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*** 1) Shirong didn't recognize Zuko as the Blue Spirit by a poster, Shirong was told an anecdote about Zuko managing to sneak into Pohai Stronghold, then he found a wanted poster from the event that shows an image of the MASK that Zuko was wearing. This poster likely also includes the weapons that the 'Spirit' was wielding and that he aided the Avatar. What the poster does NOT mention is that the 'Spirit' is a firebender, as Zuko did not bend at any time in the course of the rescue. Nor does it mention that the Blue Spirit IS Zuko as that connection is not made in the show. To the best of my memory, the list of people, in universe, who know "Blue Spirit = Zuko" is as follows: Zuko, Aang, Iroh, Captain Jee, possibly gossipers on the Wani, and that's it. Other characters may have suspicions but no proof and NO ONE in Ba Sing Se has any reason to suspect this. (Sidenote: maybe it’s just me, but I got the impression that no one in the Fire Nation outside of the soldiers/sailors on the Wani knew Zuko had been training with the dao. At one point it’s mentioned that he couldn’t hide his training on the ship, but I definitely had the impression that it wasn’t general knowledge Prince Zuko the firebender trained with blades. There are multiple instances of characters being surprised by this knowledge mostly because fire was the superior element and to wield anything else was supposedly beneath a firebenders dignity or something.)
*** 2) With the ‘GPS mark’ in his face it’s mentioned, most likely by Shirong himself though I’m not hunting for the exact comment right now (while Zuko is treating the bear maybe?), that there are other people scarred by the war in Ba Sing Se, they are just usually smart enough to stick to the outer ring. Burn scars are not going to be uncommon among those scarred by the war. Yes Zuko’s scar is pretty distinctive but the wrong eye color in a world without a way to change that and, most importantly, the wrong element will go a long way in helping people brush it off as a coincidence. Look-a-likes happen, this particular refugee has the really bad luck of having a passing resemblance to the fire prince.
*** 3) As for Iroh, in universe, Iroh is deliberately using his inner fire to downplay his presence, which is revealed in a later chapter, and the two of them are deliberately using Zuko as the shiny ball of distraction so everyone, the Dai Li included, pay less attention to the goofy, kooky, harmless tea-obsessed old man desperately trying to keep his lightning-rod-for-trouble nephew alive.
**** The biggest thing though is that Everyone Knew they weren’t the typical refugees that ended up in Ba Sing Se. Everyone Knew they were using forged papers. Everyone KNEW their covers were just that. Iroh & Zuko knew darn well their identities were hidden by a house of cards and that those cards were made of flashpaper… they just had to keep enough plausible stories circulating that nobody put together the pieces of who they really were. It’s also worth noting that, in the timeline of the fic, these Clark Kent disguises last, what, a total of a couple weeks and during this time the Dai Li are distracted by "oh look, shiny new WATER-bending HEALER which is very valuable and most of the reason we like Amaya" & "WTH is that kamuiy that is picking off every other waterbender in the city and mocking us by leaving their remains on the shore of our super secret under-lake base?!?!". Also, that ‘leader that loathes the Fire nation’ invites Azula into the city in disguise, knowing its Azula, because he thinks he can use her because why wouldn’t he think he can outsmart a 14 yr old girl. There is a possibility Long Feng put together their identities and just hadn’t acted on that knowledge before they were forced out of the city.


*** In canon, with the exception of Kyoshi Island, the Fire Nation is the only nation we see with female soldiers. Addmittedly we've only seen Ozai's angels, but they have been directly refrenced amongst a gathering of soliders by Zhao in Po Hai StrongHold.

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*** In canon, with the exception of Kyoshi Island, the Fire Nation is the only nation we see with female soldiers. Addmittedly Admittedly we've only seen Ozai's angels, but they have been directly refrenced amongst a gathering of soliders soldiers by Zhao in Po Hai StrongHold.Stronghold.


*** There are plenty of stories that introduce a lost technique or technology or form of magic in the early chapters that are also [[ForWantOfANail single point of departure]] stories, with the discovery being the point change. Embers is more of an everything-you-thought-you-knew-about-AtLA-world-is-wrong story that initially masquerades as a Want-of-a-Nail story.

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*** There are plenty of stories that introduce a lost technique or technology or form of magic in the early chapters that are also [[ForWantOfANail single point of departure]] stories, with the discovery being the point change. Embers is more of an everything-you-thought-you-knew-about-AtLA-world-is-wrong everything-you-thought-you-knew-about-[=AtLA=]-world-is-wrong story that initially masquerades as a Want-of-a-Nail story.



** People seem to agree with you now, as of Chapter 48 in the reviews. Azula is being "Good" therefore she's not really a Dark Dragon. I'm flabergasted. Being a Dark Dragon doesn't mean you were born evil. Not for humans and definitely not for Dragons. Being a Dark Dragon means you don't feel kin ties like normal people/dragons. You don't feel guilt like normal. But do you not steal or kill people because you'll feel guilty? Or because it's the wrong thing to do?

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** People seem to agree with you now, as of Chapter 48 in the reviews. Azula is being "Good" therefore she's not really a Dark Dragon. I'm flabergasted.flabbergasted. Being a Dark Dragon doesn't mean you were born evil. Not for humans and definitely not for Dragons. Being a Dark Dragon means you don't feel kin ties like normal people/dragons. You don't feel guilt like normal. But do you not steal or kill people because you'll feel guilty? Or because it's the wrong thing to do?


** In Zuko center'ed fic this can erupt into worse than Ron the DeathEater. Aang stops being even half of what Zuko was to Aang as focus goes on making Zuko so awesome as he trumps over all those who'd make him look or feel bad. Without variation he beats in person, proxy, or challenge sister, Daddy Dearest, and so on and by doing so the Avatar, by becoming the narrative focus of this world guest starring some twelve year old by more or less being Mara "You're Doing it Wrong Farmboy" Jade to Aang's "Durr how do I deal with a kingpin smuggler and use the force, I'm so scared and in-confident without Obiwan now" Luke (and yes I have EU issues, does it show?)

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** In Zuko center'ed fic this can erupt into worse than Ron the DeathEater.RonTheDeathEater. Aang stops being even half of what Zuko was to Aang as focus goes on making Zuko so awesome as he trumps over all those who'd make him look or feel bad. Without variation he beats in person, proxy, or challenge sister, Daddy Dearest, and so on and by doing so the Avatar, by becoming the narrative focus of this world guest starring some twelve year old by more or less being Mara "You're Doing it Wrong Farmboy" Jade to Aang's "Durr how do I deal with a kingpin smuggler and use the force, I'm so scared and in-confident without Obiwan now" Luke (and yes I have EU issues, does it show?)


* People way too often expect the common shonen early antagonist twist or chubby-bunnifying so out of this anecdotal experience see it on the character when it explicitly isn't there. Zuko isn't honorable. He is trying to live up to his father's expectations and WANTS to accomplish them as he has integrated them with his own. It just bugs me this is the default and start because it really starts on a broken base for me. Zuko's hilarious amount of fail while wearing the tropes and demeanor of what looks like an honorable/noble/great person with the attendant doom that brings is why he succeeds whereas Kurama and Hiei and Sesshomaru and other monstrous sadists who are suddenly only coldly dispassionate noble and wise and honorable pros fails. Those are redeemed by retcon and lying and forgetting due to character polls and not character arcs (Sessh=One Shot Who Wouldn't Die). Zuko explicitly isn't them until around Southern Raiders and even then is still got issues (Fatherlord anyone, beating up a Fire Nation Officer to Make Katara Like Him, Koan Failure). Its why I'm apprehensive about the fanfiction and the author's interpretation. She like a lot of pre-CoD speculators just seems to have it wrong but are too invested to really pull out.

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* People way too often expect the common shonen early antagonist twist or chubby-bunnifying so out of this anecdotal experience see it on the character when it explicitly isn't there. Zuko isn't honorable. He is trying to live up to his father's expectations and WANTS to accomplish them as he has integrated them with his own. It just bugs me this is the default and start because it really starts on a broken base for me. Zuko's hilarious amount of fail while wearing the tropes and demeanor of what looks like an honorable/noble/great person with the attendant doom that brings is why he succeeds whereas Kurama and Hiei and Sesshomaru and other monstrous sadists who are suddenly only coldly dispassionate noble and wise and honorable pros fails. Those are redeemed by retcon and lying and forgetting due to character polls and not character arcs (Sessh=One Shot Who Wouldn't Die). Zuko explicitly isn't them until around Southern Raiders and even then is still got issues (Fatherlord anyone, beating up a Fire Nation Officer to Make Katara Like Him, Koan Failure). Its why I'm apprehensive about the fanfiction and the author's interpretation. She like a lot of pre-CoD pre-[=CoD=] speculators just seems to have it wrong but are too invested to really pull out.


*** I'm one of the younger children of a fairly large extended family with a twist- my father was adopted. Yet I know that even though my family isn't particularly close, or even related to me by blood on some parts- they're mine, and I'm theirs. And if I *needed* them, they'd be there. Even though most of them have only seen me a few times in my life, due to living elsewhere. My Granny J may not have been related to me, but she was family, and the woman who got me into reading. Similiarly, I take a great deal of amusement in the fact my brother and I take after our mother's side- to the point that in my job at the local shop, people who are strangers to me instantly realize who I am, based on said family resemblance. The idea that this would be abnormal in another place- even considered unnatural is so strange I can't even think about it. It's an intergral part of my life, being his sister, being their daughter- and I can't imagine not having this. Thus I can really sympathize with the GAang and Xiu's reaction to Aang explaining the Air nomads- that they should be happy to give up their children, and their claim on their family. I know a woman named Jean managed it- which is why I had Granny Joan. But I also know she mourned the decision every birthday, every christmas. It's our culture- a family belongs to each other, even if they don't belong together.

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*** I'm one of the younger children of a fairly large extended family with a twist- my father was adopted. Yet I know that even though my family isn't particularly close, or even related to me by blood on some parts- they're mine, and I'm theirs. And if I *needed* them, they'd be there. Even though most of them have only seen me a few times in my life, due to living elsewhere. My Granny J may not have been related to me, but she was family, and the woman who got me into reading. Similiarly, I take a great deal of amusement in the fact my brother and I take after our mother's side- to the point that in my job at the local shop, people who are strangers to me instantly realize who I am, based on said family resemblance. The idea that this would be abnormal in another place- even considered unnatural is so strange I can't even think about it. It's an intergral part of my life, being his sister, being their daughter- and I can't imagine not having this. Thus I can really sympathize with the GAang gAang and Xiu's reaction to Aang explaining the Air nomads- that they should be happy to give up their children, and their claim on their family. I know a woman named Jean managed it- which is why I had Granny Joan. But I also know she mourned the decision every birthday, every christmas. It's our culture- a family belongs to each other, even if they don't belong together.


*** Friend-based safety nets depend on them staying your friends. While it's POSSIBLE to be disowned, it usually takes a heck of a lot. (Side note, WoW friends sometimes aren't who you thought-- after two years of raiding with a guild, my husband and I figured out that they were emotionally abusing the beaten wife guild member; when confronted, they said she was "just a chick" so it didn't matter. Family is much more likely to share your basic morals, and world-view.... which ties right back into a major theme of the fic. ^.^ )

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*** Friend-based safety nets depend on them staying your friends. While it's POSSIBLE to be disowned, it usually takes a heck of a lot. (Side note, WoW [=WoW=] friends sometimes aren't who you thought-- after two years of raiding with a guild, my husband and I figured out that they were emotionally abusing the beaten wife guild member; when confronted, they said she was "just a chick" so it didn't matter. Family is much more likely to share your basic morals, and world-view.... which ties right back into a major theme of the fic. ^.^ )


*** 1) I bet some did break Loyalty - like Jong Jong - but all but a master firebender (or someone very lucky, unlikely even more so since the Spirits are apparently against it) would die from it, so we wouldn't see many, would we? They are brainwashed into loyalty, we see it in cannon. The moment they decide that 'this is wrong' it's not like they can do subtle resistance, they already fall ill, something people are probably trained to look out for. After that, they have to escape. That is one tough filter for perceptive and good people to survive.

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*** 1) I bet some did break Loyalty - like Jong Jong Jeong Jeong - but all but a master firebender (or someone very lucky, unlikely even more so since the Spirits are apparently against it) would die from it, so we wouldn't see many, would we? They are brainwashed into loyalty, we see it in cannon. The moment they decide that 'this is wrong' it's not like they can do subtle resistance, they already fall ill, something people are probably trained to look out for. After that, they have to escape. That is one tough filter for perceptive and good people to survive.


** Vathara's Fire Nation is the only one of the four nations with a formal legal code and sexual equality, and the root of the war is a horrific sneak attack[[spoiler: by the Avatar]]. Also, she {{Ret Con}}s the Fire Nation's KickTheDog moments to the acts of extremists (though Fire Lord Ozai is counted among them), and paints them as reasonable, fair conquerors. [[TheWarOnTerror Sound familiar?]]

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** Vathara's Fire Nation is the only one of the four nations with a formal legal code and sexual equality, and the root of the war is a horrific sneak attack[[spoiler: by attack [[spoiler:by the Avatar]]. Also, she {{Ret Con}}s the Fire Nation's KickTheDog moments to the acts of extremists (though Fire Lord Ozai is counted among them), and paints them as reasonable, fair conquerors. [[TheWarOnTerror Sound familiar?]]


*** Oh, I'm familiar with the rationale behind it, even if I find it somewhat unconvincing. It still gets on my nerves.
*** The canon show is for kids, and requires a certain Willing Suspension of Disbelief. Yes, in the show, Aang is open-minded and pacifistic and willing to listen, and Toph is pretty stubborn. However, if these people were real, they would not be like that. To put it bluntly, an Aang who grows up as an Air Monk will view other cultures through the lens of an Air Monk, and that would severely impair his abilities or willingness to truly understand other ways of life. In the show, the characters are basically reskinned normal modern-day kids with a modern education of values and customs, but on closer examination, that ''does not make sense'' in the Avatar world. The fic is trying to explore how these people ''would'' act and ''would'' be shaped by their culture and conditions of life if they were real, and then going along with that. In a nutshell: Yes, the canon does things differently, but that's because the canon (necessarily) simplified them. Vathara's fic, on the other hand, offers some (much-needed, for some people) depth.
*** Saying that the characters "wouldn't be like that if the avatar-verse were real" is ridiculous and frankly kind of insulting to the original writers. Aang doesn't have any trouble accepting other cultures in canon because the canon air nomads preached acceptance and open-mindedness. It was a deliberate part of their doctrine. Similarly, Toph grew up with a controlling family despite overcoming her natural disability, and this resulted in her stubbornness and independent streak. It's perfectly alright to tweak the world and then tweak the characters accordingly, but to claim that it's how the characters "would" act if they weren't "simplified" is ridiculous.

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*** Oh, I'm familiar with the rationale behind it, even if I find it somewhat unconvincing. It still gets on my nerves.
*** The canon show is for kids, and requires a certain Willing Suspension of Disbelief. Yes, in the show, Aang is open-minded and pacifistic and willing to listen, and Toph is pretty stubborn. However, if these people were real, they would not be like that. To put it bluntly, an Aang who grows up as an Air Monk will view other cultures through the lens of an Air Monk, and that would severely impair his abilities or willingness to truly understand other ways of life. In the show, the characters are basically reskinned normal modern-day kids with a modern education of values and customs, but on closer examination, that ''does not make sense'' in the Avatar world. The fic is trying to explore how these people ''would'' act and ''would'' be shaped by their culture and conditions of life if they were real, and then going along with that. In a nutshell: Yes, the canon does things differently, but that's because the canon (necessarily) simplified them. Vathara's fic, on the other hand, offers some (much-needed, for some people) depth.
*** Saying that the characters "wouldn't be like that if the avatar-verse were real" is ridiculous and frankly kind of insulting to the original writers. Aang doesn't have any trouble accepting other cultures in canon because the canon air nomads preached acceptance and open-mindedness. It was a deliberate part of their doctrine. Similarly, Toph grew up with a controlling family despite overcoming her natural disability, and this resulted in her stubbornness and independent streak. It's perfectly alright to tweak the world and then tweak the characters accordingly, but to claim that it's how the characters "would" act if they weren't "simplified" is ridiculous.


**** Her exact words are that ''the empire conquering the world got a bum rap in the show'' - she's clearly RootingForTheEmpire. Forget Firefly and canonizing the Anglo-Sino Alliance, I hope she never writes a CodeGeass fic. Hell, I'm feeling stupid right now, so here's the ShmuckBait - Vathara, have you ever heard of some charming folk known as Literature/TheDraka?

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**** Her exact words are that ''the empire conquering the world got a bum rap in the show'' - she's clearly RootingForTheEmpire. Forget Firefly and canonizing the Anglo-Sino Alliance, I hope she never writes a CodeGeass Franchise/CodeGeass fic. Hell, I'm feeling stupid right now, so here's the ShmuckBait - Vathara, have you ever heard of some charming folk known as Literature/TheDraka?


No show for the preteen demographic like Avatar was is going to address the utter ''mess'' that can result without resorting to oversimplification and ignoring the unfortunates who are caught between the two. You simply could '''not''' get ''that'' [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar past the radar]] otherwise, and the result would be UnfortunateImplication that ''genocide is OK if you're wiping out the '''right''' people''--and missing this would take everybody involved in making it clinging to a planet-sized IdiotBall.

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No show for the preteen demographic like Avatar was is going to address the utter ''mess'' that can result without resorting to oversimplification and ignoring the unfortunates who are caught between the two. You simply could '''not''' get ''that'' [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar past the radar]] otherwise, and the result would be UnfortunateImplication UnfortunateImplications that ''genocide is OK if you're wiping out the '''right''' people''--and missing this would take everybody involved in making it clinging to a planet-sized IdiotBall.


*** I think the key concept for the zombies isn't ''Fire Nation'', but ''Drowned''.

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*** Memorial fires lay the restless dead to rest by providing a beacon for Agni to find them. Agni is the spirit of the sun. I think midnight sun protects the Southern Water Tribe because Agni can see his people and call them home. Also, the Face-Stealer has some kind of power over the restless dead. ''He swallows up corruption, so the other spirits are purified.'' Agni is Koh's enemy. So I think the key concept for midnight sun is a protection because Agni would deny his people's ghosts revenge if it meant not letting Koh destroy the zombies isn't ''Fire Nation'', but ''Drowned''.
world.



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*** I think the key concept for the zombies isn't ''Fire Nation'', but ''Drowned''.


*** ''Approaching quietly, Tingzhe took a moment to study the young man seated on the ground, trailing his fingers in Yamaha's pond. Really, it was a wonder he'd managed to pass unnoticed this long. The fine, lean features, the pale skin… add a topknot, change green eyes and robe to gold and red, and he'd be any young great name right out of the classical scrolls.
A testament to how much people simply don't see, I imagine.''

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*** ''Approaching "Approaching quietly, Tingzhe took a moment to study the young man seated on the ground, trailing his fingers in Yamaha's pond. Really, it was a wonder he'd managed to pass unnoticed this long. The fine, lean features, the pale skin… add a topknot, change green eyes and robe to gold and red, and he'd be any young great name right out of the classical scrolls.
A ***A testament to how much people simply don't see, I imagine.''"

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