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Characters / Avatar: The Last Airbender: Team Avatar

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This is Team Avatar or, going by the Fan Nickname, the Gaang. For their older selves in The Legend of Korra, see that character page.

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    Team Avatar
From left to right: Sokka, Suki, Toph, Katara, Zuko, and Aang.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Team Avatar might consist of 12-16-year-olds who are all compassionate and caring kids at heart—but cross them and you'll regret it. These child prodigies are some of the most competent warriors of the age, capable of weaving massive fire vortexes, calling up huge tidal waves, rising miniature mountains, and kicking around a small-scale tornado or two. Plus they have two very capable Badass Normals on their side, fully prepared to do whatever they can to help in combat. Bottom line? Don't mess with them.
  • Birds of a Feather: The closest relationships in the Gaang are between similar people:
    • Aang and Katara's romance is highlighted by their likenesses. Both are extremely optimistic people who keep that outlook while also becoming more realistic due to Character Development. They are child prodigies in their own field (Aang in Airbending and becoming the youngest Fully Realized Avatar, Katara becoming a Waterbending master at only 14). They have a Chronic Hero Syndrome tendency, are incredibly nice individuals, but can be terrifying when pushed too far. They even share a similar trait of being more selfish when it comes to a personal topic.
    • Katara and Zuko like each other despite being on opposite sides of war because of how similar they are. Both are passionate, determined individuals willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish their goals, whether it be capturing the Avatar or helping him. Both are also shown to be pretty evenly matched in terms of bending abilities, and the few times they are actually on the same side/not angry at each other they work very well together and get along extremely well.
    • A platonic example with Zuko and Sokka. They discuss their mutually poor track record with relationships to break an Awkward Silence. Both of them also use swordplay as a form combat.
  • Beauty, Brains and Brawn:
    • Katara - Brains; the Team Mom, a self-educated waterbending master (except for a brief stint as Pakku's pupil), and capable of finding ingenious solutions to difficult problems (inducing sweat to waterbend with, when trapped in a wooden prison).
    • Suki - Beauty; a Ms. Fanservice in her brief time with the group, very flirty with Sokka, and leader of the Kyoshi Warriors, who are nonbenders, practitioners of She-Fu, and use fans as weapons.
    • Toph - Brawn; direct (a result of her earthbending, a far more hands-on bending style than the others), blunt, a Blood Knight, and the Determinator of the group.
  • Child Prodigy: Applies to Aang, Toph, and Zuko:
    • Word of God states that Aang was better than kids twice his age when he was six, better than his masters at ten, and an airbending master at twelve. He maintains his status of Child Prodigy throughout the show, managing to master waterbending, become a skilled earthbender, and get a good grasp on firebending over the course of a year.
    • Toph was an earthbending master by the time she was twelve, having mastered the basics of standardized earthbending and expanding off of that to form her own unique style that was more suited to her blindness. She also invented metalbending within hours, and is seen creating actual moves for it in the comics.
    • Zuko was a master swordsman by the time he was around twelve, having been trained by Piandao since he was a small child. This was while he was maintaining his role as crown prince, and mastering four other disciplines: firebending, unarmed combat, knifeplay, and knife throwing. It's also implied that he would've been a firebending prodigy, had he been given the proper power source he receives later on from the dragons.
    • It's implied that Sokka and Katara would've also been this, had they been given the proper circumstances. As it is, Sokka had already mastered using a boomerang as a young child, and Katara had already taught herself some waterbending moves, and later became an Instant Expert in her brief stint of training with Pakku.
    • It's possible that Suki was this as well, since she's a master of hand-to-hand combat and fan-based martial arts by the time she appears in the show. However, as we never receive a backstory for her, it's impossible to be sure.
  • Child Soldier: They're seen in numerous combat situations throughout the show, and since their ultimate goal is to end the hundred-year war...well, being a soldier kind of comes with it.
  • Elite Four: The benders, in this case. By the end of the series, they're each definitive masters of their element, with power and skill rivaling the masters who taught them. This makes them some of the most dangerous benders in the world, and a very formidable fighting force.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: When the Gaang was made up of three people, warrior-proud Sokka is the Fighter, healer Katara is the Mage, and wily Aang acts as the thief. As Aang begins to accept his powers as the Avatar, he becomes the Fighter of the group, while Sokka lacks the powerful bending of the other two and uses his tactics and luck to become the resident Guile Hero who takes on the role of the Thief.
  • Free-Range Children: Deconstructed. A bunch of kids can travel around the world because, with the exception of a few characters, all of their parents are either dead or busy fighting the war. It doesn't help that every one of the kids is essentially a Child Soldier.
  • Freudian Trio: The Gaang in the early seasons before Toph joined.
    • Katara is Id, being overly emotional with a tendency towards over-reaction, Sokka is Superego, being generally focused on more logical and practical courses of action, while Aang as the Ego is somewhere in the middle, trying to balance the two extremes. The Great Divide episode is almost dedicated to this trope.
    • On some days, Aang is the Id as he acts like a hyperactive, mischievous kid with some Cloudcuckoolander tendencies (They traveled to Omashu because he wanted to take rides on the chute mail delivery system) and Katara is the Ego because she keeps Aang grounded.
  • Good Cannot Comprehend Evil: While hiding out in Zuko's summer home in Sozin's Comet, Part 1: The Phoenix King, Team Avatar finds the picture of a smiling and sweet boy and tease Zuko about it. But much to their dismay, Zuko reveals that it's not him — it's a picture of his abusive and sociopathic father. The gang is confused at this, wondering how this innocent-looking baby in the picture would one day become the genocidal warlord and warmongering tyrant they're now up against.
  • La Résistance: The whole premise of their existence—one small group of rebelling against the Fire Nation.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Aang is the Feminine Boy to Tophe's Masculine Girl. Toph is a bullheaded and casually violent brawler and former Professional Earthbender who is about Aang's (physical) age while Aang is an easygoing, energetic, and non-confrontational Martial Pacifist. Toph lampshades this in "Ember Island Player", where Aang is played by a dainty female actor and herself by a large and bulky male actor. She doesn't really think there's anything wrong with it.
  • Morality Pet: Aang and Katara keep each on the right path in tough times. When Aang unleashes divine wrath in times of emotional turmoil (i.e. learning he's the last airbender, Appa's kidnapping), Katara is there to give him Cooldown Hugs and stop his rampage. They switch roles when Katara becomes obsessed with killing her mother's murderer, and while Aang doesn't force her to stop, he does give her advise on the wrongness of revenge that keeps her on the right path.
  • Multinational Team: The only complete multinational team in the series as Aang is the last Airbender.
  • Official Couple: Aang and Katara are the couple of the show.
  • Perpetual Poverty: They just barely manage to scrape by, even when they're almost always hard up for money and supplies. Some episodes do focus on them trying to get money for supplies.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: All of the benders apply, though Toph and Aang to a greater extent than the others. They're all freakishly powerful and leagues better than people twice their age, but not one of them is a day over sixteen.
  • Power Trio:
    • The original three members, Aang, Katara, and Sokka.
    • The creators say that Aang, Zuko and Katara are the three most important characters of the story. Zuko and Katara both share the role of deuteragonist (with Zuko being an antagonist at first) to Aang's role as protagonist. Zuko serves as the cynic and Katara as the optimist, to contrast with Aang the realist. Both Zuko and Katara also act as Team Dad and Team Mom respectively to the Kid Hero Aang and the rest of Team Avatar, making for a classic Hero, Lancer, Chick trio by the end.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The responsibility of defeating the Fire Nation and saving the world rests entirely with a 12-year-old goofball of a Messiah and the various other children he picks up along the way. These include a fourteen year old untrained water-bender, a fifteen year old wannabe warrior, a twelve year old spoiled runaway earth-bender and the angsty banished prince of the enemy. Also Suki, the face-painted Kyoshi Warrior.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified: While the goal is to topple the Fire Lord, they do their hardest to make sure this is true, making sure they stay as principled as possible and to make a better future after they defeat the Fire Lord.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Katara and Sokka are opposites of each other. She's optimistic, a victim of Chronic Hero Syndrome, and very emotional while he's cynical, a Heroic Neutral in helping others, and very logical.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Aang and Katara's cuddling and petnames give Sokka 'oogies' in The Promise and The Search.
  • The Team: Goes through several iterations. At the end it was roughly a Five-Man Band with two girls and The Smart Guy as The Leader instead of The Hero.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: Katara was Aang's (second) waterbending instructor and they became a couple in the series finale.
  • Teen Genius: Pretty much all of them. Aang was a bending master at twelve. Toph invents a bending style at the same age. Katara struggles at first, but after she's given proper tutelage under Master Pakku, becomes his greatest student. Sokka is smart enough to help invent submarines while mastering sword-fighting. Zuko, after learning from the dragons, becomes a definitive master and is able to duel his prodigy sister Azula on even ground—all in the space of two to three episodes, which is the same amount of time it took for Katara to become a competent waterbender.
  • Teens Are Short: Applies to all of them.
    • Zuko, as a healthy sixteen-year-old male, is said to be only about five foot four—a full four inches shorter than the average height for his age. Strangely, 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.
    • Sokka is portrayed as only being about an inch smaller than Zuko and sometimes even as tall as him—which puts him at three-four inches below his age group's average.
    • Katara seems to be a few inches shorter than her brother, which puts her roughly an inch or so below average. Suki also seems to be about this size. According to the art book, she's not even 5'.
    • Aang is shown as being almost a full head smaller than Zuko and a few inches under Katara, which places him approximately two-three inches below the twelve-year-old boy average. According to the art book, he's about 4 1/2 feet.
    • Toph is portrayed as even shorter than Aang—placing her at around four inches below what she should be.
  • ¡Three Amigos!: Aang as The Hero, Sokka same gender, Katara opposite gender.
  • Token Trio: From a Water Tribe perspective, Sokka is majority male, Katara is majority female, Aang is minority male.
  • Took a Level in Badass: All of Team Avatar somehow leveled up in their skills by the series finale.
  • True Companions: By the four-part series finale, they each consider one another like family.


The twelve-year-old (technically a hundred-and-twelve-year old) plucky Airbending boy destined to save the world.

For tropes applying to the Avatar entity in general, return to the main Character page.

See this page for more information.


Katara (卡塔拉)

Voiced by: Mae Whitman (original), Jessica Toledo (Latin American Spanish)

"I will never, EVER turn my back on people who need me!"

A compassionate girl who is the last Waterbender of the Southern Water Tribe, Katara has accepted the responsibility of looking after her brother Sokka after their mother died and their father left to fight in the war. Despite her many hardships, she never lost faith that the Avatar would one day return to save the world. After finding Aang in the iceberg, Katara acts as the Team Mom while also being Aang's Waterbending teacher and love interest.

  • Achilles' Heel: Katara, while being one of the most powerful benders in the show, is extremely reliant on her waterbending, to the point of being helpless without it. This is mostly due to her Crippling Overspecialization, which makes her sole form of combat waterbending.
  • Action Survivor: At the start of the series, when she's only just growing into her bending and lacks Sokka's fighting skills to compensate. She starts to improve a lot after acquiring the waterbending scrolls; by the midpoint of season one she's regularly participating in the team's battles, and by the time the story reaches the North Pole she's evolved into a bonafide Action Hero.
  • Adrenaline Makeover: Katara begins the series as the Team Mom, dressed practically in a parka, but as the series progresses and the seasons/latitude/climates change, she literally lets down her hair, and we get occasional shots of her in underwear or midriff-baring outfits. Her regular Water Tribe outfits (the clothes she wears most often) are still very practical, and she bares a lot more skin in the Fire Nation islands, which are mostly tropical and volcanic.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Subverted. Katara liked Jet for his Robin Hood persona (though his bad boy-esque roguish aloofness seemed to help), but was very put off after learning of his "KILL ALL THE FIRE NATION AT ALL COSTS" attitude.
  • All-Loving Hero: Downplayed. While Katara is an extremely compassionate person, willing to help anyone in need, and is against Jet's "everyone in the Fire Nation should die" attitude, she herself holds grudges longer than any of her friends, can be petty when significantly angered, and has come very close to the She Who Fights Monsters ideology.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: She can be this to Sokka, but not without good reason. Sokka admits this in The Search, but says that at least she's not as crazy as Azula.
  • Badass Adorable: A cute 14-year-old. And an extremely skilled waterbender, naturally talented healer, one of the few strong enough to use Bloodbending.
  • Bad Powers, Good People: Bloodbending is a real bad thing, but Katara is on the side of the good guys.
  • Battle Couple: With Aang in the comics that continue on from the series (since they don't hook up until the end).
  • Berserk Button: She will attack you - or threaten to kill you, depending on the situation - on sight if you betray her.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: She's very reasonable and mature, and willing to give just about anybody a chance, but she can be the most ruthless member of the Gaang when she's betrayed or her friends are put in danger and she's the only one to hold a grudge about it. While the rest of the gang may be weary around traitors like Jet and Zuko, Katara is the only one who will threaten to kill any of them before getting to "Hello." You can also remove "threaten to" from the previous sentence if Katara thinks she's dealing with the man who killed her mother.
  • Black and White Insanity: Downplayed considering she is a Noble Bigot who had defended a couple of Fire Nation towns from harm despite seeing the overall Nation and their firebenders as absolutely irredeemable. The incident at Ba Sing Se becomes a red flag for her to absolutely refusing to see the good in Zuko, even after he joins her group. It's only after Zuko helps Katara to find her mother's killer that she once again sees the good in him.
  • Blood Magic: During a full moon she can manipulate the water in peoples' blood to turn them into People Puppets, but those who use it are known to develop homicidal tendencies.
  • Bonding Over Missing Parents: Katara has emotional bondings with Haru and Zuko by sharing the experience of her mother's death.
  • Break the Cutie:
    • The death of her mother haunted Katara for the rest of her life, as detailed in "The Southern Raiders."
    • Jet's betrayal in "Jet" greatly reduced Katara's naivete.
    • "The Puppetmaster" ends with Katara sobbing under the full moon, because she's given in to Hama and become a Bloodbender.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Does this to her own father, who asks for forgiveness and gets it.
  • Cannot Tell a Joke: A mixed example. She has some of the best snarky one liners in the show, but couldn't spontaneously come up with a joke to save her or Aang and Toph's life in "Sokka's Master".
  • Character Development: Katara turned from an eternally optimistic and sweet girl into someone much much more pragmatic and hardened by the difficulties of war, though she still maintained her positive and compassionate outlook.
  • The Chick: She's the Heart, the Healer, and an incredibly skilled fighter who will go to war for her friends, and champions justice and freedom for the downtrodden. She's the hero's love interest, and other girls even admire her for her beauty. As one of the founding members of the team, she's also capable in a leadership role, either on her own missions or Number Two on someone else's.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Zigzagged with Aang. They met when he was 12 and she was 14, but Aang is technically older than her, as he was born 100 years earlier than her and only kept his youth because he was frozen in ice. Even so, they would later become an Official Couple, marry, and have three children.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: To the point where she sabotaged the mission to defeat Ozai by pretending Appa was sick so she could stay and help a village on a polluted river. States as much in that episode, "The Painted Lady":
    "No! I will never, ever turn my back on people who need me... I'm going down to the village. And I'm going to do whatever I can!"
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Downplayed. Katara may not be ridiculously jealous, but she shows a constant mild irritation at girls showing an interest in Aang.
  • Combat Medic: A very capable healer in addition to her combat skills.
  • Combat Tentacles: Used this fighting style with water a few time in Season 3 and in the Season 2 finale. She also taught Aang the "Octopus Form", which is basically a ring of multiple water tentacles situated around the user to allow maximum coverage.
  • Compressed Hair: Nowhere near as bad as some, but she keeps an elbow-length mane in that pigtail. It comes down as part of her Fire Nation disguise.
  • Cool Big Sis: To Toph when she's not trying to be maternal. It worked in "The Tales of Ba Sing Se", but not so much in "The Runaway".
  • Crippling Overspecialization: A bit too reliant on waterbending when it comes to fighting, to the point of almost never actually physically dodging incoming attacks and instead using water walls to neutralize them. Justified both in that her homeland didn't teach women to fight and that she spent the entirety of the show mastering and polishing her waterbending skills, and as such didn't have time to learn unarmed combat and weaponry.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Along with Sokka — mother killed in a Fire Nation raid when they were little, and their father and all the men of the tribe left two years prior to the show's start. This left Katara with abandonment issues, and Sokka feeling that he wasn't good enough as a warrior. It catches up to them later on (Sokka risks his ass breaking into a Fire Nation prison, Katara has her dark night of the soul tracking down her mother's killer).
  • Deadpan Snarker: Katara's normally The Comically Serious, but she's almost as witty as Sokka when she's pushed to it. For instance, when she was sleep-deprived and exhausted in "The Chase", she gets a few good ones at Toph, when she almost never does that for the rest of the series. In "The Waterbending Scroll", she snaps at Aang of all people out of sheer frustration and jealousy. And when she's still intensely angry at Zuko, she snarks at him several times in "The Firebending Masters". The only person she seems to be able to freely mouth off to any day, any time, is Sokka.
  • Demoted to Satellite Love Interest: In the comics, she is really nothing but Aang's arm candy. The 'North and South' trilogy attempts to remedy this.
  • Does Not Like Spam: Katara once stated that she hated the papaya fruit.
  • Dude Magnet: Within two seasons, Aang and Jet have openly romanced Katara, while she's been ship teased with Zuko and Haru.
  • Easily Forgiven: When she gets angry, she tends to be very cruel in her remarks, mocking Toph's blindness, telling Sokka he didn't love their mother as much as she did for not wanting to go on a suicide mission into the heart of the Fire Nation, shouting at Aang when he tried to help her with her waterbending, and taking advantage of Zuko's guilt-induced silence as an opportunity to repeatedly scorn him. Aside from the initial reactions of her target, these instances are never mentioned again and the characters continue on as if it hadn't happened.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Katara starts wearing her hair down from her trademark "hair loopies" as part of the Fire Nation and (probably because Aang said he liked it) kept it down after dropping the disguise. Though she DOES go back to the "hair loopies" style; she merely wears her hair down instead of in her massive braid.
  • Fantastic Racism: Despite being the sweetest character, Katara is the most hostile towards the Fire Nation, due to their army's murder of her mother. This is shown particularly through the way she acts towards Zuko when they are both clearly prisoners in Ba Sing Se but she continues to lash out at a silent Zuko. She does eventually learns to respect some Fire Nation people.
  • Fatal Flaw: Katara is known to hold grudges to the point where she could kill someone, especially if she was betrayed or if her loved ones are put in danger. When she runs into Jet after he had betrayed her trust, she immediately attacks him. She flat out tells Zuko that if he gives her one reason to think he might try to hurt Aang, she will personally kill him. And when she confronted the man whom she believed killed her mother, she uses bloodbending on him, something she had previously refused to do and that would eventually come to violate international law.
  • Flanderization: A little. Season 3 paints her as The Comically Serious despite the fact that she gets several of the wittiest remarks throughout Seasons 1 and 2. It could be that she's only capable of making fun of Sokka.
    Sokka: How do we put a lid on hot air?
    Katara: If only we knew...
  • Foe-Tossing Charge: After Azula shoots Aang with lightning and is falling to the ground, Katara rides a gigantic wave over a swarm of Mooks to catch him.
  • Forgiven, but Not Forgotten: Her attitude towards Zuko after she acknowledges his Heel–Face Turn. She later forgives him completely. That said, Katara is the most unforgiving of the Gaang should she feel betrayed, to the point of being petty.
  • Friend to All Children: She had a soft spot for children. When aiding in baby Hope's birth, she stated that she helped her grandmother deliver many babies in their tribe, and in Jang Hui, she gave a portion of her food to a little boy. She even went as far as to care for and defend Tom-Tom, Mai's little brother, despite the fact that he was from the Fire Nation and that everyone else, with the exception of Aang, was distrustful of him for it.
  • God Guise: Disguises herself as the Painted Lady, in order to attack a Fire Nation outpost and inspire the locals who used to look to the spirit as a patron and guardian. Though she's eventually exposed, the villagers forgive her. Unusually for this trope, she didn't need to fake any powers and just needed an outfit.
  • Godiva Hair: Has this during her bathing scene in 3x7, "The Runaway", used in conjunction with just staying underwater.
  • Go-Getter Girl: Every once in a while, she can act like this.
  • Good Is Not Nice: In some cases where she was very reluctant to forgive those who betrayed her and would like to violently point out to them, particularly her father and Zuko. There's also the way she rejected the apology of the man who killed her mother.
  • Green-Eyed Monster:
    • A pretty big case in "The Waterbending Scroll", where she gets jealous of Aang learning Waterbending faster than her. It soon causes her to steal the titular scroll of the episode, but it lands her in trouble with Zuko and some pirates.
    • A mild case of this in "The Headband" and "The Warriors of Kyoshi", where she gets a little annoyed at a couple of girls flirting with Aang.
  • Harmful to Minors: When she was little, she witnessed a man threatening her mother (and the implication of finding her corpse afterward).
  • Heal It with Water: She spontaneously manifests the ability when she dips her burned hands in a stream and later trains up to become such a Combat Medic that she can use water from a sacred spring to basically bring someone Back from the Dead.
  • Healing Hands: She has healing powers. Something to do with chi and the water in the body...let's just say "magic" and leave it at that.
  • The Heart: A medic with Healing Hands and Love Interest of The Hero, she begins as this. Her natural tendency is to help people ("Imprisoned", "The Painted Lady", "Crossroads Of Destiny"), but just like her role as an All-Loving Hero, it's debatable that the role is given to Aang by the end of the series.
  • Hyper-Awareness: Not quite to Sherlock Holmes levels, but Katara can be very observant. When Aang once invents an Unpronounceable Alias on the spot, she picks it up immediately and has no trouble seamlessly going along with it.
    Aang-In-Disguise: Name's Bonzu Pipinpadalopsicopolis... the Third, and these (Sokka and Katara) are my grandkids.
    Katara: (Hesitates for just an instant, then smiles sweetly) Hi! June Pipinpadalopsicopolis. Nice to meet you.
  • An Ice Person: Since she's a waterbender, Katara can turn liquid water into solid ice.
  • Identical Granddaughter: She looks almost exactly like her grandmother, Kanna, did as a teenager.
  • If You Ever Do Anything To Hurt Him: Says this to Zuko when he first joins the Gaang.
    "...then you won't have to worry about your 'destiny' anymore, because I'll make sure your destiny ends. Right then and there. Permanently."
  • Improbable Hairstyle: She keeps up a pretty high-maintenance-looking hairstyle throughout all kinds of trials (although it does fall out of place during one duel).
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: She has deep blue eyes, signifying her Water Tribe heritage and the general air of innocence and naïveté she has at the beginning of the story.
  • Instant Expert: Katara goes from being so poor at waterbending that she accidentally freezes her brother to being one of the world's greatest waterbenders in one season to the point entrusted with training the Avatar. She did this in under 4 months note , while Waterbending is described as something that can take years to master. Further, she and Aang spent the same amount of time training with Pakku, and by the end she was qualified to complete Aang's training on the go as his master rather than just a training partner. It's implied that she has always had a lot of innate talent as a waterbender, but since she was the only one left in her tribe, there was no one to teach her how to use her skills properly.
  • Irrational Hatred: Of Zuko, following his Heel–Face Turn in mid-Season 3, which she justifies with his bad history with the Gaang, but is mainly a result of Fantastic Racism due to his Fire Nation heritage that is responsible for everything bad happening to her and the rest of the world.
  • Irony: Despite being one of the more compassionate members of the group, Katara was one of the least willing to let go of a grudge, especially against those who she felt had betrayed her trust.
  • It's All About Me: Rarely, but when she gets angry she tends to dip into this. Most notably at the North Pole when she challenged Pakku to a fight after he insulted her and in "The Southern Raiders".
  • Jerkass Ball: She takes a level in jerkass in Book 3. She has a meaner disposition at times and lets her emotions get the best of her, culminating in her telling Sokka that he didn't love their mother as much as she did when he tries convincing her not to go after their mother's murderer. Her treatment of Zuko, while slightly justified due to his initial failure to pull a Heel–Face Turn in the second season finale, is still rather nasty and blatantly mean-spirited. She begins to recover after confronting her mother's murderer, including forgiving Zuko.
  • Jerkass Realization: In 'The Waterbending Scroll', she jealously snaps at Aang when he bests he at waterbending, driving him to tears. Thankfully, she quickly realizes her mistake and apologizes.
  • Kid with the Leash: Aang's Avatar State is essentially a natural disaster. But as it retains Aang's heart, she can walk right up to him during one of his panic attacks and administer a Cooldown Hug to shut it down. Notable in that she hates the damn thing, as it's essentially an outpouring of all the pain and loss he's suffered over the course of his life.
  • The Lancer: Shared this position with Sokka towards Aang in the first season. She later becomes The Lancer to Zuko after Aang disappears in the finale.
  • Letting Her Hair Down: In Season 3, she unbinds her nearly-unnoticeable elbow-length pigtail into an elbow-length mane as part of her Fire Nation disguise. Even after dropping the disguise, she leaves it down.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: She's the quadratic wizard, Sokka is the linear warrior. Except Sokka is also The Strategist...
  • Living Emotional Crutch:
    • Shares this role with Appa for Aang; In regards to how she is this for Aang, she gives him hope for the future.
    • "The Runaway" has Katara also being this to Sokka, and to an extent, Toph.
  • Long Hair Is Feminine: She has the longest hair of Team Avatar down to her waist when let down. She is also the most motherly, nurturing and feminine of the cast — in addition to being the Love Interest.
  • Lunacy: Like all waterbenders, her powers are fueled by the moon.
  • Mage Born of Muggles: Katara is the only waterbender in her non-bending family.
  • Making a Splash: She's a waterbender, so she can telekinetically control water, and even turn it back and forth into ice and steam, and it grants her Healing Hands. She joins every battle against the enemies once she mastered her bending skills.
  • Master of the Mixed Message: Wow. Ship Tease to the max, mixed with an equal amount of Team Mom. This confusion and ambiguity probably stems from the original plans in the I.P. Bible; Aang and Katara's relationship was never part of the initial proposal, but evolved as the series was produced. Notably, Aang approved of(and perhaps even shared) Katara's infatuation with Jet, as opposed to his later jealousy of Zuko.
    1. She suggested kissing as a way to escape "The Cave of Two Lovers", but both are too embarrassed to discuss it afterwards.
    2. She and Aang have a sweaty Mating Dance (complete with bedroom eyes and ending in a dip) in "The Headband", but again, both Cannot Spit It Out.
    3. She passively accepts a Now or Never Kiss from Aang (and is left with a Luminescent Blush) in "The Day of Black Sun, Part 1: The Invasion", but she avoids the topic when he brings it up in the "Love is a Battlefield" comic.
    4. She tells him she's confused in "The Ember Island Players", but then at the very end of "Sozin's Comet, Part: Avatar Aang" Katara initiates a passionate kiss on Aang with no explanation since the last conversation they had before this was an argument.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • "Katara" is Japanese for "pull" which alludes to her waterbending skills, given that pulling is one of the basic principles of the fighting style.
    • The alias she uses in the Fire Nation, Sapphire Fire, also makes sense, since one imagines her parents could easily have given her that name for her sapphire-like blue eyes (which are rare in that country). It might also be a case of Refuge in Audacity, since it deliberately draws attention to her unusual (for the Fire Nation) racial type.
  • The McCoy: The most willing to go out of her way to help people, even at the expense of the primary mission at hand, contrast to Sokka's more grounded view of the matter.
  • More Deadly Than the Male: She has shades of this. While she doesn't have the raw power of Aang, and she and Zuko are equals in terms of bending power, she can be downright terrifying when angry. Most notable when she's on the receiving end of chauvinistic comments (things tend to break around her) and when hunting for her mother's killer (where she used bloodbending).
  • My God, What Have I Done?: In "The Waterbending Scroll", after she yells at Aang for being better at Waterbending, she sees him start to cry and immediately apologizes.
  • Nepotism: Essentially why Pakku eventually agreed to teach her waterbending. She performed admirably after she challenged him to a duel, but Pakku still refused to teach her until he found out her grandmother was Kanna.
  • Nice Girl: Even with her low points, Katara is caring and compassionate, and was often marked by a fierce determination to aid others.
  • Noble Bigot: In Season 3, she absolutely despises the Fire Nation for the death of her mother and Zuko's manhunt against her and her friends in Season 1, but is willing to get into big fights to protect Fire Nationals like the village Jet was trying to flood, and the lake-town in the Fire Nation itself that was being abused and polluted by the military. She also allows Zuko to assist her in locating the Southern Raiders who are responsible for her mother's death after he offers it and spares her mother's firebending killer before finally forgiving Zuko.
  • Oblivious to Love: Aang had a crush on her from the word "Go", but she didn't notice it for awhile.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: If you see her bloodbending, she's far more vengeful than she usually is.
  • The Paragon: She is considered one in giving others hope and inspiration. In one instance, she inspires earthbender prisoners to stand up against their Fire Nation oppressors. In another instance, she helps a fishing village in the Fire Nation that suffers pollution and abuse from military officers in order to encourage them to fend for themselves.
  • Parental Substitute: Toph admits that she views Katara, only a few years older than her, as a mother figure. Toph's own parents weren't particularly good. In an interesting version of this trope, Katara's older brother Sokka expresses the same emotions.
  • Plucky Girl: Oh so much, especially in Season 1.
  • Princess for a Day: In one of the later second-season episodes, she poses as an Earth Kingdom noblewoman so she can attend the royal ball and (hopefully) speak to the Earth King.
  • Promotion to Parent: After her mother died, Katara took on this sort of role in looking after her family. It's also gotten to the point where Sokka has trouble remembering his actual mother, since Katara has replaced his mental picture of motherhood.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Katara's hair, either in a braid or not, reaches all the way to her waist.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The red to Sokka's blue, while being soothing and more sensitive, she is a great deal more emotional which is also the main fuel for her actions, whereas Sokka is more logical and calculating.
    • She's also the gentler, more optimistic waterbending blue to Zuko's grumpier, cynical firebending red.
  • Rejected Apology: No matter how sorry her mother's killer was, she brutally tells him that she will never forgive him for that, leaving him living with his guilt forever.
  • The Resenter: To Aang's talent in waterbending before learning from Pakku.
  • Revenge: Wants revenge towards her mother's killer. She gets a chance at it, but decides he's not worth it.
  • Sarashi: Part of her swimwear.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Not that she isn't unattractive or not groomed normally but anytime she dresses up (like "City of Walls and Secrets") or even dons a simple fish line necklace, you can expect Love Bubbles and a Luminescent Blush from Aang.
  • She Who Fights Monsters: She show early signs of this through her treatment of Zuko in mid-Season 3 when he joins her and her friends, from threatening to personally execute him for betraying them again in the future once he first joins to using him as an outlet to vent out her heated and vindictive Fantastic Racism of the Fire Nation that had caused her so much pain in her life. This comes to a head when she confronts the man who murdered her mother, and considers skewering him with a rain of icicles.
  • Sibling Rivalry: A more normal one with Sokka compared to Zuko and Azula's violent, dysfunctional power struggle.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: While there was an episode in Season 1 in which Katara was attracted to the thuggish Jet, she quickly realized her mistake at the end of the episode. The rest of the series then proceeds to develop her relationship with Aang. Naturally, they end up together in the end.
  • Sour Supporter: Mid Book 3.She's really not very happy with Zuko when he tries to join the Gaang. Justified by Zuko's past in the Avatar hunting business and his betrayal at the end of Book 2.
  • Species Surname: Used for an alias. When infiltrating the Fire Nation, Sokka and Katara pose as the native-born citizen Wang Fire and his wife Sapphire.
  • Squishy Wizard: Katara is a waterbending master, but she's defenseless without her waterbending and very easy to physically overpower.
  • Stone Wall: Waterbending is mainly a defensive art, so she is mostly this.
  • Tareme Eyes: She has round eyes.
  • Team Mom: Acts as a nurturing, soothing figure for all of Team Avatar - even towards Zuko, though to a far lesser extent than the others.
  • Teen Genius: When it comes to waterbending, she can master, in a year, techniques that takes others years to learn.
  • To Be a Master: Her goal throughout the first book is to master Waterbending, in which she succeeds.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl:
    • Katara's role as the Team Mom and Lady of War fighting tactics mean that she often clashes with Toph's more laid-back, One of the Guys mannerisms.
    • Earlier, in season one, Katara is eager to learn how to fight, frustrated that only men are expected to be warriors. Yue, on the other hand, is the well-mannered and refined princess of the Northern Water Tribe.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Went from barely competent to top three for best waterbenders in the world.
  • Took a Level in Cynic: Katara spends the first two seasons giving inspirational speeches about hope and love. After "The Crossroads of Destiny," Katara absolutely rejects any potential members of Team Avatar, to the point of threatening them.
  • Tragic Bigot: Her vindictive Fantastic Racism against the Fire Nation in Season 3 is justified due to the death of her mother at the hands of a firebender officer and Zuko's pursuit of her and her friends in Season 1, in addition to his betrayal of her trust at the end of Season 2 that nearly led to Aang's death. Not to mention the hounding and near-extermination of her entire people by the Southern Raiders.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Her necklace is her only memento of her deceased mother.
  • Tsundere: She acts as a Type B (deredere). Oddly enough she acts like a typical type A to Zuko (hatred followed by friendship) but he's not her love interest. It's downplayed in the third season when her real love interest, Aang, wants to start a relationship.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: If you try to hurt Aang, she'll do whatever it takes to stop you. If she even thinks you might hurt Aang, that's enough to get you a menacing death threat.
  • We Help the Helpless: She stands strong by this belief. She will never leave behind those in need, as shown in The Painted Lady.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Particularly during the first season. She becomes more prone to anger and violence as the series goes on but retains quite a lot of her natural idealism.
  • Wise Beyond Her Years: From a very young age, she has had to act as a mother to her family and her brother, and her actions and reactions throughout the series reflect this very strongly. Though she occasionally has "childish" instances (half the time just to make a point), the series treats her as the group's mother figure and caretaker. Take this dialogue from the very first episode:
    Katara: (while penguin sledding) I haven't done this since I was a kid!
    Aang: You still are a kid!
  • You Killed My Mother: To the retired Fire Nation commander that killed her mother ten years previous under the impression that she was a Waterbender. Though she elects not to kill him.
  • You Go, Girl!: Of the second variety. Sort of. While she lost to Pakku in their duel, she managed to impress him...just not enough to make him change his mind...until he learns that Katara's grandmother is actually his long-lost love.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: When Hama complimented her use of Bloodbending in "The Puppetmaster".


Sokka (索卡)

Voiced by: Jack DeSena (original), Sergio Aliaga (Latin American Spanish)

"I'm just a guy with a boomerang... I didn't ask for all this flying, and magic..."

Katara's older brother, Sokka took it upon himself to protect the Southern Water Tribe. As a fairly serious non-bending warrior, Sokka is often irritated by the more mystical and nonsensical aspects of the world of Avatar. Nonetheless, Sokka makes up for it by being the team's "idea guy." And besides, where would the Gaang be without his comic relief and BOOMERANG!?

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: His sword is made of some sort of crazy space metal.
  • Adorkable: His moments of over-enthusiasm are the farthest thing from cool, but still endearing in their way.
  • Adrenaline Makeover: Compare Sokka's first season look to his third season look.
  • Agent Scully: Despite the fact that he lives in a world with Avatars and spirits and magic bending, he still tries to find a scientific explanation for everything. He accepts the bending and the spirits eventually, though he was freaked out when first encountering them. Still, he prefers to find a mundane way to explain happenings without trying to invoke the mystic until its involvement becomes directly evident.
  • Amazon Chaser: Sokka seems attracted to Suki in part because she's such an excellent fighter.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Sokka remains skeptical in a world of magic and spirits. The second season episode "The Swamp" is one good example, in which he refuses to believe that the swamp called forth spirits. When Katara points out that Aang has contacted spirits regularly (and he was once kidnapped by one and stuck in the spirit world), he dismisses it with "That's Avatar stuff; it doesn't count."
  • Badass Normal: The only non-bender of his friends (except for Suki), but makes up for it with his brains and swordsmanship.
  • Badass Bookworm: A talented and clever swordsman with an knack for ingenuity in both inventions and battle plans.
  • Battle Boomerang: His weapon of choice. He feels the loss deeply when it is lost.
  • Big Brother Instinct: If you harm his sister, he WILL hurt you — even if it was just an accident. Subverted when Aang tried Firebending and accidentally hurt Katara. Don't publicly vilify her, either. Sokka will defend her actions, even if he just spent an entire episode criticizing them.
    • He's also a bit like this towards Toph, especially during Sozin's comet where he immediately used his body to shield her in order to keep the ship debris form hitting her.
  • Big Eater: Although the play has exaggerated everyone's traits, Sokka does seem to like food more than the other main characters, as seen when he couldn't go a moment without thinking about food.
  • Black Swords Are Better: His space sword.
  • Body Guard Crush: He has feelings for Yue even before he is assigned the task of protecting her. His failure to protect her becomes a burden that he keeps for the rest of the series.
  • Breakout Character: Was originally going to have a smaller role, but he's just so darn awesome they had to keep him in. That and the directors really loved Jack DeSena's voice acting.
  • Break the Haughty: The beginning of the series showed Sokka's had a sexist mentality, who haughtily thinks he's a capable warrior. Thus, he challenges Suki, a Kyoshi warrior, to a fight with the belief he'll win. He doesn't. Afterwards, Sokka is humbled by the defeat and not only drops his sexism but also realizes he needs more combat training.
  • Butt-Monkey: If something unpleasant isn't happen to Zuko, odds are it's happening to Sokka. Also, his first girlfriend turned into the moon, but that particular instance makes him more of The Woobie.
    Zuko: That's rough, buddy.
  • Can't Catch Up: In terms of pure combat, he is this and he is quite aware of it. However, he’s also essentially the Captain America of Avatar: his battle plans are actually the only thing in the world more dangerous than the Avatar State, so it pretty much evens out.
  • Carry a Big Stick: One of his main weapons is a club until he replaces it with a sword.
  • Character Development:
    • In the beginning, he had a cultural Stay in the Kitchen mentality, up until he challenges Suki to a fight in fact. From then on, he completely abandons this way of thinking very quickly and has a 180 in terms of mentality, as he is possibly not only Toph’s biggest fan when she invented Metalbending and enjoys her Boisterous Bruiser personality, but he is also quite the Amazon Chaser in his relationship with Suki and does not treat the females in the series any different than the males.
    • Sokka also developed from his original comic relief role, and overcame his insecurities to become a Badass Normal and tactician.
  • The Chew Toy: Is most frequently the target of Amusing Injuries.
  • Chick Magnet: Suki, Yue, Ty Lee, Toph, and an entire class of poetry students all want a piece of him. The comics add Penga, an unnamed Earth Kingdom girl (but only because she thinks he's the Avatar), and a Fire Nation girl named Ming-Ming when he poses as a "Monster Slayer".
  • Cock Fight: With Hahn, Princess Yue's betrothed whom she doesn't care for.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Has no problem attacking opponents from behind (which might be more effective if he didn't yell, "SNEAK ATTACK!" first...), or doing whatever else it takes to gain an advantage.
  • Companion Cube: His boomerang and later his sword, though moreso the former than the latter.
  • The Complainer Is Always Wrong: Averted. Sokka complains about everything. He's right about half the time, and most of those times, it's on matters of vital importance.
  • Cool Helmet: For the invasion he has a very badass wolf shaped helmet.
  • Cool Sword: After learning swordsmanship he forges his own sword out of a fallen meteor.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: At first he seems like a guy who wants to be a capable warrior but is constantly outstripped by the others. Then, as the series goes on, he turns into a Gadgeteer Genius with a space sword and is a much more capable leader and a skilled fighter to boot, who has gone toe-to-toe and won with such deadly foes as Mai, Wan Shi Tong, and Combustion Man.
    "That's called Sokka Style. Learn it!"
  • Cultured Badass: Yes, actually. He plays the flute well, can improvise haiku extemporaneously, and is literate and quite learned, especially by the standards of a polar tribe.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Along with Katara — mother killed in a Fire Nation raid when they were little, and their father and all the men of the tribe left two years prior to the show's start. This left Katara with abandonment issues, and Sokka feeling that he wasn't good enough as a warrior. It catches up to them later on (Sokka risks his life breaking into a Fire Nation prison, Katara has her dark night of the soul tracking down her mother's killer).
  • Death Glare: 𝐅𝐢𝐫𝐞 𝐋𝐨𝐫𝐝 𝐎𝐳𝐚𝐢 𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐰𝐞 𝐜𝐨&#119846
  • Deadpan Snarker: Probably the biggest one in the series.
  • Defrosting Ice King: Sokka is initially overly-sarcastic and cynical, but eventually becomes a warmer character and more open-minded to the supernatural.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?:
    • "That's called Sokka Style! Learn it!"
    • He's also responsible for killing Combustion Man.
  • The Engineer: In Book 3, Sokka becomes quite knowledgeable in this area, which allowed him to create his "Meteor Sword".
  • Everyone Has Standards: Unlike Jet, Sokka knows that even the Fire Nation has innocent people and won't attack them. He refused to beat up an old man and warned a town run by the Fire Nation of a flood Jet tried to do.
  • Failure Knight: His inability to protect Yue continued to haunt him throughout the series.
  • Fingerless Gloves: Wears a blue pair throughout the entire series.
  • Flanderization: He was subdued and serious in the early episodes, but overtime the creators have said he took on more influence from his voice actor (a comedian) and they expanded his role as comic relief.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: In "The Swamp", he refuses to believe there might be a mystical explanation to the visions, despite all he's been through with Aang.
    Sokka: That's Avatar stuff. It doesn't count.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Heroic example. While all the main characters improve over the course of the series, Sokka's arc takes him from ineffectual comic relief character to decent swordsman, reliable tactician, and overall Badass Normal.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Since Sokka is The Mechanist's protegee, count him in. He came up with the idea for a submarine!
  • Genius Ditz: He's one of the goofiest characters, but when he does engage his brain the plans that fall out of it are usually epic.
  • Giftedly Bad: The only way to characterize his attempts at drawing. He's not just ordinary bad, he's so terrible it's nigh impossible to tell what he was trying to draw at times.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: When he does fight, he usually forgoes the fancy stuff. For instance, after an owl spirit brags about how he's studied every style of Waterbending, Sokka responds by bashing his face in with a book.
  • Guile Hero: He's very good at reading people, which he's used to the Gaang's advantage more than once. For example, he outs Aang as the Avatar in "The Waterbending Scroll" in order to play to the greed of the group of pirates who had them captured and uses the ensuing scuffle with Zuko's soldiers as a get-away plan.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: He often loses his cool when frustrated and will often respond in a Angrish tone.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: He's a hero who uses a sword by Book 3.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: His main love interest is the auburn-haired Suki.
  • He's a Friend: Sokka needs to do this for Prince Zuko in season three. Twice.
  • Hidden Depths: Sokka at first appeared to be nothing more than the Plucky Comic Relief. But it was soon clear that he was also a good fighter despite his lack of powers, and an amazing strategist.
  • I Can't Believe a Guy Like You Would Notice Me: "The Waterbending Master" gives him a literal example, in a gender-flipped version towards Princess Yue.
  • Iconic Item: His boomerang is essential to his identity.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: He wants to be a useful as his Bending friends, so he takes up the sword.
  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die: To Princess Yue.
  • Important Haircut: Grows his hair out in Season 3. Seems to be a trend with the Avatar boys, isn't it? Then he gets back his Season 1 haircut in the end.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: While rarely highlighted, it should be noted that Sokka always hits his target when he throws his boomerang.
    • This was only subverted once, when he missed Mai in "The Chase". Once.
  • Improv Fu: He frequently comes up with battle plans on the fly, including creating bombs to try to simulate fire control, spreading perfume to confuse a creature with super smelling senses, discovering a moment where the Fire Nation would lose their powers and planning invasion on that day, and taking over a Fire Nation blimp on the fly and using it as a projectile against other blimps... just to name a few. His ability to improvise plans was part of the reason the master Piandao accepted him as his student.
  • Instant Expert: Became a decent swordsman in a matter of days/weeks and was able to forge his own sword despite never having even hinted at knowing anything about swordsmithing.
  • In Touch with His Feminine Side: Despite his sexist inclinations in the first few episodes, his sister was the only person his age in his tribe, and it shows. He's often seen with his hands on his hips, he's concerned with things like his belt matching his bag, he takes pride in his "warrior's wolf tail" (basically a glorified ponytail), and shopping always cheers him up: he even does the little fast clapping and yelling "Shopping!" He also wore a full-on dress and makeup in "The Warriors of Kyoshi".
  • Inverse Law of Utility and Lethality: When he was just using a war club he got several shots in on the occasional Villain of the Week. Once he got his sword his usefulness in combat dropped to approximately zip. Made up for it with his tactical skills though.
  • It's All My Fault:
    • He blames himself for letting Yue die, despite her willingness to give her life to save the Moon Spirit. His guilt causes him to be very overprotective of Suki in the second season.
    • His emotions caused the Gaang to miss their opportunity to confront Ozai during the Day of the Black Sun. It also results in most of the rebels being imprisoned by the Fire Nation.
  • Jerkass Ball: Inn "Bato Of The Water Tribe", he ditched Aang without at least hearing out his reason for it, even ignoring Bato when he started to suggest that he at least tries to hear Aang out.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: At times.
    • His initial distrust of Jet was partly motivated by a hint of jealousy at his Badass Normal qualities, but he turns out to be right that Jet is using questionable tactics.
    • Although he had a Jerkass Ball moment in "Bato Of The Water Tribe", mainly from ditching Aang with Katara without at least hearing him out as Bato tried to suggest, his harsh What the Hell, Hero? towards Aang was justified in a way as he really was acting dishonestly towards his colleagues, plus it also does not help that this took place when Sokka was still distrusting and skeptical of Aang early in Book One from the first episode to this one.
    • Sokka attacks Aang for burning Katara's hands. While it was an accident, Sokka was definitely in the right to call out Aang for playing around with a dangerous element, especially given how Jeong Jeong and Katara had warned him to take the training more seriously.
    • Calling Katara out on her Chronic Hero Syndrome in "The Painted Lady", and how this jeopardizes the team's important mission behind enemy lines, is a perfectly reasonable thing to do. While a knight in shining armor will, of course, fight the Fire Nation soldiers and save the oppressed villagers, this is not the wisest thing for an undercover agent to do.
    • The finale has him bluntly tell Aang that he has to kill Ozai or else the Earth Kingdom will perish. While Sokka's advice on killing was somewhat harsh, he wasn't wrong in that Aang needed to face Ozai.
  • Jerkass Realization: He gets this after remembering how painful it was to be left behind after leaving Aang behind.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's sarcastic, pragmatic when it comes to helping strangers, and can be an Insufferable Genius. He's also fiercely loyal, protective to his friends, and the Plucky Comic Relief of the show.
  • Knight In Sour Armor: Shares this role with Zuko. Sokka is typically the most resistant when it comes to helping every Character of the Week with their problems, as he views it as a distraction from their main mission. He's also the most cynical in a group of idealists (again, with the exception of Zuko).
  • Large Ham: While posing as a Fire Nation citizen named Wang Fire.
  • The Leader: Alternates between him and Zuko - a rare case where the position is held by The Smart Guy or The Lancer instead of The Hero.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: He's the linear warrior, Katara is the quadratic wizard. Except he's also The Strategist...
  • Love at First Sight: Towards Princess Yue.
  • Machete Mayhem: Although he does not use it in combat often.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • His name is Japanese for "I understand"; a perfect name for the team strategist.
    • In Zulu, his name means "loverboy", a reference to him being a Chick Magnet and his romantic, loving side to his girlfriends.
  • Moment Killer: Butts in on Aang and Katara more than once.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Like Zuko, both in and out of universe, but on a smaller scale.
  • Mushroom Samba: In The Desert, desperate for water, he drinks water from a cactus. Said water turns out to have a funky effect that makes him lose it several times with strange behavior and cartoony art style for the whole episode.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Though he doesn't say it in "Bato Of The Water Tribe", but when he hears Bato tell about how he had been left behind due to being injured, he remembers being left behind too. And after how he yelled at Aang for hiding his father's map, he was probably thinking this.
  • My Greatest Failure: Sokka blames himself for not keeping Yue safe.
    • To a lesser extent, he blames himself for wasting the time on the Eclipse on Azula even after telling the others that she's just there to buy time.
  • Noble Bigot: Sokka is a bit sexist for the first few episodes, believing that women should Stay in the Kitchen and out of the fighting. After getting to know a group of female warriors firsthand and realizing their fighting capabilities, he realizes that his views were incorrect and learns to respect women and girls. After that it's gone.
  • Non Sequitur: Expect Sokka's dialogue to consist primarily of this whenever he's sick or under the influence of something (i.e. cactus juice). Even without outside influence, though, he has a tendency to say random things - like at the North Pole, when the Gaang is trying to decide how to transport a captured Zuko, the first thing Sokka says is about the quality of rope Zuko had with him.
  • Noodle Incident: Apparently, he had once gotten a fish hook stuck in his thumb. So he tries to get that out...with another fish hook.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Uses this to trick Wan Shi Ton.
    Wan Shi Ton: You're not very bright are you?
    Sokka: (Under his breath) Bright enough to fool you.
  • Oblivious to His Own Description: He fails to recognize when Suki is talking about him.
    Suki: I lost someone I care about. He didn't die. He just went away. I only had a few days to get to know him, but he was smart, and brave and funny.
    Sokka: Who is this guy? Is he taller than me?
    Suki: No. He's about your height.
    Sokka: Is he better looking?
    Suki: It is you, stupid!
  • Over Shadowed By Awesome: In a group which can control nature itself, Sokka only has his wits and he knows it.
  • Playing Pictionary: Sokka's drawings are so bad that this trope ends up occurring every time he attempts to draw something.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: One of the main sources of the series' comic relief.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: Sokka is a bit sexist for the first few episodes, believing that women should Stay in the Kitchen and out of the fighting. It's somewhat justified as his father, the chieftain, left him behind with the women and children when all the other men went to war. To comfort him, he told him that it wasn't because he was too young but because someone would have to stay and protect the village and he should be honored to be entrusted with this important duty. After finding out that the Kyoshi Warriors have actual training and experience as soldiers and are much more skilled than him, he starts to adjust his views, though it still takes some time to completely get over his prejudices.
  • Properly Paranoid: Doubles with The Complainer Is Always Wrong. His suspicions of Jet and Hama are proven right.
  • Real Men Eat Meat: He even labels himself "the meat and sarcasm guy" in the episode "Bitter Work".
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Sokka is strong warrior, likes to eat meat, and has a way with the ladies, however he enjoys softer things like poetry and shopping. Case in point, he once was happy that a bag he bought matched the Earth Rumble championship belt Aang won.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gives this to the villagers in "The Painted Lady". When they decry Katara from impersonating the Painted Lady, he snaps at them, saying that she saved them and they should be grateful.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: While he has a tendency to be blunt and rather snarky he is more logical and focused on the mission at hand, while Katara's actions are mainly fueled by her emotions, making him the Blue Oni to Katara's Red.
  • Religious Russian Roulette: He bargains with the powers that be to give up meat and sarcasm in exchange for getting him out of a hole.
  • Retail Therapy: In the episode "Sokka's Master", Sokka feels depressingly disengaged from the action because of his inability to bend like the rest of the Gaang. He copes with this by shopping.
  • Sad Clown: Sokka shows signs of this, as well. While usually a complete goofball in groups or around Katara, when confiding in friends or by himself, he shows that he's actually very insecure and sad; his mother died when he was a child, his father left to fight a war a few years later, he's (initially) the only muggle in a group of superpowered warriors, and even he believes that he might be too goofy to be of any real help. As he gains more confidence during the series, his jokester tendencies become slightly less pronounced and he becomes more easy-going than lazy.
  • Sarcastic Devotee: Primarily in Season 1 and somewhat in Season 2.
    Sokka: If I can just get out of this situation alive, I'll give up meat... and sarcasm. Okay? Ow! That's all I got. That's pretty much my whole identity: Sokka, the meat and sarcasm guy. But I'm willing to be Sokka, the veggies and straight-talk fellow. Deal?
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: As noticed by Toph in The Promise, when Sokka calls her out on her tendency to use her earthbending to send him down slides:
    Sokka: You've really been into slides lately!
    Toph: I enjoy hearing your girlish scream.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man:
    • The sarcastic, grounded Manly Man to Aang's sweet, playful Sensitive Guy.
    • But is the joking, romantic Sensitive Guy himself to Zuko's tough and snarly no-nonsense Manly Man when they end up working together.
  • Shipper on Deck: He subtly shipped Aang and Katara. Sokka realized rather quickly that Aang had feelings for Katara and took delight in mocking him a bit.
    Sokka: Smoochy, smoochy! Someone's in love!
  • Shopping Montage: At a weapons store, but still has the demeanor of a teenaged girl with daddy's credit card.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: In Book 1, Sokka saw himself as the epitome of a warrior when in reality he was the least combat-capable member in the group (after Katara learned waterbending).
  • The Smart Guy: Whenever things can't be handled with brute force of either bending or personality, he's almost always in charge.
    Sokka: Why are you all looking at me?
    Aang: You're the idea guy.
    Sokka: So I'm the only one who can ever come up with a plan? That's a lot of pressure.
  • Species Surname: Used for an alias. When infiltrating the Fire Nation, Sokka and Katara pose as the native-born citizen Wang Fire and his wife Sapphire.
  • The Spock: To Aang's Kirk and Katara's McCoy. Sokka is the most grounded, and is reluctant in helping others on his journey, not out of cowardice, but logic and keeping a low profile.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: With Princess Yue.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Sokka plays it straight until he gets Character Development after meeting Suki. The next time he meets her, he now has an overprotective attitude, since his last girlfriend turned into the moon. As it turns out, the only reason she came along in the first place was that she had the same attitude towards him.
  • The Strategist: His main role is to think up strategies to defeat the enemies. This possibly gives him the highest kill count in the series when one of his plans takes out an entire airship fleet in the Grand Finale. Aang's Koizilla rampage might match it, but Sokka competes with nothing but brains. Airship slice!
  • Straw Vulcan: When they're trying to help people he's cast in this light, but subverted in "The Fortuneteller"
  • Strong Girl, Smart Guy: With Suki. Sokka is The Smart Guy always in charge to come up with ingenious inventions and battle plans, while his eventual girlfriend Suki is a tough Lady of War and the leader of the Kyoshi Warriors.
  • Successful Sibling Syndrome: He started out having no respect for Katara's waterbending, but once Toph joined, he eventually took up sword-fighting so he could feel like he had something to contribute to the team.
  • Team Dad: Despite being the Plucky Comic Relief, Sokka functions as this in Katara-centric episodes. Normally, Aang is the one wanting to pursue a Side Quest and Katara is trying to keep them on track. When it's her turn, Sokka turns into the Straight Man. He also plays the role more seriously in the third season, where he organizes and schedules the gang's adventure until the Day of Black Sun. He realizes he is terrible at this role and eventually Zuko takes over as Team Dad.
  • The Team Normal: The only non-bender on the Team Avatar until Suki joins the team. Lampshaded in Book 3's fourth episode.
  • Teen Genius: He's only 15, and is already a considerable tactician.
  • Terrible Artist: His drawings are so terrible that people end up Playing Pictionary.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: In the finale, he loses his sword for good when he throws it at a catwalk on a Fire Nation airship and manages to slice clean through it. What kind of rock was that meteorite made of?
  • Throw the Book at Them: "That's Sokka style! Learn it!"
  • Thunderbolt Iron: His Cool Sword, which he forged himself out of a meteor, is made of this.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Sokka started off as an untrained would-be warrior who couldn't handle a fight without help. Over time, he becomes a keen strategist and decent swordsman.
  • Took a Level in Idealism: Team Cynic Sokka for a short while after the Gaang finally get Appa back because he feels like their life is finally looking up, and he actually agrees with Aang's plan to talk to the earth king. Naturally this gets lampshaded by the rest of the cast and the episode ends on an ominous note.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Sokka still keeps his sarcastic tendencies, but he really changes a lot by the series finale. He lost all of his sexist beliefs, grew to love Aang over time (just think back to their first encounter), and was just a generally more nicer person.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Sokka likes any form of meat - particularly blubbered seal jerky.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: Gender-flipped. Don't insult or hurt his girlfriends. The Suki one is particularly strong, as he knew Azula was trying to provoke him, and fell for it anyway.
  • Vocal Evolution: In the opposite direction of Katara above. Even his voice acting starts out deeper and more mature, until roughly about "The Kyoshi Warriors".
  • Weak, but Skilled: In a World... where most of the main characters can control the various elements he's still the most Normal of the Badass Normal characters. To deal with that, Sokka often uses strategies and his weapons to bring down his enemies. He's also very resourceful and a fast learner - see 'Sokka's Master' and how quickly he picks up swordsmanship having not been shown to have any prior experience in that particular weapon. He has also grown up in a tribe which relied on non-bending forms of combat for decades and picked up a lot on his own before being formally trained. That would have helped a lot when he met Piandao.
    • Lampshaded in the comic "Swordbending". While Sokka is an impressive swordsman, Zuko, the swordsmanship Teen Genius of the show, pretty much schools him in every round of their Sokka-dubbed "Swordbending Kai".
    • Also lampshaded by Piandao himself, who tells Sokka that he didn't select him for his skill, but rather for his heart, honesty, courage, and smarts.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Fortunately, his father is already very proud of him and he just needed to hear it.
  • Would Hit a Girl: A little too eager to give Azula a piece of his boomerang or sword.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Occasionally sounds like he's trying to fast talk the DM.
    Sokka: Suki! You know about sea monsters you talk to it!
    Suki: Just because I live by the Unagi doesn't make me an expert!
    Sokka: [picks up Momo] Oh great sea serpent, please accept this humble and tasty offering!


Toph Beifong (北方 拓芙)

Voiced by: Jessie Flower (original), Ximena Marchant (Latin American Spanish)

"I love fighting. I love being an Earthbender. And I'm really, really good at it."

As a child, Toph was thought of as frail due to her blindness and was kept from the outside world by her overprotective rich father. Toph found an outlet by becoming an Earthbending master, even learning to "see" by sensing vibrations in the Earth. Because of this, she was selected to be Aang's Earthbending teacher. Though she has a bit of an attitude problem out of a desire to prove her independence, she makes up for it with her blunt insight and all-around roughness. Also the first Metalbender in history, which she's rightfully proud of. Was originally written as a boy in the early planning stages.

  • Achilles' Heel: She's very reliant on her "tremor sense" to function. Unfortunately, it isn't foolproof, and has quite a few holes in it. First, she can't sense anything in water or the air. As such, she can't swim and she is extremely vulnerable to aerial attacks. Second, standing on anything other then solid earth will affect her "vision," making her weaker or helpless depending on circumstances. When she stands on wood, she had to hold Aang's arm while walking. Finally, taking out her footing or injuring her feet will leave her truly blind until she recovers.
  • Affirmative Action Girl: The second girl in the second season.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Well, Girl: Toph, Toph, Toph. She is a blind little girl that loudly declares herself the greatest earthbender in the world whenever she gets the chance. She is absolutely right. She participated in an underground fighting tournament and quickly became its champion, repeatedly gets into fights with huge guys with arms larger than she is just to curbstomp them seconds later, developed metalbending, and embraces this trope. When she found out that the play chronicling their adventures was portraying her as a burly man who sees by screaming, she was ecstatic.
  • Badass Adorable: Just a little girl (though you wouldn't know it from the way she acts) but it's a tossup for strongest earthbender in the series between her and Bumi.
  • Badass Boast: She calls herself "the greatest Earthbender in the world" after escaping an inescapable cage, horrifying her captors.
  • Badass Teacher: She teaches Aang Earthbending.
  • Badbutt: A tiny blind girl who acts like a pro wrestler within the bounds of a kid's show. Director commentary mentions it was hilarious to watch Jessie Flower, an adorable, angel-faced little girl, spout wrestler trash talk during recordings.
  • Beyond the Impossible: Toph invents metalbending, something that was stated to be impossible for other earthbenders to do so.
  • The Big Gal: Not physically, but by personality and by her elemental powers. Lampshaded in "The Ember Island Players" when an actual big guy plays her in the play about written about the Gaang's adventures.
  • Bizarre Alien Senses: Her ability to "see" using Earthbending counts as this, as the closest thing to it in real life could be snakes or elephant's ability to detect low-frequency sounds through the ground.
  • Black Comedy: Has absolutely no problem exploiting her blindness for a laugh or to make a point.
  • Black Magician Girl: A twelve-year-old tomboy and snark goddess who deals mountains of damage to baddies. She also loves dealing out a good offensive smackdown using her earthbending.
  • Blinding Bangs: In the Super Deformed Shorts and some of the comics. Though, they can't actually make her more blind...
  • Blind Mistake:
    • While struggling in the water in "The Serpent's Pass", she mistakes Suki for Sokka and kiss hers on the cheek.
    • She tries to prove she can put up posters despite her blindness and pastes them up on the wrong side
  • Blind Weaponmaster: A blind earthbending master.
  • Blue Blood: The Beifongs are a well-known family, complete with a family crest. Toph is usually not one to flaunt it, but her aristocratic background has come in handy in a few occasions.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: "All right! Let's break some rules!" SMASH!
  • Break the Haughty: Was a bit of a Bratty Half-Pint and Entitled Bastard when she first joined the Gaang. After being told by Iroh that good friends help one another out, she starts to mellow, but it isn't until she fails to protect Appa from being kidnapped that humility really becomes a significant virtue for her.
  • Bruiser with a Soft Center: Shows affection by punching people.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: When the gang needs to infiltrate high society she says Aang and Sokka would stick out like sore thumbs. When they point out that she's the biggest slob in the group, she fires back that she was a Lonely Rich Kid whose parents forced her to act cultured, she just chooses not to.
  • Brutal Honesty: Toph was often brutally honest when criticizing others, especially her friends. She was vocal about her opinions on others regardless of status (the Avatar, Aang) or age (Iroh).
  • Child Prodigy: One of the youngest benders we see, yet she is already one of the most powerful non-Avatar Earthbenders. Also invented Metalbending on the fly while captured, which was believed to be an impossible skill. And by the finale she was able to Sandbend, despite saying that she hated sand in Season 2.
  • Cool Crown: By "The Promise" she's switched out her headband for a green tiara; reflecting her new position as head of the Beifong Metalbending Academy.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • The episode The Blind Bandit features her delivering one of these to the group of professional earthbenders in an underground Earthbending tournament, "Earth Rumble Six."
    • In "The Earth King", she, along with Team Avatar, easily decimates the palace guards on their way to find the Earth King.
  • Cute Bruiser: The shortest of all of Team Avatar, she manages to dole out the most whoopass of all of them.
  • Dig Attack: Toph can do this: since she "sees" through vibrations in the ground, she knows where the enemy is even underground.
  • Disability Superpower: Although blindness isn't a requisite for an Earthbender to use her method of "seeing", it did lead her to focus her earth senses to an unprecedented degree, allowing her to perceive things approaching or beneath her in great detail and leading in turn to her invention of Metalbending.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Along with Disabled Snarker. Some of the show's best lines are from Toph, especially when she's talking trash to her opponents. For instance:
    Toph (to Bumi): Look, Pops, just because you're as old as dirt doesn't mean you know how to bend it.
  • Disabled Snarker: Mostly at Sokka's expense. See the Forgot the Disability entry below for some of her best snark.
  • Dishing Out Dirt: Like every Earthbender.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Justified in that because she's blind, her bare feet are her strongest connection to the world. Anything that's not solid ground (or even moderate bandaging) dampens her "vision". The animators pay special attention to this; whenever she's shown asleep, she has her feet out of contact with the ground as the equivalent of "closing her eyes."
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: During Aang's earthbending training, she was tough, critical and used methods like "hold still while a large boulder rolling towards you".
  • Dude Magnet: There's Satoru in the comic who took an instant liking to Toph. Then, there's the two men who fathered her daughters, one's name being Kanto.
  • Evil Laugh: She laughs maniacally when acting as the Melon Lord.
  • Extra-ore-dinary: Invented Metalbending. On the fly too!
  • The Face: The youngest and yet the one with the most social savvy, due to being raised by rich socialites. Technically, being the Avatar, it should be Aang but Toph is usually the one doing the talking.
  • Foil:
    • To Mai, in a way. Both were raised by very fancy families that suppressed them, Toph's parents overprotecting her because of her blindness and Mai's parents keeping her well-behaved so she didn't jeopardize her dad's political career. Toph responded by defying her parents, acting out and really enjoying her earthbending, whereas Mai obeyed them, becoming very insular and apathetic to almost everything.
    • In The Rift, she's contrasted with Aang. Their upbringings are quite different, as Monk Gyatso believed in letting Aang be a kid, while Toph's parents forced her to learn tradition and propriety. As a result, Toph wonders if Aang is trying to hold onto his past, while Aang wonders if Toph is trying too hard to run away from her past.
  • Friendless Background: Due to being sheltered from the outside world by her EXTREMELY overprotective parents, she'd never made a friend before meeting the Gaang. Her integration with the team was integral to her character development. The only friends she had were badgermoles.
  • Forgot the Disability: The rest of the Gaang (especially Sokka) tends to forget about her disability, leading to many of Toph's great one-liners.
    Sokka: It's so dark in here, I can't see a thing!
    Toph: Oh no, what a nightmare!
    Sokka: Sorry.
    • Subverted in the finale when Sokka, Toph and Suki take over a Fire Nation airship:
      Toph: That's a great idea, let the blind girl steer the giant airship.
      Sokka: I was talking to Suki.
      Toph: That...would make a lot more sense.
    • In one episode it happens twice:
      Sokka: Toph, when I was in town, I found something that you're not gonna like. [holds up wanted poster for Toph]
      Toph: Well it sounds like a sheet of paper, but I'm guessing you're referring to what's on the sheet of paper.
      Katara: What's this? [holds up the same poster]
      Toph: I don't know! I mean seriously, what's with you people? I'm blind!
    • Have a look-see already...Whoops wait!
  • The Gadfly: Likes to use her blindness to mess with the rest of the Gaang, such as saying that Sokka's poorly drawn picture of Appa looks just like him, or shouting that she's spotted Wan Shi Tong's Library while the Gaang is flying on Appa's back.
    Toph: There it is!
    [everyone scans in the direction she's pointing, and one by one, silently glare at Toph]
    Toph: ... that's what it'll sound like when one of you spots it.
    [Toph puts on a big, dopey grin and waves one of her hands back and forth over her eyes]
  • Girl of My Dreams: A non-romantic example. Aang sees Toph in a vision before ever having met her. When they do run into her a short time later, Aang is positively convinced that she, and no-one else, is destined to be his Earthbending teacher.
  • Good Is Not Nice: May be just as heroic, brave and self-sacrificing as any other member of the Gaang, still is a bit of a jerk who rarely opens up to anybody.
  • Handicapped Badass: She's blind but can "see" by sensing vibrations with her feet.
  • Has a Type: All of her crushes and love interests are decent guys.
  • Hidden Depths: Toph and Katara's tale in The Tales of Ba Sing Se makes it clear that for all her claims of not caring what others think of her looks, Toph is actually quite hurt by such rejection.
  • Hot-Blooded: There's a reason why the Ember Island Players chose to portray her the way they did.
    "I am not Toph! I am MELON LORD! MUAHAHAHA!"
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: A mild case, and it's kept in the background for the most part. It's most evident during "Tales Of Ba Sing Se" and whenever her Achilles' Heel is hit.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: With Iroh, but hey, it's Iroh.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: As rude as she is, she is right at times:
    • When the group were all arguing due to exhaustion, she was the first to point out that Appa's shedding was the reason why Azula and co. were able to keep following them and thus why they couldn't sleep, but she took it too far by blaming Appa (though that could also be due to sleep deprivation).
    • She also called out Aang, Katara, and Sokka on letting their personal experiences with Zuko prevent Aang from finding a firebending master quite bluntly, despite her pointing out that he was being sincere to them and he has done some good, like rescuing Appa. This is rather astounding, because she never cared about these things during her debut, but later on, she sees the bigger picture.
      Toph: You're all forgetting one crucial fact: Aang needs a firebending teacher! We can't think of a single person in the world to do the job. Now one shows up on a silver platter, and you won't even think about it!? I'm beginning to wonder who's really the blind one around here
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite her tough exterior, Toph is not above warming up during intimate moments, as evidenced when she joined in group hugs with Team Avatar and held hands with Aang at the prospect of friendships lasting more than one lifetime.
  • The Lad-ette: The musclebound, belching, spitting hulk that was in the play near the end of the story? That's Toph on the inside.
  • Large Ham: A rare little girl variant.
  • Lessons in Sophistication: Surprisingly, she does this. She was born into Earth Kingdom High society, so she knows how to act like a proper lady, she just chooses not to. She's able to help clean up Katara for a palace party hosted by the Earth King but she doesn't even attempt with Sokka and Aang. They're that hopeless.
  • Little Miss Badass: She's only twelve, but she's one of the most badass characters in the entire series.
  • Little Miss Con Artist: In "The Runaway", she along with Sokka and Aang decide to gain money by exploiting people's notion that since Toph is blind she's no threat.
  • Living Lie Detector: Through her 'vibration sense', although some characters do get away with lying on some occasions. More specifically, she seems unable to detect the falsehoods of the psychopathic or pathological liars, who can say the most ludicrous or subtle lie without it having any kind of effect on their physiology for her to pick up on at all like Azula
  • Lonely Rich Kid: A fact that she dealt with by joining an underground fighting tournament and mopping the floor with anyone who challenged her.
  • Meaningful Name: Played with. In "The Serpent's Pass", the name on her passport reads 拓芙 "supported lotus", which hardly describes Toph herself, but matches her parents' view of her being delicate and helpless. Averted in "The Tales of Ba Sing Se" where the spelling of her name temporarily changed to 托夫 "entrusted man", before going back to 拓芙 in "The Earth King".
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: In Toph's case, this relates specifically to her earthbending. She is clearly very strong for her size and age, often hurting her teammates, no pushovers themselves, with playful punches. However, situations where she lacks earthbending tend to emphasize her helplessness. This is partly because it takes away the Disability Superpower that allows her to bypass her blindness, but she never demonstrates superior martial arts skills when not aided by her earthbending.
  • Never Learned to Read: Justified by the fact that she's blind in a world without Braille. As such, Sokka's plan to forge a letter from Toph to help her reconcile with Katara falls flat.
  • The Nicknamer: Calls Aang "Twinkle Toes", as he's very light on his feet (well, compared to the powerful, deliberate stomps of a master Earthbender like herself, anyway)
  • No Hero to His Valet: One of Toph's defining characteristics is that she doesn't give Aang special treatment even though he's the Avatar. He may be the student, but she treats him like an equal and friend, to the point where she never fails to vocally criticize Aang to his face when she thinks it's needed.
  • Not Hyperbole: When she says that she is the greatest earthbender in the world, you better believe she can back that claim up. This is the girl who duelled King Bumi, who literally had a hundred years of experience on him, and she fought him to a draw! At age 12! Even earlier, she figured out how to subvert a Weaksauce Weakness of Earthbending by figuring out Metalbending, which none in history had done before. In The Legend of Korra, this claim still applies.
  • Obfuscating Disability: While her eyes honestly do not work, she occasionally hides her Earthbending-linked tremorsense to play up the appearance of a helpless blind little girl.
  • Overly Narrow Superlative: In the North and South comic, Toph describes the Beifong Metalbending Academy as "the most prestigious metalbending school in the world". One of her students points out they're the only school but she sees it as the point since they do something that used to be considered impossible until she learned how to do it.
  • The Pig Pen: A mild case. Despite eschewing most sorts of hygiene, especially where her feet are concerned, she doesn't look it unless attention is drawn to it. She mentions that she picks her nose a lot.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: This girl is absolutely tiny being a little over 4 feet tall, but her only non-Avatar rival in Earthbending is King Bumi.
  • Power Levels: Mentioned in an interview. According to Word of God, she's the strongest bender in the Gaang (though this obviously doesn't count Aang in the Avatar State).
  • Rebellious Princess: Not actually royalty but close enough. Toph rebels against her parents because of how they stifle her freedom due to their overprotectiveness.
  • Recruited from the Gutter: Inverted. The Lonely Rich Kid is recruited by the itinerant monk and his two near-penniless sidekicks. However, Toph very much lives as if she's in the gutter.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The snarky, blunt red to Katara's demure, caring blue.
  • Reflectionless Useless Eyes: She has these eyes to show she's blind.
  • Sad Clown: Toph, when all is said and done, has more baggage than a cargo ship: she was always treated as a fragile thing by her parents, ran away from home after they said they'd be even more strict about protecting her (even after she showed first-hand that she was already one of the best earthbenders in the world at TWELVE), is legitimately torn over how she must have broken her parents hearts and makes them worry as a result, feels responsible for Appa having been kidnapped, and is actually terribly insecure about her blindness (despite acting like it's a non-issue normally). Outwardly, she seems like a total snark-bender who doesn't really care about anything, save for her friends.
  • Sadistic Choice: Was forced to choose between saving Appa from Sandbenders or saving the rest of the Gaang from a building that was being pulled into the Spirit World. She tried to Take a Third Option, but her Achilles' Heel was active at the time.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: As a member of a powerful merchant family, she flashes her gold-bordered passport and makes up something about "valets" and a "seeing-eye lemur" to get entry passes to Ba Sing Se for herself and the rest of the Gaang from a humorless border official. Unfortunately it doesn't work as well when she later tries to bluff her way into the Earth King's party without invitations.
  • Sent Into Hiding: She was this until meeting Aang. Her overprotective parents kept her locked inside the grounds of their home (although she was able to sneak out to work as a wrestler).
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Almost immediately we see the rough wrestler become a well dressed lady in her intro.
  • Sheltered Aristocrat: She was raised to be this due to her blindness, but over the years she became much less sheltered thanks to figuring out how to leave the grounds in secret and learning how to earthbend.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: All of Toph's love interests happened to be nice guys.
    • She had a huge crush on Sokka, but dropped it after he and Suki became a couple.
    • The comics has her being ship teased with Satoru, who considers her a his hero; needless to say, his praising of her melted the ice.
    • The sequel series, has her reveals Lin's father — Kanto, who she deemed a "nice man", but their relationship didn't work out for reasons unknown.
  • Sour Supporter: Sometimes. She often vocally expresses her doubt in the group's plans, but will help them.
  • Static Character: Compared to the other mains, Toph doesn't get a lot of Character Development. Lampshaded in the time Aang goes missing days before Sozin's Comet arrive. When Sokka proposes to split up into groups to find him, Toph offers to go with Prince Zuko, declaring that Aang, Katara and Sokka got to have a Character Development adventure with him note , and now its her turn. We see her trying to talk to him about her mother, but he isn't much interested so she drops it, and no such development is had.
    • The sequel comics are attempting to avert this. She learns some humility while teaching Metalbending and her Ship Tease with Sato gives some insight to her interpersonal skills. Probably done so the Toph from the Legend of Korra can be seen to develop.
  • Street Smart: Part of why she's the Team Face: she knows how to take advantage of street situations, such as in "The Runaway." And it's more than just the street. At the custom official and for the Earth King's party she was the one doing the talking.
  • Tailor-Made Prison: In Season 2, she gets trapped in a steel cage, with her captors convinced that she can't escape because she can't bend metal. Turns out that it did help her develop her new ability to metalbend. However, in Season 3, when she is put in a wooden cage, this time she really can't escape on her own, as wood is not a bendable substance.
  • Tiny Tyrannical Girl: She stated that she likes bossing people around.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Katara's role as the Team Mom and Lady of War fighting tactics mean that she often clashes with Toph's more laid-back, One of the Guys mannerisms.
  • Tomboy with a Girly Streak: She kicks ass and doesn't take crap from anybody, but she does know high society manners and actually enjoys her spa day with Katara in "Tales of Ba Sing Se".
  • Took a Level in Badass: Toph was already a Master Earthbender when the Gaang found her. She could take on most any Earthbender, save Bumi, and win easily. How does she become even more badass? By developing Metalbending, something no one in the history of the world had done before.
  • Tsundere: She shows affection for someone by punching their arm. She's usually at her softest around Sokka but only at certain times, like she missed him but won't admit it.
  • Waif-Fu: Subverted. It looks like she has superhuman physical strength, but she's really just using earthbending to lift things around her. When using only her own physical strength she's actually quite weak, as shown when trying to lift a large metal mallet.
  • The Watson: Not so much in personality - she actually tends to be the most knowledgeable of the Gaang, who are all Country Mice - but her blindness means other characters will read stuff (all in Chinese or Japanese characters) out loud to her, and thus, the audience.
  • "Well Done, Daughter!" Girl: Toph has a case of this, though unlike Zuko, it's more of trying to get her father to accept her for who she is as opposed to trying to please him.
  • The Worf Effect:
    • Her tremorsense isn't limited to what's in front of her, goes right through cover, and has a range of over a hundred meters, so as long as she's part of the Gaang, no-one can sneak up on them. They wrote around this for twenty-six episodes, but the instant she gets her feet burnt, Combustion Man shows up and starts blowing everything to rubble.
    • In "The Library", Toph comments that the desert sand puts her at a relative disadvantage, as the looseness of it messes with the vibrations in the ground and blurs her vision. This ends up contributing to her failure to protect Appa from being caught by the sandbenders. Toph was already struggling to defend Appa because she also had to concentrate on keeping the library from sinking into the ground, but even when Toph tried to attack the sandbenders, her aim would be slightly off due to the shiftiness of the sand. Eventually, Toph realized she had to cut her losses and put all of her effort into holding up the library, sadly allowing for Appa's capture.
  • Yamato Nadeshiko: She can fake it perfectly, as when she shows up in a white dress in her parents' home - except she really, really dislikes it. Before leaving home she moonlights as a pro wrestler, and once she's free of her parents' supervision and can act the way she wants to, she proves to be very crude, aggressive, and unladylike indeed.
  • You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious: In more serious moments, she refrains from using nicknames.
  • Younger Mentor, Older Disciple: Toph is the youngest out of all the people to teach Aang bending who is technically older than most of his mentors anyway. Toph however one-ups them by being younger than Aang physically too.


Suki (蘇琪)

Voiced by: Jennie Kwan (original), Maureen Herman and Loreto Araya (Latin American Spanish)
Click here  to see her out of her Kyoshi Warrior uniform.

"I am a warrior, but I'm a girl, too."

Leader of Kyoshi Warriors, Suki served as an early mentor and love interest for Sokka. Although she's dedicated to her job, she does have a soft side that comes out when Sokka's around. After the Yue incident, Sokka became a bit overprotective of her even though she's probably more capable than he is. And for good reason — after running afoul of Azula, she was presumed dead for quite some time. Fortunately, she was alive and became a permanent member of the group just in time for the final showdown.

  • 11th-Hour Ranger: She joins the Gaang two episodes before the four-part Grand Finale.
  • Affirmative Action Girl: In Season 3, giving Team Avatar an equal ratio of females and males.
  • Ascended Extra: A minor character in Book 1, her prominence gradually increases before she finally becomes a main character in Book 3.
  • Badass Normal: To the point of Charles Atlas Superpower. She stands as being one of the only people to fight Ty Lee to a draw (Sokka did manage to dodge her blows. Suki just blocks them), and managed to walk away - relatively speaking - from a fight with Azula.
  • Breakout Character: Suki was intended as a one-off character for Sokka's character development, but she was such a popular character that she became an Ascended Extra and even got a Relationship Upgrade with Sokka. And then she became a full blown 11th-Hour Ranger, actually joining the team on a permanent basis during the second half of Season 3.
  • The Bus Came Back: Sokka feels a lot better when Suki comes back on an airship.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Suki was a borderline case until "Boiling Rock, Part II" when she ran up a thirty foot wall.
  • Combat Hand Fan: While serving as a Kyoshi Warrior, her weapon of choice.
  • Cool Mask: Of the "Cool Face Paint" variety. The paint conceals her identity well enough that Sokka didn't recognize her when he met her without it.
  • First Girl Wins: The first person introduced in the show with whom Sokka has romantic chemistry. Subverted slightly in that it merely culminates with a chaste kiss on the cheek at the end of their first encounter, whereas Sokka falls head over heels in love with Yue at pretty much first sight later on. That said, it's clear that they still have romantic feelings for each other immediately upon being reunited in Season 2, and Suki becomes Sokka's permanent love interest from that point forward (outside of some very mild flirting Sokka does with Ty Lee in "The Drill" and his attempts to impress some girls in "The Tales of Ba Sing Se").
  • Girl of the Week: She was originally intended to be this, but was brought back and made a permanent love interest due to fandom demand.
  • Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: The Kyoshi Warriors, just like their namesake.
  • Lady of War: She uses an unarmed fighting style reminiscent of Aikido and wields more ladylike war fans. She looks the part more while in her Kyoshi Warrior uniform.
  • Laugh of Love: She tends to laugh when she's with Sokka, and their relationship works out much better than his one with Princess Yue.
  • Le Parkour: In "The Boiling Rock", while Sokka and co. are trying to think up a plan, she climbs three stories and kicks all kinds of ass while doing so, and does it all in the span of about two minutes. Three minutes, tops.
  • A Mother to Her Men: Or, as the case may be, a mother to her Kyoshi Warriors. She tags along with the Gaang along the Serpent's Pass, then goes back to the other Warriors.
  • Meaningful Name: "Suki" can mean "beloved" in Japanese and is an expression of love. She's introduced primarily as a love interest. It also sounds similar to the Japanese word for moon, "tsuki", connecting her to Yue, Sokka's other (though short-lived) love interest.
    • Also, "suki" in Filipino means a recurring patron or customer (especially of a business). Considering The Bus Came Back, this seems quite apt.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: She easily outwrestled the warden at Boiling Rock prison, in spite of his arms being thicker than her chest.
  • Nice Girl: Suki was tough, assertive, and not afraid to speak her mind; but at the same time, she had a compassionate and loyal spirit.
  • Ninja: She's elite warrior who has trained for many years in the art of stealth.
  • Plucky Girl: She leaves Kyoshi Island to help out with the war and manages to hold up pretty well after being captured and imprisoned.
  • Pride: It's subtle, but she doesn't respond well to having her failures pointed out. When Sokka insists she admit he beat her in a sparring session, Suki forcibly bends his finger backwards and insists it was a lucky shot. After Suki mocks Team Avatar's win/loss record and Sokka responds by pointing out Azula took her captive, she flatly asks him if he's trying to get on her bad side.
  • Second Love: Suki was the second girl Sokka fell in love with, after the ascension of Yue.
  • She's Back: Officially joined the Gaang towards the end of the series.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Suki starts to show affection for Sokka after he humbles himself and asks her to teach him the Kyoshi fighting style (even agreeing to wear a dress) and apologizes for being rude to her and the other warriors.
  • Static Character: Suki's a mature and feminine warrior who stays that way as the other characters come of age.
  • Strong Girl, Smart Guy: With Sokka. Suki is a tough warrior and the leader of the Kyoshi Warriors, while Sokka is The Smart Guy always in charge to come up with ingenious inventions and battle plans.
  • Tareme Eyes: She has round eyes without her Kyoshi Warrior makeup.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Improved a lot from her debut is Season 1 and being captured in Season 2 to going blow-for-blow with Ty Lee in Season 3. Well, she wasn't exactly a pushover in her debut, but getting curb stomped by Azula and her mooks hurt her credibility before she came back swinging in Season 3.
  • Tsurime Eyes: She has narrow, upwards arching eyes with her Kyoshi Warrior makeup.
  • Twofer Token Minority: She is both a girl and from a Japanese-inspired culture, whereas most of the Earth Kingdom (and even the Fire Nation in the original series, though less so in the sequels) is (largely) Chinese-derived.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: In The Promise, she tells Mai about her concerns about Zuko, leading Mai to leave Zuko. This drives Zuko further into despair and worsens the overall situation.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Is the only member of Team Avatar whom we get no mention of or see, either physically or in flashback form, in The Legend of Korra leaving her fate after the end of the series unknown.
  • The Worf Effect: She and the other girl warriors, who were presented as competent in their first appearance episode, were easily defeated by Azula and her minions and then locked up in a Fire Nation prison, where she needed Team Avatar to help her escape.


Prince Zuko (祖寇)

Voiced by: Dante Basco (teenager), Elijah Runcorn (child) (original); Pablo Ausensi (teenager) and Ariel Seisdedos (child) (Latin American Spanish)

"I don't need luck. 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.

Despite being an antagonist, serves as the Deuteragonist, making him just as important as the good guys on Team Avatar.

  • The Ace: Definitely not at the beginning of the series, but by the time the show ends and the comics roll around, Zuko is a master swordsman, experienced with throwing knives and knifeplay, skilled at hand-to-hand combat, one of the greatest natural physical talents in the franchise, a master firebender (and a powerful one at that), a skilled tactician, and a competent public speaker and leader. And if the battle in the first installment of comics is anything to go by, capable military strategist also goes on the list.
    • In terms of Firebending prowess, he was initially Overshadowed by Awesome compared to his family but later on proved to be a late bloomer, capable of matching Azula blow-for-blow even in her more lucid moments and mastering many advanced techniques such as flight and Lightning Redirection.
    • Also, Zuko's actions in undoing the damage of the past and working with Aang to guide the world in a new era left behind a legacy all of his preceding Firelord's can only dream of, and ironically did a much better job of sharing the Fire Nation's wealth and development with the rest of the world than the war ever did.
  • Adorkable: All of his attempts to be a normal and friendly guy end up charming failures. Notably, he practices an apology to a frog, then proceeds to demand an answer.
  • All Work vs. All Play: Upon joining Team Avatar, this contrast is noticeable. He is the All Work to Aang and Sokka's All Play.
  • Amazon Chaser: Zuko prefers that Mai show more of emotions, especially anger. In "Boiling Rock Part 2", he was quite prideful when she informed a guard that she didn't need protection.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Zuko has limited social ability, an obsessive personality ("I must capture the Avatar to restore my honor!"), suffers flashbacks under certain conditions, and has trouble controlling his emotions. Again, as with Azula, a lot of these issues could stem from childhood trauma. But even before the abuse became really nasty, he showed social anxiety and naïveté, and was emotionally dependent on his mother. (Then again, given that his only potential playmates were Azula and her lackeys, social anxiety is to be expected.)
  • 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.
  • Antagonistic Offspring: During "The Search", Zuko realizes that the way he treated his father after the war isn't any different from the way his father treated him before.
  • Anti-Hero: Dark and misunderstood, Zuko operates under the sole motive of regaining his lost honor, and not always admirably so. Although he turns himself around in the end. Since then, he fully plays the anti-hero role straight—he is impatient, uptight, and he thinks ideals should be forgone when facing the big threat
  • Anti-Villain: An early episode contrasts him with Zhao, who only wants to find the Avatar to bring himself glory while Zuko was only even there is to complete a mission so his father will love him.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Averted. Despite having an evil father and an example of The Sociopath for his sister, he's a White Sheep. The fact that 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.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: More "angry" then "arrogant", but in Season 1 especially he's a screaming, whirling tempest of raw power sans any ability to control his emotions.
  • Assassin Outclassin': Survives six attempts on his life within his first year as Fire Lord. In all except one attempt, it's heavily implied that he killed the assassin first.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Zuko had to reclaim the throne by defeating his sister in Agni Kai. Additionally, this was key to fulfilling his destiny.
  • The Atoner: After his Heel–Face Turn, he tries to make up for two and a half seasons of jerkassery and, most importantly, betraying his uncle. It's fair to say he succeeded fantastically, managing to win round every member of the Gaang as well as have a large hand in saving the world.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Now that his father can no longer firebend, Zuko's firebending is more formidable than ever, no longer driven by anger.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: When he's made Fire Lord at the end of the series.
  • Bad Boss: Orders his men to sail directly into a storm during "The Storm."
  • Bad Liar: He hesitates and stutters when he lies.
    • Subverted in "The Waterbending Master", when he lies to Zhao's face about the dao swords on the wall being decorative rather than Zuko's personal weapons.
  • Bald of Evil: At first, before he cuts off his ponytail and starts to grow his hair out normally.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: Despite being a master firebender and swordsman, Zuko is also highly competent in unarmed combat. He's been shown disarming Aang of his staff, throwing people over his shoulders, diverting weapons, pinning people, escaping from Combustion Man's hold, unbalancing people with sweep kicks, and general hand-to-hand moves.
  • Bash Brothers: With everyone except Toph, at one point or another. Despite his complete lack of social skills, Zuko is quite good at working with others in combat situations.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: In the beginning of Book 3, he finally gets to go home, where he's welcomed as a triumphant hero to an adoring nation, his father praises him, and he gets the girl (Mai). None of this makes Zuko happy enough not to hate himself for agreeing to betray the man who stood by him for the last three years and saw him as another son, and destroy the tenuous amity he'd been building with the Gaang - very possibly the first people his age who have ever been friendly to him
  • Because Destiny Says So: A double subversion; Zuko believed it was his destiny to prove he's worthy to the throne by capturing the Avatar, but his uncle asks him if it is his destiny, or something that was forced on him. He does become Crown Prince upon return to the Fire Nation, but it felt empty, and he decided to sacrifice his right to the throne because he doesn't want to be a part of the Fire Nation's path towards conquest, fear and destruction. Then, he discovers that he has to be the one to take the throne after the Fire Lord falls. At the end of the day, his destiny always was to take the throne, but as the Fire Nation's salvation.
  • Being Good Sucks: There's the time he got half his face burned off for speaking against a general's bloodthirsty strategy, then he risked losing his pursuit of the Avatar to save his uncle, then he went incognito and saved a bunch of villagers who turned on him the moment they found out his true identity, then he got physically sick after he let Appa go (which contradicted with his sole mission for three years), then he tried to fulfill his original mission and in turn betrayed his uncle, and then he abandoned his family, his girlfriend and the life he thought he wanted to go help the Avatar.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Particularly in the first season, seems to be any reference to his banishment, from anyone other than Iroh. He destroyed Zhao in an Agni Kai when Zhao mocked his scar and taunted him about not being able to go home. He also challenged Lieutenant Jee, who unknowingly hit a sore spot when he called Zuko out for his lack of respect... exactly what Ozai said before burning him.
    • Also taking shots at his scar or even the very mention of it makes him extremely angry.
  • The Berserker: At first, Zuko fuels his Firebending with his anger and resorts to Attack! Attack! Attack! as his only strategy. Later on, when he's calmed down quite a bit, he suddenly can't bend at all... until he learns that Firebending is more than raw emotion. Then he becomes even more powerful than before.
  • Beta Couple: With Mai. While Aang and Katara dance around the issue, they're snuggling and watching sunsets. Flipped on its head in the comics, where Zuko and Mai go through a bad breakup while Aang and Katara are relatively stable Sickeningly Sweethearts.
  • Beyond the Impossible: Becomes the first human to create dragon fire in Smoke and Shadow, which wasn't supposed to be possible.
  • Big-Bad Ensemble: In Season 1, 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 as his firebending instructor. "You're a talented kid"
    • Also with Sokka, especially in "The Boiling Rock". Zuko gives him advice and saves him more than once, and is seen sparring with him in the comics.
    • It was implied that he was this to Toph.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Early in Book 1, 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. And in the finale, Zuko risked his life and his victory in an Agni Kai to take a lightning bolt for Katara.
  • Birds of a Feather:
    • With Mai. They're both perpetually frowning Emo Teens with some kind of family issue who are from the Fire Nation and use bladed weapons
    • With Katara. They're both willful, compassionate, and emotional individuals who lost their respective mothers at a young age and are about equal in terms of bending abilities.
    • With Sokka. Both are good leaders and strategists who feel the need to please their respective fathers, and both use swords.
    • With Toph. Both are stubborn and tough beyond reason, expected to fulfill their roles as nobility/royalty, and have some kind of family issue. Both of them also suffer from visual impairment (Toph is completely blind while Zuko has minor sight loss in his left eye) and have unusually good hearing. They're also similar in that they both learned from the original source of their bending arts, and as such both are very powerful benders. To top it all off, they're also both the first to use some sort of new bending technique—Zuko is the only human in history to have created dragon fire (in Smoke and Shadow), and Toph is the first person to metalbend.
    • With Aang. Both are saviors of a sort (Aang saves the world by defeating Fire Lord Ozai, while Zuko saves his nation from more war by taking the throne over his sister) who were expected to rise to impossible responsibility as young children (Zuko was expected by his father to be the perfect heir from birth on up, while Aang was expected to be a dedicated Avatar at age twelve). Both are also prodigies in their respective fields (Aang is a bending prodigy, while Zuko is prodigal with the swords. He later becomes a bending prodigy after training with the dragons.).
    • With Azula. Both are physical prodigies with the widest repertoire of combat skills in the show, share family issues and a dismal childhood, have their own respective Ambiguous Disorder, are competent military strategists and public speakers, and would do anything for their father's approval. Both are also hilariously socially inept and are the exclusive human users of colored flame—Azula's fire is blue, while Zuko produces dragon fire in Smoke and Shadow. They're also two out of four (five if considering Ozai before Aang takes his bending away) people who can manipulate lightning.
  • Blinding Bangs: In the later part of Book 3, after his umpteenth Adrenaline Makeover. His hair is cut in a way so that it's not really a problem, but at any given moment there are a few stray strands that fall in front of his eyes. And if he's in a windy area or hangs his head just so, it covers his eyes entirely.
  • Bonding Over Missing Parents: With Katara, and it's the mother for both.
  • Book-Ends: In Zuko's first official victory in the series, he used a leg sweep to break the roots of a superior opponent and turn the battle to his favor. In his last fight of the series, he fire-bent with a similar leg sweep to knock his sister down.
  • Boring, but Practical: Drilled by his uncle to focus on his fundamentals in the beginning of the series, he relies less on flashy techniques the more he matures. Especially evident in his final fight with Azula. While his sister uses exotic techniques to rocket around the battlefield, Zuko focuses on solid defense to control the space and eventually take her down.
  • Boxing Lessons for Superman: Zuko was a student of swordmaster Piandao since he was kid. They particularly help if in case he somehow loses his firebending, or if circumstances prevent him from doing so. He also seems to have some experience with knives and unarmed combat, which he most likely learned as a kid from various different trainers.
  • Break the Cutie: As a three-year-old, Zuko was the sweet kind of kid who would rescue a crab-turtle from a sea hawk - and then regret the decision once he realized that the hawk would starve to death if it didn't get something to eat. Fast forward a few years, and between his father's physical and verbal abuse, his mother's disappearance, and his younger sister's constant burning and taunting, Zuko is a lot less innocent, and begins to develop shades of brattiness, violence (e.g., threatening his sister with a knife in "Zuko Alone"), and an Ambiguous Disorder. Fast forward a few years after that, after half his face is seared off by his father and he's sent on a wild goose chase, Zuko descends fully into said bratiness, violence, and a full-fledged Ambiguous Disorder, to the point of developing shades of a type C Psychopathic Manchild, being incapable of even basic social interaction, obsessive, overemotional, and even suffering a sort of mental breakdown in "Bitter Work".
  • Break the Haughty: Season 2 begins with him losing his title as Prince of the Fire Nation and forced to wander as an enemy to all nations.
  • Broken Bird: A rare male example; any innocence he had was lost between his father's and sister's abuse.
  • Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl:
    • Zig zagged with Mai — Both manage to be both with each other. For the brooding part, they both come from a dysfunctional family which led to them becoming Broken Birds but in different ways (Zuko having anger issues and Mai suppressing her emotions). As for the gentle part, both encourage one another to express themselves in healthier, non-problematic ways.
    • Katara is the gentle girl to Zuko's brooding boy - they are a platonic variation of this trope, despite the Ship Tease.
    • There's a very brief moment of this with Toph and Zuko - in "The Ember Island Players", Toph comforts Zuko while he's angsting over his Uncle. They go back to being Like Brother and Sister, though, when she punches him and informs him that "That's how I show affection."
  • 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: The Abel to Azula's Cain because he has a functioning moral compass. Played with in The Search where Azula agrees to help him in his search for their mother. Ends both heartwarmingly and sadly when Zuko tells Azula that no matter what he will always love her, which hits her hard and the last we see of her is her running off with tears in her eyes. The Search and other comics have him despising the fact that him and his sister have this relationship instead of something like Sokka and Katara; but until he can get through to Azula and help her overcome her psychosis, he's resigned to stop her whenever she rears her head.
  • 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 young man desperate to go home and be loved by his father.
  • Character Development: Interestingly, despite being banished, he had shades of a Royal Brat. But unfortunately for his ego, no one treats Zuko 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 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, and is seen shattering iron, steel, and wood with his kicks. All that training has served him well. Might be a result of Iroh's training: even among the Fire Nation, Iroh and Zuko are the only ones to display superhuman strength unrelated to bending.
  • Chick Magnet: Sometimes in a relationship with Mai. He has loads of Ship Tease with Katara and a temporary love interest in the one-off character of Jin. The comics also have him being ship teased with Suki. 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.
  • Child Prodigy: Zuko is this in terms of his swordplay. He began training with Piandao as a child, and by the time he appears in the series he's second to almost none, fending off upwards of ten soldiers while surrounded, successfully deflecting rocks while starved and unfit, and stalemating Jet, whose sole form of combat was swordplay, in a duel - again, while out of shape. His mastery of the blade was so great that even his father, the Fire Lord, opted to not face him during the eclipse, when neither of them could firebend.
    • He was also arguably this in terms of his firebending. Avatar Extras notes in "The Firebending Masters" that "Zuko learned firebending the traditional way.... He had a series of kung fu teachers to show him proper forms. Even Uncle Iroh taught him a few firebending tricks", which implies that Zuko had already mastered the firebending forms at least by the time he was thirteen, with the "few tricks" that Iroh taught him being things like better breath control, the Breath of Fire, and lightning redirection. Given that Iroh is never seen correcting his form in the series or teaching him new forms, in conjunction with the fact that Zuko was able to hold his own and beat elite benders like Aang and Katara even before his exponential power increase, this all points to him being gifted in the physical part of firebending since he was a child.
  • Child Soldier: Successfully led and commanded an army in the Battle of Yu Dao and fought on the front lines against Earth Kingdom forces as a 16- to 17-year-old boy king. Zuko's also seen in countless combat situations throughout the show, including skirmishes with army soldiers.
    • It's also implied in how Zuko conducts himself and his bending during combat - in "The Blue Spirit", even when Zuko was vastly outnumbered, he never hesitated. And unlike almost every other firebender (and even the other benders in the Gaang) in the show, Zuko is very careful with his fire, only ever accidentally harming something/someone in "The Western Air Temple", when Toph startled him from sleep - for all the Gaang likes to harp about Zuko "burning down Kyoshi Island", if you watch closely, you'll notice that none of Zuko's flames actually set anything on fire; the village burned both because of Zuko's soldiers and because Aang blew Zuko's fireballs into the buildings. And in real life, careful is what is seen from martial artists who know that they can actually hurt someone. Combine that with the fact that Zuko would've been in a lot of areas where firebenders aren't welcome during his banishment, it's very possible that Zuko experienced lethal self-defense at some point. This is all in addition to the fact that Zuko was trained to be a conqueror/warlord from a young age, and was under the tutelage of The Dragon of the West, a renowned general who broke through a wall that had withstood a century of warfare.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: With Mai. There's a flashback to Puppy Love.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them: Became Fire Lord at age sixteen after the imprisonment of his father.
  • The Chosen One: If the prophecy spoken of in "The Search" was of any indication, Zuko was meant to be the Chosen One who would be the Fire Nation's salvation.
  • Combat Parkour: He's not as flighty as Aang or Ty Lee, but otherwise he ties with his sister Azula as the most acrobatic bender in the show; each of his fight scenes include at least one airborne move. Justified both in that one of his childhood friends was an acrobat and that he's shorter than average, and therefore needs a way to contend with larger opponents.
  • 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.
  • Cool Helmet: He has one in The Avatar Returns. It's reminiscent of Magneto's, with a spearlike point instead of a pair of horns.
    • The Fire Lord war helmet he wears to the Battle of Yu Dao in The Promise also applies.
  • Cosmic Plaything: He's so sure he's this, he shouts Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter! on top of a mountain during a thunderstorm. He wants to be struck by lighting to practice redirection, and doesn't get his wish. His track record would suggest that at any other time he would have been struck. Given all the crap he's put up with, he just might be right.
    • Zuko does have a massive streak of bad luck in his life. One such example is that when incarcerated into a fire nation prison; Zuko's bad luck has him incarcerated in the prison under the Warden whose niece Zuko just dumped.
  • Counter Attack: Towards the end of the series, Zuko tends to fight by patiently countering and nullifying the attacks of his opponents, (particularly Azula) and then looking for an opening to strike back - a style reminiscent of earthbending. Much like how he learned how to redirect lightning from Waterbenders, his fighting style incorporates ideas from Iroh about learning from other nations and tribes. As a bonus, patience and counter-striking also promotes good breath control, the main source of strength for fire benders. This forms a nice contrast to the start of the series, where Zuko was Mr. Attack! Attack! Attack!, and frequently either wore himself out, blinded himself to possibilities, or left himself prone to being outmaneuvered by his opponents. It also also dovetails with his Character Development as well as his change in fighting style.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: In The Beach, all it takes for Zuko to lose his cool is seeing some guy show the slightest bit of interest in his girlfriend. When Ruon Jian invites Mai to the party, Zuko gets immediately upset and storms towards the guy until Azula stops him. When Ruon Jian is flirting with Mai at the party, Zuko grabs the guy and spins him away, orders him to not talk to Mai, and when the guy tries to get Zuko to calm down, Zuko shoves him clear across the room to smash into a vase.
  • Cry Cute: In one of only two times that he cries in the series (besides flashbacks). He finally reunites with his Uncle after treating him badly, ultimately betraying him and leading to him getting imprisoned by the Fire Nation, and saying mean things to him when he's in prison. He feels absolutely awful about it and is sure Iroh will hate him for it, and tearfully apologizes to his uncle. Iroh hugs him before he can finish apologizing.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Inflicts one on Sokka when he attacks the Southern Water Tribe in The Avatar Returns. Without firebending.
    • Inflicts another one on Sokka in the side comic "Swordbending"; in every match, Zuko beats Sokka within seconds, either by disarming Sokka of his sword or dodging his attacks and tripping him up with hand-to-hand combat skills.
  • Curb Stomp Cushion: Sokka manages to get one good blow in: a hit with the boomerang on his helmet.
    • Sokka also manages to get Zuko with his boomerang in their "Swordbending Kai".
  • Dark and Troubled Past: His mother's mysterious disappearance, his father's brutal physical and verbal abuse, his younger sister's constant burning and mocking, both of their attempted murders, and then the wild goose chase...
  • Dark Magical Girl: He may be a guy, but otherwise he fits in perfectly:
    • A not-quite-evil antagonist that seeks the approval of a parent figure.
    • Desperately clings to a birthright duty in contrast to the protagonist who runs away from his own.
    • Becomes great friends with the protagonists via The Power of Friendship.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Since Zuko's the most ill-tempered character in the show, this is a given. He's actually a lot like Katara in that respect: particularly sarcastic in books one and two, less so for a part of book three, and then more so for the other half.
    • For instance, after some random kids threw an egg at Earth Kingdom soldiers, they blame Zuko, who continually denies it. It eventually leads to this exchange:
    Gow: The egg had to come from somewhere!
    Zuko: Maybe a chicken flew over.
    • He also manages to get in a few good ones at Sokka, of all people:
    Zuko: I think I'm a little past your level, Sokka. Why don't you practice with the Duke or something.
    Sokka: The Duke? But he's, like, eight years old!
    Zuko: He should be a good match for you, then.
    • Even eight-year-old Zuko gets in on the action.
    Azula : You waste all your time playing with knives. You're not even good!
    Zuko : Put an apple on your head and we'll find out how good I am!
  • Defrosting Ice King: It takes two and a half seasons, but he thaws with The Power of Friendship.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Not at first, when his purpose (capture the Avatar and regain his honor) is quite clear. As he begins to question his goals, however, this trope comes more and more into play, culminating in the first half of Season 3.
  • Determinator: He chases a flying bison on foot from the South Pole to the North Pole after three years of no leads at all.
    Sokka: If there's anything we've learned about Zuko, it's that he never gives up.
  • Deus Angst Machina: He spends his childhood being mentally tortured by his sister, gets a fireball thrown into his face by his own father and banished for speaking up in a war meeting and suggesting a tactic that could save the lives of more of his country's soldiers, and is constantly humiliated in his attempts to capture Aang to regain his family's respect. Eventually, he's even declared a fugitive for his continued failure and has to live off the land for the first time in his life. His Day in the Limelight episode features him befriending a family of farmers and taking care of the corrupt soldiers harassing them, only for them to reject him afterward because he revealed his identity in the process. Is it any wonder he takes to screaming at the sky, demanding to be hit by lightning? And it fails to happen?
  • Deuteragonist: Shares this role with Katara. Just as important as Aang's journey of living up to being the Avatar is Zuko's journey of self-discovery and rise from under his father's shadow. He gets as much screen time as the members of the Gaang and is probably the character with the most Character Development in the series.
    • Several episodes reveal Zuko's past or have him learning lessons that mirror Aang's own history and development, showing their parallel growth towards their destinies. Also, amongst all the characters, they both have the responsibility and ability to bring balance to the world.
    • Zuko's backstory is often revealed parallel to Aang's and there are several episode in the first season that show the pasts of both characters.
    • He also had an entire episode to himself (Zuko Alone) in which no other main cast member was present, something no other character can attest to.
  • Didn't Think This Through: He's extremely prone to this and it's lampshaded by Iroh with a And Then What? moment. He gets better over the course of the show, though.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Because of his pride and how much he had to struggle, he hates being pitied.
  • 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.
    Toph: Because I once had a long conversation with the guy, and all he would talk about was you.
    Zuko: Really?
    Toph: Yeah. And it was kind of annoying.
    Zuko: Oh. Sorry.
  • Double Consciousness: Zuko constantly feels like this. It is amplified when he discovers he is the grandson of both Fire Lord Sozin and Roku, the Avatar's previous incarnation.
  • 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.
  • Duality Motif: Zuko's scar covers almost the entire left side of his face, incidentally making one eye look smaller than the other. Additionally, he's one of the few characters in the series to have two fighting styles: firebending, and using Dao Swords - aka Dual Wielding. His internal struggle is heavily emphasized.
  • Dual Wielding: He's quite skilled with double broadswords. And there are those twin fire daggers that he battles Azula with, both in the show and the in the comics.
  • 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.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Bringing back his mother was his true happy ending. Becoming Fire Lord felt like a hollow victory by comparison.
  • Easily Forgiven: Averted with the Gaang, especially Katara, but exaggerated with Iroh, who will always forgive him. Zuko lampshades this.
    (Iroh has just interrupted Zuko, mid-apology, by hugging him)
    Zuko: (crying) How can you forgive me so easily? I thought you would be furious with me!
    Iroh: (also crying) I was never angry with you. I was sad, because I was afraid you lost your way.
    Zuko: I did lose my way.
    Iroh: But you found it again. And you did it by yourself. And I'm so happy you found your way here.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: During the first season, where he has chalk-white skin coupled with a black ponytail. It later evens out slightly; sometimes his hair is dark brown instead of straight black, and he adopts a very slight tan that takes the edge off the eerie. That said, cutting off the ponytail and growing his hair out properly probably also helped.
  • Emo Teen: Qualifies, but with good reason. Evens out a little bit later on, attempting jokes and the like.
  • Establishing Character Moment: This actually appears rather late, but it is basically the first impression of Zuko without Uncle Iroh. In "Zuko Alone" he is showing how he uses twin swords and he says something about how they look like two swords, but they're actually one. See also Double Consciousness, Face–Heel Revolving Door, and so on. Our first good picture of him without Iroh shows a picture of someone where good and evil are very intertwined.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: After all, she was the only person in the family other than his uncle who cared about him.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Probably not surprising considering those standards led him to change sides but from day one it's clear Zuko has a fairly rigid moral code. He has many opportunities to blackmail or otherwise manipulate Aang into doing what he wants, but never does.
    • For example, when he burned Kyoshi Island he swore he would leave if Aang did, and kept his word. A few episodes later he has Katara tied to a tree, which could have become very sketchy, but all he did was angrily demand to know where Aang was, with few actual threats.
    • Ambitious as he is, 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.
    • He has no problem stealing to get what he wants, but he won't rob a pregnant couple. He's also shown to be genuinely protective of children.
    • He'll fight his Ax-Crazy sister to tooth and nail, matching her hit for hit, but he'll never outright kill her.
    • When his father decides to burn the Earth Kingdom to oblivion during Sozin's Comet, enough was enough; He wanted to speak out against this awful plan, but he remembered what happened the first time he did so. Sure enough, he took it a step further and performed a Heel–Face Turn the next day.
  • The Evil Prince: He plays at this for a while, but winds up becoming one hell of a subversion by the latter half of Season 3.
  • Evil Virtues: Oh yeah, Zuko has these in spades. There's three, maybe four virtues on the list he doesn't have.
  • 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. Becomes this again in the second half of Season 3, except this time, it's willing because his father won't let him leave alive.
  • 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.
  • Family of Choice: By series' end His father is in prison, his mother is banished and his sister is enjoying the scrumptious food they have at the nuthouse. His is so screwed up that he considers (though he'll never say it) his own friends like family as well as his Uncle to be the father he never had. One of his story arcs in the comics is coming to terms that as screwed up as they are; they're still his family and he wants them to be whole again. Thus far, he succeeds in finding his mother, though reintegration to the Fire Nation isn't easy for her, and Azula is trying to help him become a more decisive Fire Lord though Zuko heavily disagrees on her approach to put it lightly.
  • Fanservice Pack: His Character Development and gradual transformation into a good guy also makes him more attractive.
  • Fanservice with a Smile: When he works in Iroh's tea shop.
  • The Fettered: Ask Zuko about honor and/or destiny. Then prepare yourself for the hours-long lecture and endorsement he'll have ready for you off the top of his head.
  • Fights Like a Normal: His sword skills give him a handy means of defending himself in situations where firebending might be a bad idea, as do his hand-to-hand skills and experience in knives. While acting as the Blue Spirit, as well as his time incognito in the Earth Kingdom, Zuko utilizes zero fire bending outside of one particularly tricky fight.
  • Flechette Storm: Not to the same extent as his girlfriend Mai, but Zuko manages a very accurate knife throw as the Blue Spirit. He also possesses exceptional skill in his knifeplay, dueling his prodigy sister Azula to a draw in a dagger-to-dagger battle in the Smoke and Shadow comics.
  • Flight: By way of his fire jets, Zuko can propel himself continually over long distances. He first displays this ability in the finale when he launches himself over one of his sister's attacks, and later on in the comics when he saves both himself and Earth King Kuei from falling off a cliff.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: With Azula and her friends, as the melancholic.
  • Freudian Excuse: Getting your face scorched by your own father, along with a bunch of past abuse and a missing mother, is bound to make anyone have issues.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: In "The Beach", Zuko at one point defaults to his Dark and Troubled Past in an argument with Mai, who is not swayed by it. Even the creators' commentary notes that she already knows about his past trauma but that it can't be used as an excuse for his bad behavior.
  • Freudian Slip: Him accidentally calling Ozai the 'Fatherlord' gives a pretty neat summary of how he sees his father, and how completely screwed-up their relationship is.
  • 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.
  • Frontline General: Along with his Royals Who Actually Do Something status. In The Promise, Zuko is quite literally on the front lines of the Battle of Yu Dao, taking down several Earth Kingdom soldiers while effectively commanding his army.
  • Glory Seeker: His pursuit of the elusive Avatar is motivated by his desire to earn the respect of his father.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Zuko's entire journey started with Ozai challenging his son to a duel to teach him humility. Once Zuko learned his lesson, he turned against Ozai and began the Fire Lord's downfall.
  • Good Cannot Comprehend Evil: Zuko's bending skills never matched up to his sister, Azula's, when they were children. At the time, the Fire Nation's bending style was driven by uncontrolled emotion—rage and hate manifested into fire, something Azula was naturally better at. Once Zuko learned the true art of firebending from the dragons, he proved himself a match for Azula in every single subsequent clash.
  • Good Eyes, Evil Eyes: His eyes indicate moral ambiguity and inner conflict right from the beginning, as one is narrower than the other. Additionally, when in frame he often turns to be viewed in profile, either to display his scar or his unmarked cheek. This is a pretty explicit example of his temperament at that moment. When in the north pole with a captured and unconscious Aang he describes his father and turns to show his scar. When confronting his father the camera focuses on his good side.
  • Good Is Not Nice: After his Heel–Face Turn, Zuko has some signs of this. One big example would be encouraging Katara to kill her mother's murderer, basically encouraging her hatred and violence.
  • The Good King: He eventually becomes the Fire Lord and a much more benevolent one than his father. However, this is deconstructed later on; Zuko finds out that even with him being an objectively better Fire Lord than his father, there is still resistance to his rule, resistance that may one day need to be dealt with through overt violence.
  • Good Running Evil: He eventually ends up ruler of the Fire Nation, the Evil Empire of the series, and begins reforming it to become less evil. As of Korra, it appears he succeeded.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: His most distinctive physical trait, although the story of how he got it makes him much more sympathetic.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: It's pretty easy to piss him off, even if you don't mention the things that hurt.
  • Happily Adopted: As of his Heel–Face Turn by Iroh, his beloved uncle who considers him to be his second son.
  • Harmful to Minors:
    • He was only thirteen when he suffered torture at his father's hands.
    • He also fought an all-out war in the Battle of Yu Dao as a sixteen-year-old, and due to the fact that he searched all the Air Temples during his hunt for the Avatar, he would've seen hundreds of corpses.
    • After the Siege of the North, he was drifting on a raft with his uncle directly after Aang had destroyed a large portion of their navy, which means that Zuko would've been floating alongside hundreds of Fire Nation corpses for weeks.
  • The Heavy: For part of Book 1, he's the main villain but the head guy is his father. Zhao gradually takes this position over the course of the season. In Season 2, he completely gives up the position to his initially far more dangerous sister, Azula.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Famously failed to make a Heel–Face Turn in Season 2, and then finally settled on the Face side in Season 3. However, he and Aang ended up at odds with each other during "The Promise", and it got out of hand. In fact, the essence of what makes a Heel–Face Turn is the core driving point of Zuko's overall character arc. To wit, he's discussed it, teased it, defied it, subverted it, and ultimately double subverted it.
  • Heel Realization: In "Nightmares and Daydreams".
    "During the meeting, I was the perfect prince. The son my father wanted. But I wasn't me."
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Played with. Aside from his bending, Zuko also developed masterful skill in swordsmanship, and he specialized in dual wielding swordplay, using a set of dao blades, skills he gained after being trained by the sword master Piandao. He does not demonstrate this until he becomes an anti hero in season 2 but he still remains antagonistic towards Team Avatar. Then, he finally makes a full Heel–Face Turn, joins Team Avatar to stop his father, and becomes Aang's official firebending teacher.
  • Heroic Ambidexterity: Zuko is trained to dual wield twin scimitars, and uses this skill to fight against benders when he wants to hide his identity and his knowledge of fire bending. When explaining what he was taught he says that when using two swords you have to treat them like "they're part of the same body" and move them in sync.
  • Hero with an F in Good: "Why am I so bad at being good!?"
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Badass, Determinator, Evil Prince -turned- The Atoner, is also a Momma's Boy and a lover of Turtleducks. In the "Ember Island Players", he gives hints that he likes theater, but just dislikes that specific group because while they have great special effects, they tend to butcher their stories. He admits to Toph that he's been doing Angst? What Angst? for some time, but the play is opening some hidden wounds.
      Toph: "Oh come on. Lighten up. They're just having fun."
      Zuko: "Fun? Of course you (Toph) like it. They made you a big buff guy! But to me... they're taking all the mistakes I made and throwing them right back in my face."
    • His Uncle has indicated numerous times Zuko is also skilled with the fictional Tsungi horn. Tie-in comics also show Zuko is very good with kids too; especially during his interactions with Kiyi, Zuko shows potential to be an outstanding father.
    • When actually put on the spot; Zuko misquotes proverbs or messes up speaking socially. But when he relaxes and actually says what's in his heart, he's very good at empathy and surprisingly charismatic. The best example of this is in The Search where at the climax against Azula he tells her that the throne is his destiny as is it's burdens; but why he didn't just take the easy way out and throw his sister off the cliff or destroy the letter is that no matter how screwed up his relationship is with her, she is still his sister and he loves her. This works so well that it actually gets through to Azula and prompts a Hazy Feel Turn from her!
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: From the heroes' point of view, it's hidden until his Heel–Face Turn. Iroh and Ursa always knew it was there.
  • His Story Repeats Itself: Happened over and over again with Zuko. Most notably was his final showdown with his father where he was about to get burned once more, but instead deflected his father's lightning. In the comics, particularly The Promise, the stress Zuko undergoes spazzes him out to the point where he makes Aang promise to end him if he ends up as bad as other Fire Lords before him. Fortunately, once he's able to relax and calm down a bit, he asks Aang to forsake the promise.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Has the power to inflict this on opponents using Lightning-redirecting, and the only one to use this ability in the manner this trope describes. Learned from Iroh, taught to Aang. In this way, he can Beat Them at Their Own Game.
  • Honor Before Reason: He goes to extreme lengths to 'regain his honor'. Indeed, chasing Aang across the world, without any regard for the consequences, including running into a snowstorm at the north pole, are all done in the name of his honor.
  • Honor-Related Abuse: After Zuko spoke out against a plan to use new military recruits as cannon fodder, Ozai challenged him to an Agni Kai. When he refused to fight back, Ozai considered it a disgrace, torched his face and banished him on a Wild Goose Chase to hunt down the Avatar (who hadn't been seen in a century). After the Avatar showed up and Zuko still didn't capture him, Ozai sent his daughter, Azula, to capture her brother. Eventually, Zuko was welcomed back after supposedly killing the Avatar, but then did a Heel–Face Turn and spectacularly called his father out — to which Ozai responded by trying to electrocute him. During the Grand Finale, Ozai is away fighting Aang, so Azula takes up the mantle of Honor-Related Abuse and tries to electrocute him again — though she only succeeds by forcing him to take the hit for Katara, and even then he manages to redirect most of it.
  • Hot-Blooded: No pun intended but he can be reckless and hotheaded. Iroh complains that he "never thinks things through".
  • Hurting Hero: Post-Heel–Face Turn he deals with a lot of angst while helping the Avatar save the world.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: When it seems he's lost to his opponent in "Zuko Alone". Then he starts Firebending. Works both ways. Unlike most benders, he is still very dangerous due to his mastery of dual-wielding dao swords and being very adept at stealth and infiltration (it's getting out undetected that he has problems with). Most other benders don't bother to learn anything besides hand-to-hand fighting that comes with learning bending.
  • I Am Not My Father: In Season 3. He even says this word for word in "The Promise".
  • I Am X, Son of Y: "My name is Zuko, son of Ursa and Fire Lord Ozai, Prince of the Fire Nation and heir to the throne."
  • Ice-Cream Koan: A running gag after his Heel–Face Turn has him trying to come up with the kind of advice to himself that his uncle would, but finding himself stringing together poetic-sounding phrases that don't have any actual comprehensible point.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Said word for word about what happened in Ba Sing Se.
  • I Gave My Word: One of the first hints given that Zuko is not a clear-cut villain is in the second episode, where he agrees to leave Sokka and Katara's village alone if Aang surrenders, and keeps his word.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: In The Search the letter from his mother implying that he is not Ozai's biological son initially comes as a relief to Zuko, who has grown weary of the burdens that come with being the Fire Lord.
  • Important Haircut: When declared a traitor to the Fire Nation at the beginning of Season 2 he cuts off his topknot.
  • Inadequate Inheritor: Only for being an essentially decent person and not a sadistic monster.
  • In a Single Bound: Zuko's pulled this trope several times throughout the series. He's been seen clearing ridiculous distances and demonstrated himself capable of leaping through the sky on the backs of Fire Nation war ships—the Avatar franchise's version of blimps. Even from a standstill, he seems to be able to travel a good ten feet in one leap—while his trajectory is upwards.
  • Ineffectual Loner: In Book 2 when he eventually splits off from his uncle, but achieves very little during his tenure working alone.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: He does two evil deeds he does throughout the entire show despite being the first villain: burn Kyoshi island and betray his uncle to help Azula take over Ba Sing Se. And even the burning of Kyoshi island wasn't directly his fault; while he does throw fire, it's never at any of the buildings. The fires were caused by his men, not him, and only after the Kyoshi warriors attacked them.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Zuko behaves very arrogantly early on, though his arrogance dissipates as he starts to go through his prolonged Heel–Face Turn. He's rude to his uncle, berates his crew, and frequently loses his temper over small things. It becomes clear later that this attitude is merely Zuko trying to behave as the son his father wants, and a defensive result of the pressures and frustrations this desire causes. Zuko is actually a sensitive and compassionate kid, but who sees himself as inferior due to these perceived "weaknesses", especially next to his prodigious, ruthless sister Azula. Furthermore, his compassion and sensitivity was what got him in trouble in the first place (after speaking against a general for planning to new recruits as basically cannon fodder. He ends up fighting his dad and getting his telltale scar). After joining the Avatar's group, he comes to realize these are his strengths, not his weaknesses.
  • Insult Backfire:
    Firelord Ozai: Your uncle has gotten to you, hasn't he?
    Zuko: (beat) Yes, he has.
  • In the Back: Commander Zhao attempts to hit Zuko in the back when they fight a duel early in Season 1 (Zuko having just won). Unfortunately for Zhao, Iroh is right there and knocks him on his back, berating Zhao for his lack of honor.
  • In the Blood: Zuko, revealed by Iroh in Season 3, has inherited his paternal great-grandfather Sozin's "evil" and his maternal great-grandfather Roku's "good".
  • In the Hood: Dons a hooded cloak when he returns to the Fire Nation, which helps hide his appearance during his private trips out.
  • In Touch with His Feminine Side: When he's not brooding and angsting, Zuko fits this. He was a very sensitive child who was close to his mother. As a teenager, he does things like take his girlfriend to watch the sunset and cry openly while reconciling with his uncle. He is also unusually flexible for a male and a lover of turtle ducks.
  • Irisless Eye Mask Of Mystery: Zuko's alter ego of the Blue Spirit wears a mask of the completely black variety. His mask presumably has black glass covering its eyeholes, since they appear black even when fully illuminated. This, of course, helps hide his Secret Identity, since major characters tend to be very good at seeing through disguises in this universe.
  • It's All About Me: Zuko after his banishment was obsessed with capturing the Avatar to restore his honor, so much so that he helps Aang escape from Zhao even though he's an enemy of the Fire Nation. Zhao himself (who is also incredibly self-centered) calls Zuko out on putting himself before his nation; hypocritical, but Jerkass Has a Point. The sad thing is that Zuko genuinely cared about the Fire Nation before his banishment and that love for his people (and probably a wish to prove his worth to his father) is what got him into trouble in the first place. Even sadder is that Zuko still cares genuinely about the Fire Nation after being banished, in the sense that he did not wish Fire Lord Azula on them.
  • It's Personal with the Dragon:
    • In Season 1, he and Zhao are The Heavy ensemble, with the latter serving as The Dragon for Fire Lord Ozai for the season. Since Zuko is still loyal to his father to some extent, he will not fight him, but Zhao is fair game as the two compete for bragging rights to capture the Avatar. Things get personal on Zuko's end when Zhao attempts to assassinate him just before the Siege of the North and when he encounters Zhao when the admiral flees, he is determined to kill him.
    • Season 2 and 3: He and Azula, who takes over dragon duties after Zhao's demise, have this relationship as well. Zuko and Iroh hide in the Earth Kingdom specifically to escape Azula, he is taught lightningbending and lightning redirection to counteract Azula, and when Ozai challenges Zuko to attack him on the Day of Black Sun when Zuko makes his Heel–Face Turn, Zuko refuses, telling him that it is not his destiny to defeat his father, it is Aang's. Finally during the finale, Zuko faces off against Azula for the title of Fire Lord.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: Zuko takes this trope Up to Eleven. He's as quick and dexterous as Aang (without airbending), but not faster; he can't plan on the fly as quickly as Sokka, but is the best at improvising; he's as agile and acrobatic as Suki and Aang, but not more so; his firebending naturally lacks the offensive/defensive versatility and dynamics of Katara's waterbending, but he's shown using his firebending far more creatively than any other firebender in the show; he's not the most powerful in the bender in the group, but he's one of the best benders in the world by the end of the series; he can't compare to Toph's seismic senses, but his hearing and eyesight are unusually good; and he's highly capable in hand-to-hand martial arts, but not more so than Suki. Overall, he doesn't have a definitive edge at anything in the Avatar's group, save for swordplay, knifeplay, and sheer physical strength, but he seems to tie for number one or two at everything.
    • He also has no major weaknesses, unlike the the other Gaang members. He doesn't have Toph's blindness and can easily take care of airborne enemies, he doesn't need to rely on his bending or a steady supply of his element to be effective like Katara, he's got hand-to-hand skills and bending unlike Sokka and Suki, and he's a disciplined, focused fighter, unlike Aang.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's Hot-Blooded and can still be quite rude, but Zuko is a good hearted person.
  • Kick the Dog: Often when he was in danger of becoming too nice, at least until his formal Heel–Face Turn in Book 3.
  • King Incognito: Season 2 where he pretended to be a non-bending wanderer.
  • Knight In Sour Armor: He becomes this after his Heel–Face Turn. While he's on the side of good now, he's still as grumpy as ever and firmly believes that Aang's silly ideas about pacifism should remain in air temple preschool where they belong.
  • The Lancer: When he becomes part of Team Avatar he is the grumpy, snarly Shoot the Dog advocate towards Aang's cheerful Take a Third Option.
  • The Leader: He often does this with his own troops since he is a prince after all but he also takes over as the leader of the Gaang in the finale when Aang disappears and Katara becomes his second-in-command.
  • Le Parkour: Downplayed for Suki to get her moment in "The Boiling Rock" but otherwise played completely straight. Both as himself and as the Blue Spirit, Zuko has repeatedly shown incredible agility and a wide variety of acrobatics—including cartwheels, which is ironic considering that he was shown to dislike cartwheels as a young child. On top of this, he's shown himself to be very fleet on his feet, even once chasing Aang down on foot.
  • Licked by the Dog: The Sky Bison in this case.
  • Lightning Bruiser: In both the physical sense and the bending sense. As a physical opponent, Zuko is the strongest character in the show, ties for the fastest with Aang, Azula, and Ty Lee, and is durable to the point of being Made of Iron. As a bending opponent, Zuko can create massive explosions, blasts, comets, tunnels, and vortexes of fire, again ties for fastest with Aang and Azula, and, unlike most firebenders, has several solid defenses that make him more durable than most.
  • Like a Son to Me: Iroh explicitly told Zuko in Book 1 that after the death of Lu Ten, he always considered Zuko to be a son.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: He is the banished prince of the Fire Nation, but you can literally count the people who genuinely care for him on one hand (Iroh, Mai and Ursa). Eventually subverted when he makes his Heel–Face Turn, after which he becomes part of Aang's True Companions.
  • Loner-Turned-Friend: To the Team Avatar. It would be accurate to say this is the first time he's had friends his own age.
  • Loony Friends Improve Your Personality: For fifty-two straight episodes (out of sixty-one) of the series, Zuko is a moody jerk. Being forced into a "life-changing field-trip" with Manic Pixie Dream Boy Aang calms and brightens him enough to interact with people without shouting over the course of a single episode. There's Fridge Brilliance here. Firebenders in Zuko's time were taught to fuel their bending through negative emotions. Even with not wanting to rely on hate and rage anymore, Zuko had been trained his entire life that being grouchy = better fire. So while Aang definitely had a positive influence, it might be a mix of this and the fact that Zuko suddenly didn't need to be mean to fuel his martial arts.
  • Love Redeems: Averted with Mai. He leaves her before switching to the good side and the two don't reconcile their relationship until after the final battle. Instead it was familial love for Iroh, whom he acknowledges as his true father figure and role model, that redeems him. The shame he feels for betraying his uncle's trust is part of what compels him to make his Heel–Face Turn. He also influenced Mai to follow suit and betray Azula.
    • In the follow up comics, he tries this with Azula. It partially works. Azula leaves the current fight and returns later in Smoke and Shadow much more composed, has some of her sanity back as a result, and desires to see herself as an adviser to her brother. However...said advice is to become much more of a tyrannical fire lord like she wanted to be. Plus, half of her expressions are still indicating to the audience that she's one bad word or day again from snapping like a twig. Regardless, Zuko tries to amend with Azula in the hope that they can be a loving brother and sister.
  • Loved I Not Honor More: Mai's pissed that he ran off in the middle of the night to "fulfill his destiny".
  • Love Martyr: He's blindly devoted to his Evil Overlord father who burned his face, banished him on a wild goose chase, and sent his sister to either capture or kill him.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: He's Avatar Roku's great-grandson.
  • Made of Iron: Oh yeah. You can knock Zuko down. Keeping him down is another story entirely. Before and during the Siege of the North, Zuko not only survives several things in succession that would kill most people, including things implied to be lethal to firebenders in particular, he comes through still able to take on Admiral Zhao in a fight. And immediately after, he survives drifting three weeks on a raft across the ocean. Combine this with his Determinator attitude...well, as much as Azula mocks him, there's a reason she tried to hit him with lightning when she couldn't trick him into being imprisoned.
  • Magic Knight: He's about equally good (as in, nigh-unequaled at sixteen) with firebending and swordsmanship, in a world where benders generally are too arrogant to bother with secondary fighting styles.
  • Mark of Shame: That burn scar over his eye is a reminder of his banishment. Katara recognizes this in the Season 2 finale. It later becomes more like a mark of pride, though; a signifier of his willingness to do the right thing.
  • The Masochism Tango: Has this type of relationship with Mai. They love each other but constantly fight, do not understand each other, have different morals and are always breaking up only to get back together again. Mai tells Kei Lo about how miserable Zuko makes her feel and she later says it to Zuko's face about how much of an idiot she was to date him.
  • Meaningful Name: Zuko's name is written in Chinese characters which read as "ancestor's robber". It may or may not be intentional, but Zuko is an actual name in a Filipino dialect. Its meaning? "Madness" or "Angry." And he spends a lot of time angry in the show...
  • Momma's Boy: Adored his mom. Asking what happened to her is his second-to-last line in the original series.
  • Mood-Swinger: In the first two seasons, he can go from calm to incredibly loud and angry in an instant.
  • Mr. Fanservice: The infamous shirtless Agni Kai in the third episode. Lampshaded in the beach episode with a flock of birds. Further Lampshaded by posse of fangirls ogling his shirtless state.
  • Muggle–Mage Romance: In a relationship with non-bender Mai.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: He starts off with the literal take on this trope. Eventually he comes to embrace the "if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right" interpretation when he makes his Heel–Face Turn.
    Zuko: Mai, I never wanted to hurt you. But I have to do this to save my country.
    Mai: Save it? You're betraying your country!
    Zuko: That's not how I see it.
  • My Greatest Failure: Originally, he believed it to be failing in his father's eyes and being banished. Eventually, he realizes that it was betraying Iroh in Ba Sing Se. With Iroh, he gets a My Greatest Second Chance .
  • My God, What Have I Done?: He goes through an extended one after betraying his uncle, while at the same time trying to rationalize it.
  • Mythical Motifs: Zuko had an animal motif in the theme of dragons, creatures associated with fire. However, his motifs were of two dragons, one blue and one red, representing the dual aspect of his nature. in Legend of Korra he lives up to his great-grandfather's image by having a dragon as a pet-slash-mode-of-transportation.
  • Nephewism: Zuko was essentially raised by his uncle Iroh, as his father is the abusive Big Bad and his mother is mysteriously gone. Iroh took Zuko under his wing when a) his own son died in the war and b) Zuko's mom disappeared, having been banished long before the series started. Eventually, Zuko considers Iroh to be]] [[Parental Substitute more like a father to him.
  • New Old Flame: Zuko and Mai are a textbook "skip all the boring foreplay and get right to the intensity." Contrast with the heroic Official Couple, who were in the foreplay stage for fifty episodes. In this case, we see a flashback of them as Childhood Friends before the reunion.
  • Nice to the Waiter: In Book 2 and onward, he is nicer to servants, reflecting his character development. As a result, it is shown that in return, they enjoy serving him.
  • Ninja: His Blue Spirit alter ego invokes traditional ninja aspects and imagery—he's dressed in all black, doesn't make a sound, absurdly graceful and light on his feet, and relies entirely on hand-to-hand, knives, and swords to incapacitate enemies.
  • No Brows: A half example, as his left eye does not have a brow due to a burn inflicted by his father Ozai.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Could be renamed "The Zuko" if we're being honest. Is it any wonder he struggles so much with knowing the difference between right and wrong when every altruistic thing he did in the first sixteen years of his life ends with him embarrassed, harmed, and/or belittled for weakness?
    • "Zuko Alone" and "The Storm" are the most notable. For the former, he saves a town from bandits but the townspeople demand he leave immediately for being a firebender. For the latter, he saves his crew but the Avatar escapes.
    • "The Storm" reveals in a flashback that a younger Zuko spoke out against sending inexperienced troops to be killed in battle to wear down Ba Sing Se's defenses... which led to getting his face horrifically burned and banished by his father.
  • No Sense of Humor: He has one, he's just horrible at using it due to his social ineptitude.
  • No Social Skills: He was raised in a royal court and had little experience with casual interaction.
    • His date with Jin is a good example of this.
    Jin: So, what do you do for fun?
    Zuko (deadpan): Nothing.
    • This exchange with Sokka is also priceless.
    Sokka: Fine. You caught me. I'm gonna rescue my dad. You happy now?
    Zuko (deadpan): I'm never happy.
  • Noble Demon: Character Development for him in Season 1. He goes from burning down the Kyoshi Warriors' village in his pursuit of Aang to abandoning a later pursuit to keep his soldiers safe. Even right from the start, he threatens the South Pole villagers to get information on the Avatar but when Aang promises to come quietly if he leaves the Water tribe alone, Zuko agrees (and keeps his word).
  • No Place for Me There: Zuko since his Heel–Face Turn believes that it his destiny to teach the Avatar and join him in defeating his father, and that it's up to people like Aang or Iroh to build a better tomorrow. He feels that with his many mistakes, he has no place in the new future. However, Iroh challenges that notion, telling Zuko he does have a place in that better future, as his struggles have made him stronger and have allowed him to choose his own path.
  • Not Helping Your Case: While trying to convince the Gaang that he's changed, he accidentally lets it slip that he was the one who sent the Combustion Man after them in the first place, which, only cements their decision not to let him join. He wins some good faith by helping them fight him off later on.
  • Not So Different:
    • With Aang as they both have a troubled past and lots of pressure put on them despite coming from different sides. They're also equally kind-hearted, but highly insecure due to being burdened with a responsibility that goes against their very nature.
    • Zuko and Azula both seek to get the respect of their father. It was just Zuko was more morally grounded. However, by "The Search", Zuko realizes that the way he treats his father and sister makes him no different from them and works to better himself in this area, particularly with Azula. In addition; both him and his sister love to be the Deadpan Snarker albeit slightly differently (he's got a dry wit while she is much more snarkier.) both of them are intelligent,agile, and strategic; capable of fighting long periods and are amazingly quick addition to having very poor social skills and both having an Inferiority Superiority Complex a mile long.
  • Number Two: Once the Gaang trusts him, he becomes the one they look to when Aang's not around.
  • The One Guy: When hanging out with Mai, Azula, and Ty Lee.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Since the Avatar is his only shot at restoring his honor, he's not about to let anyone else take him in.
  • Opposites Attract: He and Mai somehow manage to be this and Birds of a Feather. Despite their apparent similarities, their temperaments are completely opposite: Zuko is a Hot-Blooded Determinator, whereas Mai is an emotionless Defrosting Ice Queen.
  • Overlord Jr.: He tried to be this at first, but grew tired of pleasing his father who doesn't care about his own family.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome:
    • While he is a damn good Firebender (recall the time he beat Zhao in a duel), his main opponent is the Avatar (and the Avatar's numerous friends), and he is often compared to his sister, who is a Firebending prodigy and strategic genius.
    • After joining the Gaang, Zuko is still the only bender on the team not considered a prodigy in his field. He later receives some training from dragons that close the skill gap.
  • Parent Service: It should be noted that Zuko is the oldest of the main cast and has numerous shirtless scenes throughout the series that showed off his muscular build.
  • Perpetual Frowner: "I'm never happy." Though it is averted around Mai, and after he joins Team Avatar.
  • Playing with Fire: He is a Firebender.
  • Pretty Boy: In a flashback at age thirteen.
  • Prince Charmless: Princely moody and grouchy.
  • Princeling Rivalry: He is the older brother and an Anti-Hero who has to fight Azula, his younger sister and a villain through and through, for the throne of the Fire Nation.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: Considering how Zuko was technically also protagonist, it is kinda played straight up to Book 3, Chapter 1, but inverted in the second half of Book 3, where he swings to a more anti-heroic standpoint.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Has shades of a Type C during the first season. Zuko is powerful, and has intelligence and prestige as a (banished) Prince of the Fire Nation, but can throw temper tantrums, is prone to sulking, and has tends to obsess over his goals (his father's respect).
  • Psychosomatic Superpower Outage: After his Heel–Face Turn, Zuko loses his firebending powers for a while, since he no longer feels the anger that fueled them.
  • Psychotic Smirk: In "The Boiling Rock", he gives one of his own after unbolting the cooler. Looking kinda Light Yagami there, Zuko. Though oddly this is the only time he makes one and it's after he does a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Reality Ensues: There is a noticeable difference between Zuko's physique in Book 1 and the time of "The Beach" in Book 3. Whereas in the former, he's as buff as would be expected from someone who works out day and night, while in the later, he's clearly lost some of that muscle, as a result of spending several months as a refugee.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: After becoming the Fire Lord. In "The Promise" he acknowledges that he will try his hardest to be this, but cannot always guarantee he will be so.
  • Redemption Demotion: Lampshaded in "The Firebending Masters" when he notices his Firebending has weakened almost to nothing.
    "I bet it's because I changed sides."
  • Redemption Promotion: Once he discovers the true form of fire bending, which is more positive instead of hatred based, he becomes stronger than ever.
  • Redemption Quest: Zuko, trying to earn his father's approval travels the world trying as punishment. It's Inverted in that he's trying to prove himself evil. The second half of Season 3 is his true redemption quest. He goes on to save the world from his ruthless father, regain the trust of his former enemies up until he takes the throne.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni:
    • The emotional, easily angered Red Oni to his sister's calculating, eerily calm Blue Oni, though it's reversed after her Villainous Breakdown. This is enforced by the colors of the Flames they produce; Zuko's flames are red/orange, while Azula's are blue.
    • The hot-tempered, loud Red Oni to Aang's positive, peace-loving Blue Oni, which is visualized through their facial markings (red scar vs. blue tattoos)
  • Red Right Hand: Zuko's scar is a straight version at first, but then gets completely inverted when it's revealed just how he got that scar; from then on, it seems to be more of a symbol of the potential for goodness that's still in him.
  • Reformed, but Not Tamed: After joining Team Avatar he is still a grouchy Anti-Hero which is similar to how he was in Season 2. The difference is that now he believes his father has to be stopped.
  • Reformed, but Rejected: For a few episodes with Katara because she remembers what happened the last time he tried to reform.
  • Relationship Revolving Door: His relationship with Mai is complicated and...unstable to say the least. They break up at least twice in the series and once again in the comics.
  • Replacement Goldfish: A very downplayed and benign example. Zuko is this for Iroh's son, Lu Ten. However, Iroh loves Zuko just the way he is and doesn't try to mold him in Lu Ten's image and since Iroh is Zuko's Parental Substitute, it works out.
  • The Resenter: Played with. He claims not to care that Aang and Azula were, as he puts it, "born lucky," taking pride in the fact that he's had to fight and struggle to survive, but he was highly jealous of his sister's natural skill as a child and only broaches the subject to deride Aang. In The Search he is also jealous of the close relationship Sokka and Katara have, a far cry from the frequently-borderline-murderous relationship he has with Azula.
  • Reverse Grip: Occasionally creates fire-daggers in this fashion.
    • He's also seen holding his swords this way sometimes.
  • Right Makes Might: He is a firm believer in this trope, unlike his father, who believes the opposite. He even discusses this with regards to how the earthbenders will never give up against the Fire Nation as long as they have hope.
  • Royal Brat: Has some strong elements of this (mainly he sense of entitlement, which earned him a male version of Well, Excuse Me, Princess!, and his sense of pride) in Season 1 and the start of Season 2, which is ironic considering he's The Exile. Character Development lessens it.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Enforced upon him by Ozai but he already eager to learn how to be one of these. Even after becoming Fire Lord, Zuko personally leads his army and stands on the battlefield alongside them, in contrast to his father, who only left the safety of the Fire Nation when Sozin's Comet arrived and made him nigh-invincible. He continues this trend throughout his life, dealing with his problems himself and never refusing to put himself in the same danger he would command others to walk into.
  • Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training: He's an epic fighter and leader, but he has No Social Skills because he wasn't raised in an environment conducive to casual interaction.
  • 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 betrayed by Azula at the beginning of the second season.
  • Sanity Slippage: Gets a prolonged one in the first installment of comics, and it's pretty major. The first few pages reveal that Zuko was suffering from paranoia and insomnia, to the point of imagining noises and getting out of bed to demand of the guards if there was anyone there every few minutes. When the guards reassure him that it was nothing, one guard trails off with ,"Just like there wasn't anyone there the last time, or the time before that, or the time before that...", indicating that this had been going on for a while. It also prompts Zuko—compassionate Zuko, who helped save the world—to grab him by his collar and scream in his face about how "There have already been five attempts on my life!" Later on, when he defeats the would-be assassin Kori, he's prepared to kill her on the spot if she doesn't "Convince me (Zuko) to not take your (her) life!" After that, when he visits Yu Dao, the mayor makes the mistake of comparing him to his father. In response, Zuko pins him to the wall, holds a fire dagger to his throat, and snarls "I'm not my father!" This is moments after he marched into the city and threatened to have it burned to the ground because of Kori's assassination attempt. And it only gets worse from there. After seeing the mayor's opinion on the Yu Dao situation, Zuko becomes so conflicted and desperate to make the right decision that he decides to consult his father, the genocidal warlord, on how to be a good Fire Lord. Predictably, Ozai is in a manipulative mood, and further confuses Zuko, to the point of driving him to fighting a battle for Yu Dao against the Earth Kingdom. Thankfully, though, after the battle is over and Zuko collapses from exhaustion, the Sanity Slippage is resolved through support from friends and uncle. That didn't stop many fans from noting how similar his behavior was to his sister's before her Villainous Breakdown, though.
    • The advice his father gave him as a form of manipulation also backfired in the sense that, for all of Zuko's moral rightness over his father, several of Ozai's philosophies were genuinely useful in bettering his rule as a Firelord.
    • Zuko is visibly unwell throughout the duration of The Promise, with a dark circle under his one good eye and increasingly apparent cheekbones, which implies that he also wasn't eating. And while it's not so apparent with his Fire Lord robes on, in nightclothes, his frame is visibly skinnier than it was in the series.
    • The Sanity Slippage is taken Up to Eleven when Zuko mentions to Aang that "...all I can hear is his (Ozai's) voice..." And they're not in Ozai's cell when he says this. Also, that one part where he was talking to Iroh's portrait was... interesting.
    • Zuko's one suicide attempt—that is, yelling at Aang to fulfill his promise of killing him and baring his chest to him—was also interesting.
  • Save the Villain:
    • Of a sort. Saved by Team Avatar in season 1 from freezing to death and by Aang from getting captured.
    • Zuko himself pulls this when he attempts to save Zhao from the Ocean Spirit in the Book One Finale. Zhao, however, is too prideful to take Zuko's help and lets the Spirit take him.
    • In the comics, he keeps trying to do this with Azula, out of a desire to help repair a family bond between them.
  • Scars Are Forever: Lampshaded in the series when he refuses Katara's offer to remove it. It can't be removed.
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: Lampshaded later, as when Aang goes missing, everyone looks to him. As Sokka points out, Zuko has the greatest experience chasing Aang from the South Pole to the North Pole.
  • Secret Identity: The Blue Spirit.
  • Shock and Awe: Can't generate lightning as of yet (to do so requires a serene and balanced heart, which Zuko doesn't have), but can redirect it.
  • Sick Episode: After releasing Appa from captivity in Ba Sing Se, he's so conflicted about his decisions and morality that he collapses and is bedridden for an entire episode. He spends the time having vivid nightmares.
  • Sixth Ranger: To Team Avatar; joined in Season 3.
  • Sliding Scale of Beauty: Jin, Mai, and the fangirls in the Beach Episode don't seem to mind his giant burn scar and lack of social skills, and he can summon Disturbed Doves by removing his shirt.
  • The Smart Guy: Not to the same extent as Sokka, but he has more instances of this than other characters in the show due to the fact that he relied solely on himself and his wits for the majority of the show instead of a team effort like Aang, Katara, and Toph.
  • Smarter Than You Look: Zuko never appears stupid, per se, but when compared to his sister Azula (the most brilliant character in the show), it's not really a contest between the two. That, combined with his obsession to please his father, can occasionally lead to rash and impulsive actions that are, well, stupid. However, far more often than not, Zuko displays keen intelligence, strategy, perception, and creativity, especially once he gets over his obsession and joins the Gaang.
    • For example, there are exchanges like these throughout the series:
    Pirate Captain: Shouldn't we stop to search the woods?
    Zuko: We don't need to stop. They stole a waterbending scroll, right?
    Pirate Captain: Mm-hm.
    Zuko: Then they'll be on the water.

    Zuko: Uncle! Uncle, where are you?
    Fire Nation soldier: Sir, maybe he thought you left without him.
    Zuko: Something's not right here. (He studies the hot spring Iroh was in, which is covered in rocks that point upwards) That pile of rocks.
    Fire Nation Soldier: It looks like there's been a landslide, sir.
    Zuko: Land doesn't slide uphill. Those rocks didn't move naturally. My uncle's been captured by earthbenders!
    • There was also the episode where he outsmarted the sunstone, managed to find Appa in a day (which the Gaang hadn't found in weeks of looking) just by catching a piece of fur and finding a Dai Li agent, using his ship's damage as a smokescreen, figuring out who killed Katara's mother just by listening to Sokka's description of a flag... the list goes on.
    • Even Sokka, the strategist of the group, praises his ability to improvise. Twice.
    Sokka (to Zuko, after he broke the lever to the gondola and almost missed the jump): What are you doing?
    Zuko: I'm making it so they can't follow us.
    Sokka: Way to think ahead!

    Sokka: He's crafty, but we'll find a way to capture him.
  • Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter: Complete with rain and yelling at the sky.
  • Snipe Hunt: No one actually expected Zuko to capture the Avatar when he got exiled. This did not stop him from giving it his all.
  • The Social Darwinist: Of the Struggler variety, if his monologue at the north pole is to be believed. He gradually mellows out of this mindset once he frees Appa and much later runs off to join the Gaang.
  • Springtime for Hitler: Trying to get struck by lightning was an attempt to learn to bend lightning, or at the very least, redirect it so it doesn't hurt him. Zuko knows that the universe hates him, so he tries to manipulate his bad luck and purposely get struck by lightning. This doesn't work, of course.
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside: He is short-tempered, arrogant, demanding and selfish (though with enough Pet the Dog moments to make it clear he's not all bad), and even after his eventual Heel–Face Turn, he is noticeably more brooding and serious than the others. He is also deeply hurt inside, and once his backstory is revealed in full, it's very easy to see why.
  • Speech Impediment: He has a distinct lisp that's less pronounced as the series progresses, but never really goes away. Dante Basco likes to think it's a result growing up with social anxiety.
    "It's like a thilver thandwich!"
  • The Starscream: In a way, Zuko is this to his father. He was the go-guy for his father in Season 3, especially during a war meeting before the eclipse. However, he realizes how wrong his father has been, and decides to help the Avatar overthrow him.
  • Starter Villain: He was the first main antagonist from the Fire Nation that Aang, Katara, and Sokka had to confront.
  • Stern Teacher: Becomes this to Aang at the time to learning him Firebending. He is a very strict and demanding but at the end comprensive and caring.
  • Stock Shōnen Rival: Zuko is all but one in name. His characterization and character development resembles that of the archetype's (specifically of the Privileged Rival type), however he is not officially Aang's rival. He starts out as a standard stronger, more pessimistic foil to the inexperienced, cheerful protagonist and undergoes a Heel–Face Turn later on. Zuko also has the common black hair and fire powers.
  • Stranger in a Familiar Land: Returning home to the Fire Nation in the beginning of Season 3 was everything he (thought he) hoped for and yet he was still angry.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: According to Bryke, Ozai's supposed to be an evil un-scarred version of Zuko. Which is lampshaded when the girls mistake a baby picture of Zuko, and it turns out to be Ozai's.
  • Successful Sibling Syndrome: He is the firstborn son of the Fire Nation Royal Family, but only had his mother's favor. Their father, the Fire Lord Ozai, gave favor to the younger firebending prodigy, Azula. Zuko's empathy was disdained while Azula's cruelty and ruthlessness were rewarded. In the end, though, Zuko ends up the successful one, and Azula ends up mentally damaged when her world falls down around her.
  • Super Breeding Program: Zuko is the largely successful product of one. According to The Search, his grandfather Azulon paired Ursa with Ozai in order to combine Sozin's blood with the Avatar's blood. It results in Zuko eventually being one of the most powerful benders in the franchise and the only human firebender capable of creating dragon fire.
  • Super Strength: Zuko (and Iroh) display this throughout the series, something nobody else does without specifically bending. Throughout the series, Zuko is shown to be able to:
    • Shatter iron chains with his swords without harming the blades at all.
    • Shatter small boulders thrown by Earthbenders with his swords, again with no damage to the swords.
    • Kick a boulder out of the air so hard its momentum right-angles. Said boulder was being used as a giant hammer by an Earthbender. Also, said boulder was much larger than Zuko himself. He then follows it up by shattering a metal chain with an axe kick.
    • Snap a cable car's steel control lever with a kick. While wearing thin prison slippers.
    • Keep up with Aang while going up a sheer cliff. Aang flew. Zuko climbed.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Word of God states that Zuko can hold his breath for an unusual amount of time—which is exemplified in "The Siege of the North: Part 1", when he swims upstream through the canals of the North Pole for an extended amount of time—without drowning, of course.
  • Super Reflexes: Zuko has several instances of this throughout the show, with his most famous showing probably in "The Desert"—he chops an arrow out of midair, while his back is turned.
  • Survival Mantra: At certain points in his life when he's feeling particularly low, he reminds himself that "Azula always lies."
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Word of God says in the Series Finale commentary that Zuko and Katara have only pity for Azula upon her defeat, not joy or satisfaction.
  • Taking the Bullet: Rather, lightning, for Katara.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: Though only taller than his peers, adults tower over him. Dark and Handsome parts always apply, just ask Mai.l
  • Tall, Dark, and Snarky: Tallest teenager in the series with raven hair and a cynical attitude.
  • Tame His Anger: True firebending, that is, the original stuff learned from dragons, is not about anger. It's about life and the warmth of the sun that brings life. Zuko incorporates this into his style to become kinder and stronger.
  • Team Dad: He acts this way towards Team Avatar and it provides an interesting contrast to Katara's Team Mom style of parenting. Zuko would rather give others the ability to solve the problems themselves rather than nagging at them. The two become the Designated Parents for the group and this is especially apparent in the comics. Zuko has a fondness for children - he refers to Aang affectionately as "kid", teaches a young Earth Kingdom boy how to wield a sword and is very protective of Kiyi (who turns out to be his half-sister).
  • Tears of Remorse: When he finally reunites with his uncle after treating him like crap and betraying him. He feels awful about it, and tearfully apologizes, swearing that he'll make it up to Iroh. Iroh hugs him before he finishes talking.
  • Technician vs. Performer: Zigzagged, as Zuko is ostensibly the "Technician" to Aang and Azula's "Performer"... but he started as a performer. As Iroh points out during their training sessions in Book 1, Zuko's techniques are showy and overly aggressive, which both leave him unbalanced and quickly tire him out. Lacking Aang's power as The Avatar and Azula's insane prodigious strength, he learns to make up the difference by fighting smarter, not harder. He eventually learns techniques that bring him on equal footing with his sister, and eventually surpasses her through his dedication to training (and her own fraying mental state).
  • Technicolor Fire: Although he for a long time lacked his sister's unique blue flames, Zuko eventually learns to create Dragon Fire.
  • Teen Genius: He doubles as this and Child Prodigy in terms of his swordsmanship. He also later becomes this with his firebending; after finding a power source that worked better for him than raw emotion, he becomes a definitive firebending master and becomes his prodigy sister Azula's equal within the space of two episodes.
    • His leadership skills also qualify. At the age of sixteen, Zuko was a competent public speaker, military commander, and strategist. The fact that he ruled his nation successfully too implies skill in court manners, politics, and economic management and dealings.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: After regaining his position as Firelord's heir Zuko struggled with this after witnessing the Earth Kingdom's citizens suffering and trying to come to terms with betraying his uncle. At the end he chosen to be good.
    • Even as Firelord Zuko struggles with this from time to time, especially with dealing with the Firenation Colonists in the comic book The Promise or issuing martial law against the Capital Citizens to stop kidnappings in Smoke and Shadow.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • He gradually improves throughout the series, but he makes dramatic improvements in season 3. It's then he learns to redirect the most powerful of lightning, holds his own against his sister, casually raise a huge fire tunnel that engulfs an entire hallway, and most importantly, firebends without relying on rage.
    • He takes more in the comics that continue the original series. This is particularly true in Smoke and Shadows, when it's revealed that Zuko can use dragon fire. He replicates the dragons' massive fire vortex and easily blocks half a dozen fireblasts with a whirlwind of flames that had rainbow colors within them. Judging by the reaction of the attackers, they didn't believe it was possible for one firebender to block so many others at once.
  • Took a Level in Cheerfulness: By the series finale, Zuko's angst and ill-tempered nature have evened out a little, even if he's still the most cynical and grumpy member of Team Avatar.
  • Took a Level in Idealism: He realizes that the ideology he was taught as a child was just a lie and dedicates his life to creating a new era of peace and kindness.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: After his Heel–Face Turn, he drops much of his grouchiness, and helps out the Gang and others.
  • Tragic Hero: Zuko also spends most of Season 2 and late Season 1 struggling with integrity and sense of right and wrong - until he succeeds in getting his honor back, discovers that he really didn't want it after all, and sets out to join the Gaang.
  • Trauma Conga Line:
    • Zuko's father was the quintessential Abusive Parent, and was downright brutal with Zuko by way of both physical and verbal abuse. According to Ozai himself, he wanted his son abandoned at birth because Zuko didn't have "that spark in his eye" that supposedly denoted a firebender. Fast forward a few years and Ozai is openly telling this to a six-year-old Zuko's face, along with the infamous "lucky to be born line". He also says this:

    Ozai (to Ursa): Every time I speak harshly to him... every time I wound him...
    • A few years later, Ozai was fully prepared and willing to murder his eight-year-old son in his sleep as a way to compensate for a mistake he made. Again, Zuko's death was only prevented by his mother's intervention - and this time, Ursa was banished as a result, leaving Zuko alone with his father. Five years after this, Zuko is brutally scarred by his father and exiled to find the century-missing, all-powerful Avatar. He eventually returns home, only to leave again - but not before his father mocks him and tries to shoot him full of lightning, marking the third time Ozai attempted Offing the Offspring.
    • Zuko's sister Azula was also vicious to him, even as a young child. The comics show her burning him in retaliation for tattling, and the show itself reveals that she regularly mocked and taunted him at every opportunity. She seemed to find it amusing when she found out that their father was going to kill Zuko and teased him about that too, and visibly found pleasure in watching Zuko be punished, in pain, or fail. This trend continued when they were older - she tried to kill him several times, shamelessly manipulated him, and is the only character in the show to have mocked his scar.
    • In a non-family sense, the finale ends with him taking lightning bolt in the chest and barely surviving. The next day he has to start ruling his country, which thought him a traitor the day before, and just got out of a century-long war. The stress gets him so crazy that his best friend nearly murders him.
  • Troubled, but Cute: His tragic past (see above entry) and broodiness only add to his allure (at least for the fangirls).
  • Tsundere: He acts broody and abrasive, but his interactions with Mai and Team Avatar show his softer side.
  • Tsurime Eyes: He has narrow, upwards arching eyes.
  • Two-Faced: Because of his father, during an Agni Kai. It's also a theme with his character, and the camera focuses both sides of his face separately when he's about to make a critical decision. Is the pristine, beautiful side the 'good' side, or is it a reminder of his position as the Fire Prince, and therefore 'evil'? Is the hideous, destroyed side a mark of evil, or is it a testament of his nobility and kind-hearted nature?
  • The Unfavorite: To his father, and grandfather at least. Zuko once remarked that they consider him "lucky to be born". His sister, by contrast, is said to be "born lucky".
  • The Unfettered: So much so that even Azula calls him ruthless in the "Smoke and Shadow" comic trilogy. When the children of the Fire Nation begin being kidnapped by masked terrorists, Zuko's response is to have his soldiers search and seize his people's homes and arrest any suspicious (and most likely innocent) citizens. It's so brutal that it causes mob violence—and Zuko has his soldiers put down any rebellion with military force. He even helps them out at one point.
    • The finale also counts as this. Zuko is so deadset on having Aang kill his father that when he catches Aang playing instead of training, he proceeds to attack him in order to get him to train.
  • Undying Loyalty: This is Zuko's greatest weakness and greatest strength. Loyalty kept Zuko on the side of his father and sister long after he stopped seeing things their way, but when he finally made up his mind to join Aang, he took a lot of punishment from them without complaint to win their trust, and he protected them over and over. In the sequel, Zuko abdicated the throne, naming his daughter Fire Lord, so that he could travel the world after Aang's death, to keep their dream alive while the Avatar could not.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Though not quite malicious. In "Zuko Alone", he says Azula always lies after she told him his father is going to kill him. In "The Day of Black Sun, Part 2", Ozai reveals to him that Azulon really ordered him to kill his son as punishment for mocking the death of Lu Ten.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: In the first part of the series he mostly relies on his anger to fuel his strength but is also capable of using the simple basics his uncle taught him to use more skill in his battles but seeing as his temper get the best of him he makes sloppy movements and is uses more brute force rather than skill.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: The abuse and loss Zuko suffered was already making him eligible for this trope, but the day his father burned and exiled him was when he really became this....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.
    Zuko: Why am I so bad at being good?!
  • Villain Forgot to Level Grind: Averted prior to his Heel–Face Turn. One of the many interesting things about Zuko as bad guy was that he was growing stronger and learning more about his art as the same time as The Hero. Every time Zuko and Aang clashed, Zuko did better in his fights, adapted better to Aang's style, and in general he was shown constantly training and trying to push himself to reach higher levels.
  • Villains Out Shopping: Even back when he was still an enemy to Team Avatar, we would get quite a few scenes of him and his uncle just doing mundane every day stuff, including shopping.
  • Villain Protagonist: Sort of. How evil he is at the start of the series is debatable, but he is still considered an enemy to Aang for most of the series, and it is mostly out of selfish interest (as sympathetic as he may be). Despite this, he is more often than not given a sympathetic POV and has entire subplots dedicated to him and his pursuits- often having to take down his own antagonists outside of the Gaang.
  • Villainous Valor: In Season 1, it's made abundantly clear that the odds are very much against him, but he never falters in his pursuit of Aang. It's lampshaded by Sokka, who says if they know one thing about Zuko it's that he never gives up.
  • Vocal Evolution: Zuko's lisp becomes less pronounced as the series goes on.
  • Warrior Prince: Prince of the Fire Nation and very skilled in combat.
  • 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.
  • Weak, but Skilled: While Zuko is a decent bender, he is trapped in the shadow of the rest of his family, and is almost always matched up against benders of prodigious skill, making him look much worse in comparison. He compensates for this by training constantly, being the biggest Determinator in the series, as well as practicing swordsmanship, resulting in him performing exceptionally well against opponents more naturally skilled than he is. While considered weak and worthless by his father with bending, without bending Ozai doubted he had any chance of beating him in a fight. The weak part goes away entirely after he trains with the dragons and becomes one of the most powerful benders in the world. Zuko also compensates for his lack of direct firebending mastery by combining skills learned from other tribes such as lightning redirection and counter-attack style earth bending philosophies and strokes. Zuko usually fights with the basics, but he's got so many ways to cover for his deficiencies later in the franchise that they're all he needs.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Earning his father's approval is his driving force. Later on it's his uncle's.
  • Well, Excuse Me, Princess!: Something of a male version of this trope in regards to Mai. She doesn't put up with his brooding and temperamental nature, instead encouraging him to lighten up.
  • What Would X 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.
  • What You Are in the Dark: A rare variation; By "Nightmares and Daydreams", he has everything he could possibly want; he's a Prince again, honored by his father, all the wealth he can imagine, servants to tend to his every need, and even a mutually loving relationship with his childhood sweetheart. Then he learns his father's Final Solution to continued rebellion in the Earth Kingdoms; to use Sozin's Comet and a fleet of airships to incinerate everyone and everything on the continent. He is thus driven to his Heel–Face Turn - even knowing the Gaang is very unlikely to accept his help, he's giving up everything just for the possibility of stopping that from happening.
  • When He Smiles: The poor guy is frowning so often (and for good reason), the few times he gives a genuine smile are really heartwarming.
  • 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; even if the Fire Nation citizens are in charge, everyone's standard of living is still better than before.
  • White Sheep: Zuko is a downright saint when one takes his grandfather, his sister and his father in comparison. He shares the White Sheep factor with his uncle and his mother.
  • The Worf Effect: Zuko is a solid firebender, but he tends to only fight opponents who are masters of their field, and so while he can defeat an opponent like Zhao, he almost never wins against the likes of Aang or Azula.
  • Worf Had the Flu: Word of God has 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.
  • Worthy Opponent: He sees himself as The Only One Allowed to Defeat You towards Aang, even going as far as to free him when he's in Zhao's captivity.
  • Would Hit a Girl: He's not fond of it. His personal foe is usually his little sister Azula, resident firebending prodigy and psychopath. In future comics, he hates fighting his sister because he's tired of having to fight her and wants to rebuild an actual familial bond with her. Regardless, nobody thinks ill of him for having to do so considering the ladies of the Avatar universe can kick some serious ass themselves.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Zuko's under the impression that he's a Warrior Prince on a Redemption Quest for disrespecting his lord and father. It's not until he hears said lord and father decide to wipe out a continent that he realizes that he's the Noble Demon destined to make a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: Zuko constantly runs into this just as he thinks he's about to accomplish his goals. He captures the Avatar in the Northern Water Tribe, and has no way of getting the boy off the ice field. He helps his sister take down the Avatar, but feels empty even when he was able to go home. He turns on his father and moves to rescue his uncle from captivity so he can apologize for the betrayal at Ba Sing Se, but Iroh has already escaped before they can reunite. He finally finds purpose, friends, and balance, and reconciles with his uncle, but is told that his true destiny is more than just to help the Avatar overthrow the Firelord, it's to become Firelord himself by defeating his sister once and for all.


Appa (阿柏)

Voiced by: Dee Bradley Baker

Aang's pet flying bison as well as his lifelong friend and companion who was sealed in the iceberg with him when he ran away. Acts as the group's main form of transportation.


Momo (模模)

Voiced by: Dee Bradley Baker

A flying lemur found in the ruins of the Southern Air Temple, Momo is Aang's other pet he picked up after being released from the iceberg. A close friend of Appa, he's just around for the comic relief.

  • Amplified Animal Aptitude: Despite not being able to understand human speech, Momo has proven time and time again to be a lot smarter than he lets on. He can tie knots around his wrist, unlock cages on his first try, and can even interact with other animals like they're his own species.
  • Appropriated Appellation: Weirdly subverted. He gets his name after eating a peach. (Momo is Japanese for peach, as well as being a common name given to pets in Japan.) The creators weren't aware of that at the time and just named him that because it fit.
  • Big Eater: He's more obsessed with food than Appa is.
  • Birds of a Feather: With Sokka. Most of their relationship revolves around comedic relief and fighting over food.
  • Interspecies Friendship: With Appa. Despite them occasionally fighting over food, and even fighting in a sleep-deprived hallucination from Aang, the two of them were clearly friends. This is best exemplified when Momo goes out searching for Appa on his own in The Tales of Ba Sing Se, and is visibly saddened when he finds his hopes dashed.
  • Leitmotif: A cheerful, fast-paced horn theme.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: A lemur and a bat.
  • Nearly Normal Animal: Momo is highly intelligent and quick-thinking, fitting since he's part primate. The episodes focusing on him play up this aspect of him.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Momo could very well be considered the animal equivalent of Sokka.
  • Team Pet: Aang's pet who provides cute comic relief.
  • The Unintelligible: Momo perceives human speech as gibberish.

Video Example(s):


Waterbending Demonstration and Duel

Katara teaches Avatar Aang the basics of waterbending / a duel between Katara and Master Pakku

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / MakingASplash

Media sources:

Main / MakingASplash