letters and decides that if she can be that Genre Savvy then she deserves some particularly painful treatment. For her disobedience and potentially scandalous words, he decides to punish her by taking all his wrath out on Zuko, treating him badly before her just so that he can give her more pain than any abuse he could inflict on her directly. He wanted to show her what he would have done to Zuko had her letter been indeed true and went ahead with it being the monster he was. Zuko's early difficulties with bending would have added fuel to whatever Ozai had in mind. Zuko thus became the center of his parent's feud. Either way, the letter paved the road for all of Zuko's suffering. Both possibilities would certainly explain Ozai's favoritism of Azula and his cruelty to Zuko, although the second possibility would be much more clever writing that plays with the reader's heads for a while but in the end avoids splitting the fanbase and does not doom the central theme of who Zuko is — it's clear in Vol.2 that Ozai is aware of just what lengths his wife will go to and that is one reason for his ill-treatment of her. In short the letter basically led Ozai to disown his son and cross a new Moral Event Horizon yet again, as he has done virtually every time he gets story space.