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    In General 
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: The royal family of the Fire Nation are dysfunctional for the most part. The great-grandfather, Sozin, was an idealistic man who started a war he ended up regretting at the end of his life, which included the murder of his best friend, Avatar Roku, and the near-complete genocide of the entire Air Nomads. The grandfather, Azulon, was a brutal tyrant who told his younger son to murder his grandson as punishment for mocking the death of his another grandson, Lu Ten. The father, Ozai, is the Big Bad of the series and an Omnicidal Maniac warlord who's continuing his family's policy of active genocide across the entire planet. He has raised his children to be as bad as he is, resulting in his son, Zuko, becoming a "Well Done, Son!" Guy whose face he horrifically scarred for talking back to him, and his daughter, Azula, a very powerful Daddy's Little Villain whose perfectionism and inability to socialize eventually lead to her having a Villainous Breakdown. The mother, Ursa, killed her father-in-law to save Zuko, leading to her exile that prevented her from having any positive influence on the children at all. The uncle, Iroh, is a good man, but was politically marginalized and only able to help provide a good example for his nephew. Commenting on it later, Toph says that given what his family was like, Zuko actually turned out a lot better than you might have expected.
  • The Dark Side Will Make You Forget: Both an individual and generational example. Fire Lord Sozin began the war with the idea of spreading the greatness and prosperity of the Fire Nation to the other nations of the world. By the end of his life, he had left his best friend to die and committed genocide. By the time of Fire Lord Ozai, any of Sozin's possible noble intentions were gone, with power being the only thing on Ozai and Princess Azula's mind.
  • Divine Right of Kings: At least, Azula believes in this being basis for their rule, but otherwise this is an Informed Attribute and not much emphasis is placed on it, though Fire Lords tended to portray themselves as godlike in their portraits. In subsequent comics, it's revealed the basis of their rule was years of conquest to unite the islands that were in a period of strife eons ago.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Much of Zuko, Azula, and Ozai's characterization shifts are reflected by changes in their hairstyles.
  • Family Theme Naming: Nearly every member of the Fire Nation royal family has the letter "z" somewhere in their name — Sozin, Azulon, Ozai, Zuko, Azula, Izumi. Strangely, only the ones who were set to inherit the throne but didn't for various reasons avert this, such as Iroh and his son, Lu Ten.
  • Good Princess, Evil Queen: Inverted with the Fire Nation royal family. Princess Azula is the menacing and increasingly unstable Daddy's Little Villain to the evil Fire Lord Ozai, while her MIA mother Fire Lady Ursa is remembered as gentle and kind (in the eyes of the militaristic Fire Nation, this does not mean she was remembered fondly.) During Azula's Villainous Breakdown she hallucinates her mother's disapproval.
  • It Runs in the Family: The royal family of the Fire Nation have a tendency to be sociopathic nutjobs. For some odd reason, it only seems to happen to one family member per generation, unfortunately, until the last two generations that one person was the eldest son.
  • Jacob and Esau: Physically, Zuko strongly resembles his father Ozai while Azula takes after Ursa. However, the gentle Ursa favored The Unfavorite Zuko, while the megalomaniac Ozai favored the prodigy Azula.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: This is what leads to Zuko's eventual Heel–Face Turn. He'd been hesitating for a while, thinking that his family really were good people, despite all the massive evidence otherwise: it's when his father and sister plan to burn the entire Earth Kingdom to the ground that he realizes they've jumped off.
  • Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: Sozin claims the Fire Nation's campaign of global conquest is a way of "sharing their wealth and ideals with the rest of the world and uniting the four nations". Over the century this campaign lasted the Fire Nation has committed actions such the genocide of the Air Nomads (a peaceful people) to try and wipe out the next Avatar, the kidnapping and displacement of the Southern Water Tribe, attempted genocide of the Sun Warriors (who themselves are Fire Nation), occupation of Earth Kingdom territory, and propaganda meant to paint other nations as savage and evil. Roku saw through it immediately, and Zuko calls out his father Ozai and by extension the entire Fire Nation out on this, pointing out that the Fire Nation's actions have justifiably earned them nothing but hate and fear from the people all around the world. While Sozin's Well-Intentioned Extremist might be genuine or at least was at one point, but both his son and younger grandson obviously don't really believe a word of it and merely pretend to be as part of their propaganda.
  • Parental Favoritism: Iroh believes this to be the Fatal Flaw of the royal family, as picking favorites only encourage destructive rivalry between family members, only leading to more pain and suffering. What's worse is that it's treated as normal, meaning that future generations would continue to play favorites had Zuko not broke the mold.
  • Royally Screwed Up: The line of the Fire Lords has... issues. Specifically, a tendency toward being sociopathic and homicidal on both a personal and national level. Again, if there's hope for stopping the ruling lunatics, it seems likely to come from the branches of the tree that didn't get hit with the genocidal batshit crazy stick — disgraced traitor, Iroh, or screwed-up-but-trying-to-improve disgraced traitor, Zuko. For the most part, the Fire Lords seem to have avoided taking out their issues on their own people, so their own common folks seem to be reasonably pleased with their rulers. It's just everyone else on the planet who's rightfully terrified. The problem isn't likely to go away until the planetary balanced is fixed; it seems to be spiritual in nature. (One ancestor went power-mad three generations back, and his successors have continued his policies. And why not, as they seem to be working fine — as long as you're Fire Nation, that is.)
  • The Un-Favourite: If there are two siblings, chances are one will be picked over the other. For Azulon, he favors Iroh over Ozai. For Ozai, he favors Azula over Zuko. This breeds resentment and rivalry between the two siblings.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Parental favoritism in the royal family tends cause the next generation (usually The Un-Favourite) to do everything they could to win their previous generation's approval. Since they were in a period of war that lasted for 100 years, that means being more brutal, horrific and ruthless.

Current Generation

Fire Lord Ozai's Family

    Ozai 

    Ursa 

Princess Ursa

Voiced by: Jen Cohn (original), Keyros Guillén (Latin American Spanish)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/princess-ursa_large.png
"That's what moms are like — if you mess with their babies, they're going to bite you back."

Even as Ozai's wife, Ursa was a caring mother to their children (though she had considerable problems dealing with Azula.) She was one of the few people who consistently supported Zuko, and it came as a hard blow to him when she suddenly disappeared.


  • All for Nothing: Her banishment. She agreed to be banished for her freedom so long as Ozai doesn't kill the children. Despite this, Zuko was still physically abused while Azula suffered emotional abuse.
  • Arranged Marriage: Revealed to be the case with her marriage to Ozai, basically because Fire Lord Azulon wanted to conduct a eugenics experiment.
  • Awful Wedded Life: The comics explain that her marriage was arranged and that her married life with Ozai was NOT what she wanted at all.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: One of the kindest fire nation royals. She is also responsible for Azulon's death.
  • Blue Blood: She comes from a prominent and respected family, being Avatar Roku's granddaughter.
  • Break His Heart to Save Him: Downplayed. Ursa wasn't rude towards her lover Ikem, but she did tell him that she "joyfully accepted" Ozai's proposal to stop his attempts to resist, which would almost certainly get him killed.
  • Break Them by Talking: When she visits Ozai in prison, her former husband tries to break her with every death threats he could think of. Taking in Iroh's advice, she ignores his words and instead probes for his weakness underneath that fury. Once she finds it, she gives out "The Reason You Suck" Speech of how Ozai is a deeply insecure, little man who hates himself in addition to his family, and that is enough to shock Ozai into silence and eventually lead to his Villainous Breakdown.
  • Broken Bird: It turns out she's deeply unhappy in her marriage to Ozai, which was extorted through implied threats to the man she really loved. She also carries a lot of guilt over Ozai's mistreatment of her beloved son, which she inadvertently caused. And that's before she's forced to kill her father-in-law. When met at the beginning of The Search, Ursa was a confident tomboy. After a miserable marriage to a man with overwhelming power and terrifying reach, she's no longer as strong as she thought she was; to the point of having her memories of her past life and children erased because of the overwhelming pain.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Before being forced to marry Ozai, Ursa had a lover named Ikem, who was also her childhood friend.
  • Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You: She left Zuko and Azula as young children because she was banished from the Fire Nation for killing the previous Fire Lord to save Zuko's life. The Search gives another heartbreaking reason, making her an Unwitting Instigator of Doom: She sent a fake letter to see if her letters were being interrupted. Ozai indeed intercepts it and confronted her about it. Rather than hit her, Ozai goes above and beyond and disavows anything of Zuko and would do anything to hurt him just to "hurt the things Ursa cares about." Which also gave Ursa the clue that if she tried anything, he would kill Zuko AND Azula. Because of this, Ursa had to shun Azula so Ozai wouldn't try to hurt her the same way and had to focus more on protecting Zuko so Ozai wouldn't kill him. Tragically, this also gave Azula her massive mother issues.
  • Divine Parentage: She is the granddaughter of Avatar Roku. This was the reason for her forced marriage to Ozai.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Double Subverted. She thought that finding Ikem, changing her identity and marrying him was the happy ending she wanted. When Team Avatar finds her, she came to realize that this was not what she truly wanted. Reconciling with her son, who is now Fire Lord, eased the sting. Now if only she can repeat the feat with Azula....
  • The Exile: She was banished from the Fire Nation for treason.
  • Fatal Flaw:
    • Due to circumstances she herself created (again, worth noting that she didn't expect Ozai's reaction to the whole thing) She failed to balance her affection between Zuko and Azula, resulting in Azula thinking that she ''never'' loved her because she is a monster due to being heavily influenced by Ozai.
    • Ursa has a bad penchant for underestimating. She really did not understand the depth of Ozai's depravity and cruelty; nor did she ever fathom the consequences for her actions. She doesn't do this maliciously; but she lacks the foresight others would, and it not only cost her dearly, but it also affected Zuko and Azula long term.
  • Gilded Cage: After marrying Ozai, her new life was better than her backwater village due to the comforts of the Palace. However, Ursa wasn't allowed to speak to her family or mention her pre-Fire Nation princess life again after their wedding. She couldn't have certain possessions or travel where she wants without the Royal family's permission. Even the letters secretly sent back home were intercepted and confiscated.
  • Good Parents: She loved her children, did her best to temper Azula's Troubling Unchildlike Behavior, and was banished from the Fire Nation for killing the previous Fire Lord to save Zuko's life. But as The Search reveals, she doesn't consider herself a perfect one.
  • Heroic BSoD: Up until the end of Smoke and Shadows, she has a very difficult time dealing with reminders of Ozai and her time with him.
  • Identical Granddaughter: She looks very similar to Roku's wife; Ta Min, who's also her grandmother.
  • Irony: Her last words to Zuko are "Never forget who you are!" She then proceeds to literally and willingly forget a significant part of who she is, and who Zuko and Azula are for that matter.
  • Lady Macbeth: Downplayed. Ursa came up with the idea of killing Azulon and made a bargain with Ozai to help him become Fire Lord, but she did it in order to protect Zuko.
  • Mama Bear: She used to provide the main page quote: "That's what moms are like — if you mess with their babies, they'll bite you back." ; she knows what she's talking about, having orchestrated the murder of Fire Lord Azulon for ordering her son Zuko's death.
  • Master Poisoner: She knew a lot about poisons and herbs thanks to her mother. She gave Ozai an odor-less, color-less poison to kill Azulon.
  • Meaningful Name: Ursa is Latin for "bear." It Gains further meaning when one stops to think of Ozai's use of the word "vicious" to describe her treason. Right after telling Zuko that disfiguring his son wasn't a big deal and right before he tries to smite the boy.
  • Missing Mom: She left Zuko and Azula as young children because she was banished from the Fire Nation for killing the previous Fire Lord to save Zuko's life.
  • Moment of Weakness: It's revealed in The Search that Ursa choose to have her memories of her life as the former Crown Princess of the Fire Nation erased by the Mother of Faces in order to live her life over with Ikem free of the trauma and pain she suffered under Ozai. This includes the memory of her children despite how much she loved them. After deciding to have her memories restored at the end of the book she is left ashamed of herself that she chose to give up her memories of her children and vows to make up for her mistake with Zuko.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The Search reveals that while she was still married to Ozai she regularly tried to send letters to Ikem her true love that were constantly intercepted. To see if her letters have been intercepted, Ursa wrote a letter that states that Zuko was Ikem's son rather than Ozai's, knowing that it would provoke Ozai. It backfired horribly, as Ozai's jealousy and rage over this caused him to openly treat Zuko as if he was not his own son as punishment for Ursa (though Ozai had already been treating Zuko pretty badly even before his confrontation with Ursa). Tragically, this also led to Ozai favoring and corrupting Azula. Furthermore, because of Ursa's ploy backfiring heavily, she had to protect and focus more on Zuko, unintentionally neglecting Azula (at least from her perspective) in the process. As a consequence, Azula was never properly disciplined by her mother and ends up becoming (from Azula's own perspective) a monster that her mother doesn't want. The worst part of it all? Ursa's plan and fallout from it was nothing more than Disproportionate Retribution. Ursa likely presumed that she would've been just yelled at if not hit by Ozai. But for Ozai to turn around and no longer have any qualms about killing Zuko or Azula was WAY too far.
  • Parents as People: While Urza loved her children dearly she made several mistakes that show she wasn't the perfect mother that Zuko remembered her to be. She was a little to focused on protecting and raising Zuko and unintentionally neglected Azula which not only caused her to fall under her fathers influence but also gave her major emotional issues since she was left to believe that her own mother hated her and considered her a monster. And as "The Search, Part 3" reveals that she willingly had her memories wiped by the Mother of Faces after Ozai banished her. Ozai forbade her from contacting Zuko and Azula and she loved them too much to bear knowing of them but never seeing them again. Even Noriko, who is Ursa under memory loss and with a new identity, admits this when she hears of what her past-self did, and when she's restored to being Ursa, she re-iterates this admittance to Zuko, outright asking herself "what kind of mother forgets her own children?"
  • Parental Favoritism: Played with and deconstructed. Ursa loves both her children dearly, but she preferred to spend time with Zuko, since he was more like her while Azula took more after Ozai. That Zuko was disdained by his father also made Ursa very protective of him, whereas she wasn't afraid to punish Azula's sadistic impulses (the very thing that made Azula Ozai's favorite in the first place). Azula was thus left believing that her mother didn't love her, leaving her with deep mental scars, including a need for Ozai's approval, jealously of Zuko, and a resentment of Ursa.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: According to the old official site, she was the perfect match for Ozai, though they grew distant later on. Subverted in The Search, which reveals that she pretended to love Ozai because the alternative would endanger both her original fiancé and both their families.
  • Rape as Backstory: Implied. It is, unsurprisingly, never explicitly shown or stated, but given their marriage was unhappily arranged and Ozai's controlling nature, it isn't hard to guess that neither Zuko nor Azula were willingly conceived.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Ursa gives one to Ozai upon seeing him in his cell, trying to dominate her with threatening words but powerless nonetheless. Rather than just call him a monster, Ursa decides to reduce Ozai's character as a small man with a big ego and a tiny heart. And to drive the point in a manner that Ozai would understand, she says he couldn't even love himself.
  • She Knows Too Much: She was banished because she, along with Ozai, knew the truth behind Azulon's death and how to make an undetectable poison. For Ozai, such knowledge could easily delegitimatize his claim for the throne or worse, make him a target for assassination by her machinations (and with good reasons).
  • Silk Hiding Steel: While her family run around the world and are driven by personal honor/ambition/friendship, she calmly took care of them. That means encouraging her children to play together and killing her father-in-law to save her son, while never breaking the mask.
  • Sliding Scale of Parent-Shaming in Fiction: Type I. She doted on her son, Zuko, who was badly ignored and mistreated by his father, but in doing so, accidentally forgot to give her daughter, Azula, the same protection. While she did love her daughter very much, she mistook Azula's behavior to mean she could handle things on her own even though Ozai was just as bad to her in a different way. In addition, because Ozai's favoring Azula's abilities and Ursa's letter put Zuko's life at risk by Ozai, she thought Azula was at least fine on her own. This messed Azula up badly and ultimately led to her Villainous Breakdown in the Grand Finale. Ursa tried to patch things up with her in The Search and Azula seemed to let her, only to run away later on.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: With Ikem. An Arranged Marriage kept them apart.
  • Tarnishing Their Own Beauty: She gained a completely new identity from the Mother of Faces who offered a less attractive one to test her sincerity. She accepts it since she is on the run.
  • Token Good Teammate: Before Iroh's and Zuko's respective Character Developments, she was the least evil member of the Fire Nation's Royal Family, as unlike the other two, she was never directly involved in the atrocities comitted by the Fire Nation, and she tried to be a good parent to both her children.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: They had a scene storyboarded detailing her ultimate fate in the finale, but it got cut due to Mike and Bryan feeling such a brief scene would be unsatisfactory. This question is finally answered in The Search.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Her writing the letters to her first love Ikem that she wished Zuko to be his first-born than Ozai's reached the latter when his soldiers intercepted the letters. The revelation drove an already teering-near-insanity Ozai into full-blown villainy as he decides to make Zuko's life hell and almost trying to kill him twice under various pretexts. Ozai will also encourage cruelty and sociopathic tendencies in Azula, judging kindness and other noble values as 'weakness', which eroded her own morality and made her into a self-proclaimed monster.
  • Yamato Nadeshiko: She is soft-spoken, beautiful, calm and very proper, teaching Zuko about small things in the ways of life and wondering what's wrong with Azula when she's in full Creepy Child mode. She shows the core of iron by killing her father-in-law to save Zuko's life. The Search reveals that she wasn't this when she was younger. On the contrary, she was rather tomboyish.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Unfortunately, it goes both ways because the first time, she was part of an arranged marriage to someone she did not love. The second time, it's because she was exiled and can never see her children again, and her old home isn't the same anymore. After Zuko has revoked her banishment, however, returning to the capital hasn't been easy for her either.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: After Ursa gives him the poison, Ursa would be the final loose end; Ozai had to banish Ursa without her taking the children, and to avoid exposing him as his father's murderer.

    Zuko 
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    Azula 

Iroh's Family

    Iroh 

    Lu Ten 

Prince Lu Ten

Voiced by: Mae Whitman (original, child)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/lu_ten.png
"If only I could have helped you."Iroh

Iroh's only son, who like his father served in the Fire Nation army, and died during the siege of Ba Sing Se, prompting Iroh's withdrawal from the city, his retirement from the army, and his Heel–Face Turn. It also provoked Ozai's grab for the throne and everything that followed.


  • Big Brother Mentor: Is implied to have been this to Zuko.
  • Cheerful Child: He was one, judging by Iroh's memories of him playing at firebending.
  • The Ghost: Never appears, save once as a child in a flashback. We do see what he looked like around the time he died if the picture his father puts over his grave is an accurate representation.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: His death caused Iroh's Heel–Face Turn.
  • Missing Mom: We never heard a single thing about her, not even a name or a brief mention by her husband. Not even in flashbacks.
  • Modest Royalty: Isn't ever addressed as "prince", despite his father being first in line for the throne. He also served in the army, rather than staying home and directing the war from there.
  • Never Speak Ill of the Dead: Amazingly, even Ozai and Azula, both of whom despise his father and would have no compunctions about expressing their opinions, are never heard saying a bad word about Lu Ten himself. Fire Lord Azulon was offended and furious that Ozai would dismiss his death and Iroh's grieving.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: A rather saddening variant. The picture of Lu Ten that Iroh puts on the shrine was based off a younger picture of Mako, Iroh's voice actor. His last recording before his death was the song "Leaves from the Vine", and he passed away before "The Tales Of Ba Sing Se" was broadcast.
  • Posthumous Character: He died about five years before the time that the series begins.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Lu Ten only has a few scenes scattered across the seasons for appearances (most of which are just flashbacks or people remembering him) but his death was the catalyst for the majority of the plot; if he hadn't died, Iroh would not have had his Heel–Face Turn and would have likely leveled Ba Sing Se, pretty much ending the war almost a decade before Aang would awaken again.

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Past Generations

    Sozin 

Fire Lord Sozin

Voiced by: Ron Perlman (original, elderly), Lex Lang (original, adult), Sean Marquette (original, teen), Nelson Medina and Rolando Silva (Latin American Spanish)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/old_sozin.png
"I've been thinking: We should share this prosperity with the rest of the world. In our hands is the most successful empire in history. It's time we expanded it."

Sozin is the man responsible for the destruction of the Air Nomads, father to Azulon, grandfather to Iroh and Ozai, and great-grandfather to Zuko, Azula, and Lu Ten. As Fire Lord during Roku's era, Sozin plotted to take over the world as a way of sharing the Fire Nation's prosperity with everyone. Knowing that the Avatar would oppose his plans, he used the power of a passing comet to launch a devastating first strike on the Air Nomads, wiping them out (except Aang, who he missed) and leaving him free to wage a one hundred year war. Although he is now long dead, his comet will return to allow his grandson Ozai to do the same for the rest of the world.


  • Ambiguous Start of Darkness: We know he had become thoroughly evil by the point that he left his former best friend, Avatar Roku, to die (after pretending to save his life, at that) to stop him from interfering with Sozin’s plan to Take Over the World. But it is not clear whether he had ever truly believed what he had originally said about sharing prosperity with the rest of the world, or whether that was always an excuse for imperialism. The whole backstory is told by Roku’s spirit, and he was absent for decades at a time, and by the time he learned what was happening Sozin had already fallen so far as to consider any and all criticism treasonous.
  • The Ace: Whatever else you can say about him, he was undeniably an extraordinary Fire Bender - he's the only Fire Bender we see besides his grandson Iroh (who is probably the most skilled fire bender of his time) who doesn't merely bend fire, but heat. And Iroh usually does it with tea. Sozin did it with a volcano.
  • Ambition Is Evil: It is when it leads you to leave your best friend to die. Not to mention that whole "take over the world" thing.
  • The Atoner: Averted. He did genuinely regret his actions, but only at the end of his life, too late to actually atone for anything.
  • Bait the Dog: Right before he begins his plans for conquest, he's personally helping to save his citizens (and best friend) from an erupting volcano.
  • Beard of Evil: He appears to have started the trend that his son and grandson took up. Notably, he only started growing a beard after he started to develop his imperial ambitions.
  • Betrayal by Inaction: After arriving on Roku's island and helping his old friend evacuate the civilians and try to stem the volcano's eruption Roku is hit full on with a pocket of toxic gas and asks Sozin for his help. After realizing that, if Roku were to die, he could finally go through with his imperialistic plans, Sozin flew off the island on his dragon and left his friend to die covered in volcanic ash.
  • Big Bad Friend: Towards Roku who was his best friend growing up.
  • Broken Pedestal: Every generation of rulers up to him became this for Zuko as the series progresses. Zuko throughout his life used to believe that Sozin's war was a just cause for spreading greatness to the rest of the world, but all the war has brought was not greatness, but fear and terror on other people.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Seems to think that Roku being of the Fire Nation means he, Sozin, can order around a fully-trained Avatar. What follows is arguably the most one-sided "fight" in the entire franchise.
  • Cain and Abel: The Cain to Roku's Abel in the former friends variety.
  • Creepy Monotone: Courtesy of Ron Perlman.
  • Darth Vader Clone: Consdering he's the Evil Former Friend of the hero's mentor. Heck, his final confrontation with Roku even takes place in a volcanic environment.
  • Death by Irony: He started off as a nationalist that wanted to "share Fire Nation prosperity" with the world. By the end of his life, not only did he regret ever acting upon his ambitions, but he realized all too late that he couldn't do a damn thing to change it. It's a healthy dose of irony, karma and a rather tragic finish to what could've been a great leader (morally speaking).
  • The Dragon Slayer: During his reign as Firelord, Sozin started a tradition of dragon hunting that nearly wiped out the species. Those firebenders that succeeded in this endeavor, gained the title “Dragon”.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: The way he betrays Roku by leaving said former friend to die on the volcano of the latter's island. However, he feels that Roku betrayed him earlier by spurning his plan.
  • Evil Former Friend: Towards Roku. He betrays his friend by leaving him to die on the volcano when he had the chance to save him.
  • Evil Is Petty: In addition to betraying his friend, initiating a genocide, and kickstarting a hundred year war, Sozin was responsible for outlawing same-sex relationships, hunting down dragons, and erasing Fire Nation history before his reign. In some regards, he's even worse than Ozai because unlike his grandson, he successfully carried out all these petty misdeeds.
  • Evil Old Folks: Sozin was 82 when the Hundred Year War began.
  • Evil Plan: To Take Over the World. He didn't think it was evil at first and his descendants all continue carrying out this plan. His grandson Ozai almost succeeded.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Comes with being voiced by Ron Perlman.
  • Friend or Idol Decision: In a way. During the eruption of the volcano of Roku's island, he has to choose between saving his best friend's life or letting him die to pursue his dreams of conquest. Unfortunately for the world, he chose his ambition.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Ozai is the current leader of the Fire Nation, sure, but Sozin was the one responsible for the creation of the militaristic dictatorship that lead to the atrocity and 100-Year War that requires the Avatar to act in the first place.
  • Hairstyle Inertia: Sozin has donned his man bun since at least his teenage years.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: He realizes towards the end of his life that starting a world war and killing his best friend wasn't worth making the world better, but dies too soon afterward to fix things. At the very least, it's demonstrated that he was able to posthumously direct Zuko to help stop what he began.
  • Heel Realisation: At the end of his life he realized he was a villain and that his plan to "share prosperity" was only leading to pain.
  • Heteronormative Crusader: As revealed in Turf Wars, he outlawed same-sex relationships.
  • Irony:
    • The greatest and most renowned Fire Lord....dies filled with regret at everything he did.
    • He committed the Air Nomad genocide in order to wipe out the next Avatar before he could become a threat. His genocide killed every single Air Nomad except the one he was looking for.
    • Even though he ultimately lost the Hundred Year War, his dream of uniting all four nations under one rule was realized when Aang and Zuko founded the United Republic.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: He doesn't physically suffer for his actions, but he ultimately comes to realize that he committed unforgivable atrocities by annihilating the Air Nomads and betraying his best friend, on top of wasting his life on a wild goose chase to find the next Avatar. At the end of his life, Sozin dies a rather somber man, unable to enjoy his success or attempt to undo the damage he's done. The world let Sozin off, but his conscience didn't.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Sozin decreed the practice of hunting dragons for glory which led to the almost complete extinction of the species. This in spite of the fact that Sozin owned a dragon himself.
    • Turf Wars reveals he outlawed same-sex relationships. While this attitude actually fits the real-life setting and era the Fire Nation was based on, it's said to have been tolerant beforehand. No reason why he did this other than to establish "That guy was the worst!" is given.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Begrudgingly, but quickly backs down when Roku orders him to cease his imperialism by way of destroying half of the palace and leaving him to hang from a stories-high pillar. Sozin doesn't so much as make a peep about his ambitions until after Roku's death.
  • May–December Romance: He died at the age of 102, and his son Azulon became Fire Lord at 20 (meaning that Sozin fathered him at the age of 82). It is safe to say that Sozin was much older than his wife.
  • The Napoleon: He was short compared to his old friend Roku.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Sort of. After he ordered the massacre of all dragons, the Fire Nation lost its advantage to make air attacks.
  • Opportunistic Bastard: He went to Roku's island with the genuine intent of helping, but when he saw an opportunity to get rid of Roku and realized that would allow his dreams of conquest to flourish, he took it.
  • Playing with Fire: A fire bender second only to the Avatar of his time.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: He displays an imperialist, and at least implicitly racist attitude towards other nations. In addition, The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars reveals that he outlawed same-sex relationships.
  • Posthumous Character: We learned of his backstory through a flashback-like episode, particularly by word-of-mouth from Roku and Zuko's history scrolls. Azula pitched in on the basics of Sozin's impact on the world at the beginning, too.
  • Predecessor Villain: To Ozai, and his conflict started the entire plot of the show before his death.
  • Pride: Sozin at the end of his life knew that his life was a total waste and that he had committed horrible atrocities in the name of changing and saving the world, which to do so he murders his best friend in cold blood and initiates a genocide that fails to kill the one person he was after. Sozin knows he is irredeemable, but has far too much pride to openly admit that he committed horrible acts of evil and thus the war continues on for nearly a century after his death.
  • Pyrrhic Villainy: As mentioned above, after betraying his best friend and committing genocide on the Air Nomads, he spent the rest of his life hunting down the Avatar to no avail. He died a depressed, broken man.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Averted. He came to regret many of his decisions, but never got a chance at redemption.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something:
    • Despite having had a falling out with Roku years before, he was still willing to help him save Fire Nation citizens from an erupting volcano.
    • Dialogue from Aang describing the Fire Nation before the war implies that he was a competent ruler.
  • Shadow Archetype:
    • To Zuko — Both betray someone they cared about for the sake of their goal, only to regret it, the difference being Sozin came to regret it too late to do anything about it. Learning this is one of the things that leads to Zuko's Heel–Face Turn.
    • To Roku — The men were literally born on the same day, both growing up in the upper echelons of the Fire Nation as best friends, and both had good intentions and a desire to improve the world. The difference was all in how: Roku wanted to help people as they needed it, Sozin wanted to impose solutions to create his vision of a better world.
  • Shipper on Deck: In his youth, he helped a young Roku try to court the latter's future wife, Ta Min.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: He is Roku's former friend who only appears in flashbacks, the Fire Lord who was single-handedly responsible for starting the Hundred Year War, and causing all kinds of misery.
  • Stout Strength: Sozin had a considerably shorter and wider frame than Roku, but was obviously well built and physically powerful.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: A bit older than the usual examples, but we first see Sozin as a cheerful, chubby teenager practicing firebending with Roku, and helping Roku ask out a girl he liked (who, as it happens, would be Roku's future wife). He is also quite generous, giving away a precious treasure to Roku (Roku's signature hairpiece, to be specific, a piece of Fire Nation regalia only ever meant to be worn by the Crown Prince), just so Roku will have a piece of home to take with him on his trip around the world.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Even after Roku chose to spare his life due to their past friendship and saved him from falling from the volcano on his island Sozin still left his friend to die so his plans of conquest could continue uncontested.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Ends up being a subversion, as he realized his utopia wasn't worth everything he'd done to try and create it.
  • Villainous Legacy: A textbook example. Sozin is long dead by the time the series starts, but he was the one who put the Fire Nation on its imperialistic path and started the war.
  • Visionary Villain: Despite all that he would come to do (and destroy), Sozin had truly wanted to share his nation's wealth and prosperity to the rest of the world.
  • Was It Really Worth It?: At the end of his life, he decides that no, it really wasn't. Too bad his descendants didn't take a hint. Until Zuko realizes so.
  • We Can Rule Together: Offers this to Roku, his best friend and the Avatar, pointing out that together they would be unstoppable. Roku will have none of it.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: As illustrated by his quote. Unfortunately, his descendants dropped the "well-intentioned" part altogether, until Zuko and Iroh did their Heel–Face Turn.
  • White Man's Burden: Essentially what he's trying to do to the world to forcibly make everyone's lives better by incorporating them into the Fire Nation. While his descendants weren't as interested in helping the world, they continued to preach this as propaganda.

    Azulon 

Fire Lord Azulon

Voiced by: Walker Edmiston

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/avatar_the_last_air_bender_firelord_azulon_png_by_metropolis_hero1125_de4zkqr.png
"You dare suggest that I betray Iroh? My firstborn? Directly after the demise of his only beloved son?! I think Iroh has suffered enough. But YOU, your punishment has scarcely begun!"

Azulon was the Fire Lord before Ozai, son of Sozin, father to Iroh and Ozai, and grandfather to Zuko, Azula, and Lu Ten. Famed for his military prowess and skill at firebending, he ruled the Fire Nation with an iron grip. He was a man with little warmth in him, sentencing men to death with a stunning callousness. Ozai seemed to have had as strained a relationship with him as he did with his own son, always seeking to earn his favor but always being met with scorn. After Ozai tried his patience one time too many, making an inappropriate bid for the throne, Azulon ordered Zuko's death, to teach his son a lesson in humility. He died shortly after giving that order, making way for Ozai to succeed him as Fire Lord.


  • Abusive Parents: He ordered Ozai to kill Zuko so he would know what it is like to lose a son. Ozai later admits that he would have actually gone through with it if Ursa hadn't intervened. It's left ambiguous if he carried on this from his father, Sozin, or if he started the "tradition" of Fire Lords being abusive bastards (not enough of Sozin's family life is shown to know for sure).
  • The Ace: He was an accomplished general for the Fire Nation, turned the army more efficient, leading to numerous conquests. Furthermore Azulon was considered one of the best firebenders in the world with no one daring to cross him and is remembered as one of the Fire Nations strongest and most efficient leaders.
  • Asshole Victim: Outside of him seemingly caring for Iroh and Lu Ten, all signs point to Azulon's lack of benevolence, political or private. Supplementary material shows him ruling the Fire Nation with an iron fist and carrying out the war against the other nations with brutality only matched by Ozai. Of note were his orders to raid the Southern Water Tribe and kidnap all its waterbenders, leading to the tribe's collapse and almost complete destruction of its culture. Also, he was willing to have his innocent grandson killed just to prove a point to Ozai. Other than possibly Iroh, it's unlikely anyone missed him when Ozai and Ursa killed him. Though at the very least, he got a funeral.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: During his funeral, it's mentioned he led some of the Fire Nation's conquests. Also, he was considered the most powerful firebender of his time.
  • Bait the Dog: He seems to be stern but reasonable in his only scene, calling out Ozai's inappropriate bid for the throne and expressing sympathy for Iroh's loss of his only son. But then Azulon orders Ozai to kill Zuko as punishment for defying the Fire Lord, making it clear that Ozai's abusive tendencies were perfectly "normal" in the Royal Family. It's also likely that Azulon's outrage over Ozai's bid for the throne was less in defense of Iroh and more over his authority being challenged.
  • Beard of Evil: Much like his father and son, he was a ruthless dictator, and grows a long, thin beard.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: He's sympathetic towards his own grandson Lu Ten dying but is perfectly willing to order his youngest son to murder his own son just because he feels Ozai crossed him.
  • Child Prodigy: Presumably, since Ozai compares Azula's abilities to Azulon's own at the same age.
  • Death by Irony: The Search revealed that Azulon's death was caused by an untraceable poison, made from the flowers he was admiring in Ursa's family greenhouse.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: His response to Ozai's bid for the birthright of the throne was to make Ozai kill his own son. While Azulon clearly saw this to be proportionate to Iroh's loss of his only son, it was unnecessarily cruel and only reinforced Ozai's present belief that burning Zuko's face for talking out of turn was normal for the Fire Lord to do.
  • The Dreaded: Word of God states that no one dared to cross him when speaking of his firebending prowess and ruthless persona. Azulon's ironfisted reign was also a pretty good reason. Heck, Ozai was only able to cross and overthrow him with help from Ursa via poison and likely didn't even consider a coup until Ursa mentioned her plan.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: As his quote illustrates, he didn't appreciate Ozai's attempt to use Lu Ten's death to usurp the birthright from Iroh. However, it was more because he was offended at Ozai trying to cross him, even though it was a pragmatic solution to continue his bloodline.
  • Evil Old Folks: We only know him as an abusive grandfather, or at the very least only towards Ozai and his bloodline. But, he definitely ordered the extermination of the Southern Water Tribe's waterbenders.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He acts friendly and charming to Ursa's family but it's really just a charade to force Ursa into an arranged marriage with Ozai in order to breed powerful firebenders for the royal bloodline. In his later years, he doesn't seem impressed by Ozai's children, not even with Azula's best performance. And though he is willingly to defend his firstborn Iroh, Azulon undermines this one positive aspect by ordering Ozai to kill his only son for crossing him personally.
  • Generation Xerox: Apparently he was very similar in terms of skill to his granddaughter when he was her age. And it's all but stated that Ozai's parenting skills and favoritism originated from Azulon's example.
  • Gruesome Grandparent: Ordered Ozai to kill Zuko without a shred of remorse.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Probably the most sadistic example of this trope! Once Ozai falls out of favor with him (that, or his even older years making him more miserable than he showed), he turns completely ignorant towards Ozai about anything. Even when his granddaughter shows amazing firebending abilities, Azulon barely bats an eye. Then again, he did seem to think Ozai was wasting his time with his pomp and wanted him to get to the point. Plus this was at the time when Iroh lost his son (which Azulon seems to be sympathetic about) and is still away from home for an infinite amount of time.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard: His cruel order that Ozai kill his own son results in his own death after Ursa makes a deal with Ozai to save Zuko.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: As talented of a leader and general as he was, Azulon seemed to not understand his own son. He orders that Ozai kill his son as an act of punishment - not realizing that Ozai was perfectly happy to do the deed. He pays for the miscalculation with his life.
  • Lean and Mean: Azulon appears to be very slender and was a ruthless conqueror who was no better with his relatives.
  • Make an Example of Them: Azulon ordering Ozai to kill Zuko served as a reminder to his son that anyone, even a blood heir, was expendable and thus no one would be safe to cross the Fire Lord. It's a lesson that Ozai took to heart when he became Fire Lord.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Azulon ordering Ozai to kill Zuko as punishment for disrespecting Iroh and his deceased son is honestly foolish since Ozai doesn't have empathy to understand the loss of a firstborn. Either that, or Azulon sees Ozai's bloodline as expendable and doesn't care what Ozai thinks as long as the punishment is carried out.
  • Our Founder: A massive statue of Azulon stands at the main sea entrance to the Fire Nation. The statue is more than ornamentation however, as it serves as the lynchpin of the Great Gates of Azulon, the Fire Nation's main sea defense.
  • Out of Focus: Compared to his father, who had A Day in the Limelight in "The Avatar and the Firelord" and is naturally important to the plot of the show despite being dead, and his son, who's the Big Bad of the show, Azulon comes in the middle, and thus doesn't have much impact on the events of the show.
  • Papa Wolf: Despite his evil heritage and seeking his grandson's death, Azulon was offended for Iroh after Ozai asked for the throne.
  • Parental Favoritism: Seems to have favored Iroh over Ozai.
  • Pet the Dog: Despite his harsh behavior towards Ozai and his indifference toward Zuko and Azula, he strongly defended Iroh's birthright and even seemed sympathetic about Lu Ten's death. He also didn't seem to hold Iroh's abandonment of his siege on Ba Sing Se against him despite the fact that his success would've led to the Fire Nation's victory.
  • Posthumous Character: He's long dead by the time the series starts.
  • Predecessor Villain: Responsible for the partial genocide of the Southern Water Tribe. Apparently, his ruthlessness was only matched by his son, Ozai.
  • The Stoic: Until Ozai made his request, Azulon did not change his facial expression once, even though he was clearly annoyed by Zuko's pathetic display and even Azula's impressive demonstration.
  • Super Breeding Program: According to The Search, he set up the Arranged Marriage between Ursa and Ozai as a eugenics experiment to breed powerful firebenders with the blood of Avatar Roku and the Fire Nation Royal Family. Zuko and Azula are the largely successful products of the experiment. That said, given that he later ordered Ozai to kill Zuko as punishment, and showed indifference to Azula, he either gave up on the experiment or was personally disappointed by its outcome.
  • Thicker Than Water:
    • He and Iroh, despite his failure, are implied to have a good family relationship.
    • The Search implies that earlier in his life he used to be much warmer to Ozai and Ursa. It could be interpreted that the very cruel old grandfather we see in the series proper could have been old age affecting him a lot more than thought. That and the rest of the family, likely including him, just heard about Lu Ten's death and know that Iroh hasn't returned home yet, yet Ozai shows off Azula's skills (Zuko's demonstration was his own decision) as if none of that even happened.
  • Unreliable Narrator: The only knowledge we have of him and his actions (besides Zuko's memories) comes from two in-universe sources, neither of whom is bound by Villains Never Lie.

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