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aka: Avatar The Last Airbender Fire Lord Ozai

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  • The Beautiful Elite: The Royal Family as of the time of the main series are all extremely good-looking. Even Iroh is referred to as handsome by several women in the Earth Kingdom and Zuko's scar doesn't stop girls from finding him attractive as seen in "The Beach".
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: To call the Fire Nation royal family dysfunctional for the most part would be an understatement. 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 own grandson as punishment for mocking the death of his other grandson, Lu Ten. The father, Ozai, is the Big Bad of the series and an Omnicidal Maniac warlord who continued his family's policy of active genocide across the entire planet. He has raised his children to be as bad as he is; his son Zuko became obsessed with earning his approval above all else (to say nothing of him scarring Zuko when he spoke out of turn in a war meeting), while his daughter, Azula, is 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, the most morally sound of the royal family next to Ursa, still partook in the siege of Ba Sing Se, which cost him his son. He was also 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 against one of the four other nations. By the time of Fire Lord Ozai, any of the noble intentions Sozin had for starting the war were undermined as the Fire Nation committed more horrific atrocities, 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 claimed the Fire Nation's campaign of global conquest was their way of "sharing their wealth and ideals with the rest of the world and uniting the four nations". Over the century of this campaign, the Fire Nation has committed actions such the genocide of the Air Nomads (a peaceful people) in hopes of killing the 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 claims of being a Well-Intentioned Extremist might be genuine, or at least they were at one point, 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 to 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 

Fire Lord Ozai (敖載)

Voiced by: Mark Hamill (English), Rolando Silva, Ricardo Soto and Daniel Seisdedos (Latin American Spanish), Ami Mendelman (Hebrew), Axel Lutter (German), Isaac Bardavid (Brazilian Portuguese, Seasons 1 and 2), Ettore Zuim (Brazilian Portuguese, Season 3)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ozai_render.png
"I do have the power. I have all the power in the WORLD!"

Ruler of the Fire Nation and likely the most powerful Firebender on the planet, Ozai is the main antagonist of the series. A ruthless warlord and megalomaniac, Ozai is willing to burn the rest of the world to the ground so he can rule. He has little to no empathy for anyone, including his own children (though he acts decently towards them if they prove themselves useful). Aang must defeat Ozai before Ozai can harness Sozin's Comet and use it to bring the war to a permanent end.


  • 0% Approval Rating: From the glimpses we get at Fire Nation soldiers' and citizens' conversations, it's clear that most are more loyal to the title of "Fire Lord" than to Ozai as a person. The Yu Yan archers use the term "Fire Lord propaganda" derisively, and their General regards his and Zhao's hunt for the Avatar as out-of-touch with the ground troops fighting the real war. Outside of the mainland, the people indigenous to the Earth Kingdom colonies (outside of a few individuals) don't respect him OR his title. It says something when Zuko is permitted to take the throne while Ozai is still technically alive. It's not technically zero, because the New Ozai Society forms in effort to place him back on the throne; but they're a decidedly fringe group, and even they're more interested in restoring the Empire than in Ozai himself.
  • Above Good and Evil: He believes that the will of the Fire Lord is the be-all and end-all of what's right and wrong.
  • Abusive Dad:
    • Ozai not only had a favorite and an unfavorite child, but he brutally scarred the latter, Zuko, and has attempted to kill him multiple times (though as for this, only after he joined the revolution against him). Zuko found a better father figure in his uncle and mentor Iroh and eventually outgrew the need for Ozai's approval.
    • Ozai exiled and disowned Zuko when he was thirteen, for speaking out of turn in a war meeting (the kid was not supposed to be there in the first place, but the level of punishment was overkill). In addition to burning a good fourth of his face off, Ozai loudly and publicly called Zuko an embarrassing failure and a traitor without honor, for the high crimes of idealism, a degree of rudeness and reluctance to face his father in a duel. One line says all you need to know about how Ozai treated Zuko.
      "You WILL learn respect, and suffering will be your teacher."
    • Because the treatment he gets is more painful in short term, Zuko tends to envy Azula. Ironically, while we never see it, the audience can gather enough about the damage Ozai did to Azula. While superficially nicer to her, Ozai actually subjects Azula to rather cruel emotional abuse, and moreover cultivates her aggressive and ruthless tendencies in order to make her his weapon; her mother, by contrast, tried to help her be more compassionate and fit in with others. Because Azula fails to connect with her mother, this is what brings her eventual downfall. In the end, Zuko points out to Ozai that he is such a horrible father that the best thing he ever did to him was to exile him—because being treated as Azula is even worse. Further, Ozai's abuse of Zuko is also abusive to Azula by extension, in a "this is what will happen to you if you don't live up to my expectations" kind of way.
      Azula: You can't do this to me! You can't treat me like Zuko!
  • Action Dad: While he is not a good father, he's certainly a very powerful one.
  • Actor Allusion: Inverted: Ozai, who's voiced by Mark Hamill, is both the Archnemesis Dad of one of the heroes who maims his son and an Evil Overlord who can shoot lightning from his fingertips. That's right, Luke Skywalker is voicing a composite of Darth Vader and Darth Sidious. The Irony of this has not been lost on anybody.
  • Allegorical Character: He's not so much a character himself as he is a representation of the cycle of child abuse and ultra-militarism.
  • Always Second Best: To Iroh, whom he could never seem to beat. Iroh's memoirs in Legacy of the Fire Nation mention that Ozai would often flip the board and burn the pieces whenever he lost a game of Pai Sho to Iroh, heavily implying that Iroh won nearly every game. And he could never get Azulon to pass the throne to him despite showcasing his children and pointing out Iroh's flaws. Even when he becomes the most powerful firebender in the world, there are plenty of folks who believe Iroh could still beat him, though notably Iroh himself is not one of them.
  • Ambiguous Start of Darkness: When he became evil is unclear, in part because we know so little about his personal history.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Fueled by his resentment towards Iroh, Ozai strives to be the best in school and in firebending. But his ambition made him more ruthless and sociopathic in the process, willingly to sacrifice family members to gain the throne and the world.
  • Arch-Enemy: He eventually becomes this to Avatar Aang, as it's the latter's destiny to stop him in order to put an end to the Hundred Year War. Even Zuko acknowledges this — and while both Zuko and Ozai agree that Zuko has every right to kill him after all the abuse Ozai had done to him for so many year, Zuko knows Ozai and Aang are destined to fight, not him. To some degree, it's also a bit personal as his grandfather was the one who wiped out his kind prior to Aang's reawakening from his 99-year slumber.
  • Archnemesis Dad: Not Zuko's Arch-Enemy, but he and his son have fought each other a few times. And during the eclipse, when Zuko renounces trying to be the son Ozai wants, Ozai reveals that he was willing to kill him when he was not even in his teens.
  • Armchair Military: Although Ozai is well-versed in military strategies and tactics, being highly successful in school, he has never actively partaken in a military campaign until the series finale. This is in contrast to his brother, father, and grandfather who were stated to be Frontline Generals, not to mention his son and daughter who both were active on the field and had more successful wartime accomplishments (specifically, the sacking of Ba Sing Se) than he did.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: He asks probably the cruelest one in the entire series. During the Day of Black Sun, Zuko finally tells him off for what a horrible father’s he’s been and has reached the decision to join Aang. And just as he’s about to walk out on his father forever, Ozai buys himself time in waiting for the eclipse to pass by asking Zuko the one question that he knows has haunted him for years, so that he can keep him there long enough to kill him after the eclipse ends.
    Ozai: Don’t you want to know what happened to your mother?
  • Arranged Marriage: With Ursa. Unlike the standard, it wasn't for political reasons but rather an experiment in Superpowerful Genetics.
  • Ax-Crazy: A hateful, megalomaniacal and sociopathic individual who responds to any perceived slight with utter violence and pettiness. Case in point, Ozai burned half of his son's face for speaking out of turn, and his response to knowing of resistance in the Earth Kingdom is to commit genocide by fire.
  • Bad Boss: He is as awful to his subordinates as he is to his least favorite child, as he is one slip up away from incinerating them. Hell, the very first time he was shown onscreen, it's implied that he supported the plan to sacrifice novice Fire Nation troops as cannon fodder.
  • Bait the Dog: He refuses to let Azula join him in the final campaign of the war but realizes that she would interpret it as a sign of being mistreated like Zuko. Not wanting to lose her loyalty, Ozai placates his daughter by naming her the new Fire Lord... and then immediately crowns himself as the Phoenix King of the world, rendering the position of Fire Lord to be worthless. Azula enjoyed it at first, but then she begins to lose it.
  • Beard of Evil: He sports a blade-like goatee and is the Big Bad.
  • Beauty Is Bad: Up until Zuko's homecoming, whenever Ozai appeared on-screen, his face was never completely visible, thus furthering audiences' expectations for him to look like the standard animated villain (i.e., having a somewhat more homely design than the heroes). The first full-on shot of his face (which, admittedly, is downright gorgeous) only reinforced the fact that he was absolutely the most despicable character in the entire series. (The sound of his voice doesn't exactly help, either.)
  • Beneath the Mask: Likes to present himself as a strict authoritarian as both a father and a ruler, frequently preaching about honor duty. But really he's an overgrown bully who loves lording his power over people to validate his petty ego.
  • Berserk Button: Disobeying him or doing anything that he perceives as slighting or disrespecting him — which is most things — will set him off immediately.
    • He takes such grave offense to the then 13-year old Zuko speaking out of turn at a war council that he challenges Zuko to an Agni Kai and, feeling slighted again by Zuko begging him for forgiveness rather than fighting, burns half of Zuko's face off and banishes him from the Fire Nation.
    • It's telling that Zuko chose to confront Ozai during the eclipse when his firebending powers were sapped. When Zuko tells him the truth about how Azula was the one who took down Aang, Ozai angrily orders Zuko out. When Zuko refuses Ozai gets furious and threatens his life, only relenting because of the eclipse — and the instant he gets his powers back during the confrontation he tries to kill Zuko.
  • Beyond Redemption: His older brother, Iroh, gave up on him after witnessing Zuko's scarring in person. Zuko himself would eventually give up on his father's chances after learning about the genocidal plan for the Earth Kingdom with Sozin's Comet, and advocates for his father's death. This ties in with Aang's dilemma of his Thou Shalt Not Kill philosophy as Ozai's irredeemability means the only other obvious option for Aang to save the world is killing Ozai.
  • Big Bad: Even though his actions aren't directly driving the plot (that's mostly Azula's job), his influence in the story as the genocidal ruler of the Fire Nation and Zuko's abusive father makes him the main villain Aang ultimately aims to take down to stop the Hundred Year War.
  • Break the Haughty: His smug confidence evaporates in the final battle when Aang regains access to the Avatar State. He spends the rest of the fight getting progressively more alarmed after realizing how outmatched he is. As Avatar State Aang prepares to deliver a finishing blow he's visibly terrified.
  • Break Them by Talking: If he's not allowed to burn his enemies, then he will use words to beat them down. He often does this to his son, Zuko, verbally shutting him down with a story of how "he was lucky to be born" as punishment for daring to criticize Azula. When he loses firebending and freedom, he starts relying on this ability to gain leverage over the now-Fire Lord Zuko. In Smoke and Shadows, he gets a taste of his own medicine when Ursa visits him and spells out his pathetic, insecure ego before him.
  • Broken Pedestal: Part of Zuko's Heel–Face Turn involves him realizing that his father is nothing more than a self-serving SOB. Him up to Azulon and Sozin.
  • Brought Down to Normal: During the eclipse, in contrast to his children who are Brought Down to Badass. Done more permanently at the end of the series: courtesy of Aang's energy bending, he can no longer fire bend after "Sozin's Comet."
  • The Bully: Ozai is ultimately a bully armed with powerful firebending and the resources of a nation. He enjoys asserting domination over people he believes to be weak and portrays himself to be so powerful that even his own brother doubts he could defeat him. And like any other bully, he loses all of that smugness and flees in terror once he picks on someone more powerful than himself, which just so happens to be Avatar State Aang.
  • Cain and Abel: The Cain to Iroh's Abel, though they never fought directly. Ozai preferred machinations when dealing with his brother, such as actively trying to delegitimize Iroh's claim to the throne and take power for himself.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Played With. He makes no pretensions about himself or his motives and openly champions being as ruthless as possible as the way to go, but he also tells Zuko that Good and Evil are just points of view and seems to regard himself as Above Good and Evil and likely feels that neither of them actually exist, though this only means that he can be as gleefully sadistic as he likes — if good and evil mean nothing to him, then he is free to be as malicious as he likes, and ultimately he's just so cunning, egotistical, and pragmatic that it makes him a very three-dimensional villain in spite of this.
  • The Chessmaster: Like his daughter, he's a very capable strategist and manipulator. However, by the time he takes action in the plot, Sozin's Comet has arrived and he gets too Drunk on the Dark Side to use it.
  • Classic Villain: In a world of Anti Villains and nuanced villains, Ozai stands apart as the classical villain archetype. He looks evil, his desires are simple (i.e. power-hungry), and his beliefs are that good is weak and cruelty is strength, all serving as the polar opposite of Aang and thus, the Avatar's greatest challenge to overcome at the grand finale.
  • Cold Ham: Ozai is rather subdued throughout most of the series, his voice rarely rising above a harsh whisper. When Sozin's Comet arrives in the series finale and supercharges his Firebending, he quickly becomes Drunk on the Dark Side and throws off all restraint.
  • The Corrupter: He molded his daughter into the psycho-crazy monster she is now. It is also implied that part of the reason he treats Zuko the way he does is to make him into someone as horrible as he is, since he only treats him right when he (was told to have) killed the Avatar and turned on Iroh. That in turn, would also spite Ursa, who wants Zuko to NOT be like him.
  • Control Freak: Much like his daughter, he seeks to control everyone and everything around him, especially his family. He restricts Ursa's ability to communicate with her family and loved ones outside the palace walls and he forces Zuko to fight him when the latter spoke out of line. The only instance he wouldn't get angry about disobedience is if he believes he's going to be killed by someone as equally ruthless and powerful as himself.
  • Cosmic Motifs:
    • Like most Firebenders, the Sun, it being connected to his power. As such, he is rendered all but powerless during the Day of the Black Sun and has to drag out his confrontation with Zuko to get a chance to regain his destructive powers.
    • Comets like his grandfather, planning to use the power boost Sozin's Comet gives Firebenders to burn the Earth Kingdom to the ground. This fits their association with destruction.
  • Crippling Over Specialization: Ozai is blessed with an incredible natural talent for firebending, and he relies heavily on this talent rather than learn how to fight without it. Compared to his brother and children, he has no technique beyond incinerating his opponents with large amounts of fire. Terrifyingly enough, this seems to be enough for him to outmatch all but Aang and Iroh. Ironically, this becomes his undoing once Aang takes away his firebending, leaving behind a weak man who couldn't break out of prison even if he wanted to.
  • Cruel Mercy:
    • Ozai's the kind of bastard who, unless personally disrespected, would keep a calm tone while dishing out personally crushing punishments. A notable instance is when Vachir, the Yuyan Archer he sent to assassinate Ikem, reports his failure to ever locate his target. He spares Vachir but has him dishonorably discharged from the Yuyan Archers, to Vachir's great dismay. Also, depending on how you interpret his relationship with Azula; the perceived slights and discarding of her come his coronation to Phoenix King can be retribution for her lies about the Avatar's death.
    • He is on the receiving end of this trope when Aang spares his life but takes away his firebending at the series' climax. Though Aang sees it as a means to prevent Ozai from causing harm while upholding to his ideals, Ozai sees this as the worst thing the Avatar could have done to him since he's now forced to see his hated son Zuko ascend to the throne while he is left to rot in prison, utterly weak and helpless to do anything about it.
  • Curb Stomp Cushion: While he stands little chance once Aang enters the Avatar State, he lasts far longer than anyone else ever has. He even continues trying to attack Aang while fleeing for his life.
  • Dark Is Evil: Is the Big Bad of the series, and all of his appearances before Book 3 have him obscured by shadows, on top of being a master of Firebending which explicitly uses anger and hatred as fuel.
  • Despotism Justifies the Means: Ozai's ultimate goal is to be the most powerful man in the world. Whether the world is better or worse off as a result is of little concern to him.
  • Determinator: He refuses to give up, even still referring to himself as the "Phoenix King" after losing his powers.
  • Didn't See That Coming: He faces a couple in the last episode: Aang regaining control of the Avatar State and then energybending.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Even Ozai has a pretty major one before the series even begins. He banished Zuko as an act of Cruel Mercy, by forcing him on a Snipe Hunt and denying him access to his loved ones, as well as forcing him to live in a world that hates him. However, what Ozai failed to realize, is that, because Zuko is a genuinely good guy by heart, there would always be someone out there who would accept him. Iroh even came along with Zuko, and acted as a genuine paternal figure to him. Banishment allowed Zuko to reflect on his actions, find a positive father figure, meet some trustworthy friends, and even help stop Ozai to begin with. If Ozai just killed Zuko or kept him in a dungeon, then he probably would have defeated Aang.
  • Dirty Coward: Despite being the most powerful firebender in the world, Ozai will not fight unless he's certain he'll absolutely win.
    • He tries to manipulate Azulon into disinheriting Iroh instead of confronting his brother directly. As Zuko notes, Iroh is the only person other than the Avatar who has the potential to defeat Ozai, which Ozai was not willing to risk.
    • Sozin, Azulon, Iroh and Azula all spent time on the front lines with the military, and it's implied that Zuko would have too had he not been banished when he was only 13. Ozai, in comparison to every other Firebender in his family, stayed safely at home during the War, and only came out to burn down the already defeated Earth Kingdom.
    • In the finale Ozai is perfectly happy to fight Aang with intent to kill while confident that Sozin's Comet augmenting his powers and Aang being unwilling to kill him in turn means it will be an easy fight. Once Aang regains access to the Avatar State Ozai instantly realizes how outmatched he is and initially tries to flee. To his credit he stands his ground when it's clear he can't outrun Aang and even manages to get a few hits in, but when it looks like Avatar State Aang is about to kill him Ozai is completely petrified.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: A recurring theme with him. He challenged his son to an Agni Kai for the crime of speaking out of turn, and banished and burned half of said son's face off for the crime of begging for forgiveness rather than standing and fighting.
  • The Dreaded: To Aang, who fears the inevitable confrontation with him throughout the series. He is so feared by everyone, that few in the world have the tenacity to stand up to him or challenge him, with only Aang and Iroh being seen as able to challenge him one on one. Even Azula, who herself is feared by almost everyone else, backs down when he commands it.
  • Driven by Envy:
    • Ozai resents his brother Iroh for being Azulon's favorite despite the fact that Ozai's bloodline is supposed to strengthen the Royal Family's firebending potential for generations to come. And it doesn't take long for Ozai to make his attempt for the throne once Iroh's son died in the battle.
    • The Search reveals that Ozai's mistreatment of Zuko stems from Ursa's wish that Zuko was Ikem's son instead of his. Jealous, Ozai secretly ordered for Ikem's assassination (which failed) and decided to "honor" Ursa's wish by no longer treating Zuko as his son. This also casts a darker light on Ozai's praise for Zuko in the beginning of Book 3; he's not only proud that Zuko "killed" the Avatar and betrayed his uncle but also extinguished his mother's influence in the process.
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: He acts this way once Sozin's Comet powers him up. In his own words, he's been given "ALL THE POWER IN THE WORLD!" and enjoys every opportunity to kill with it.
  • Elemental Motifs: Fire, being a Firebender who exemplifies of all the negative aspects of the element. On top of his fighting style being incredibly aggressive, he is a power hungry, rage-filled Control Freak of a tyrant who decides to use Sozin's Comet to burn down the Earth Kingdom to ashes. After having his bending removed by Aang, he is left an Empty Shell, his inner fire gone out, not leaving so much as embers.
  • Empty Shell: When Ursa meets Ozai at the end of Smoke and Shadow, she describes him as having a heart so small that there's no room into to love anyone, and saddest of all is that he can't even manage to love himself.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil:
    • Say what you want about his morals, but Ozai is not a sexist. He favors his (also evil) daughter over his son, has no problem with women serving in the Fire Nation military, and has no issue with making his aforementioned daughter the Fire Lord - in fact, it was his idea. The Fire Lord position was to become a ceremonial role with Ozai crowning himself king of the world, but still.
    • He also presumably had no problem with Azula bringing Dai Li agents to the capital as "souvenirs".
  • Even Evil Can Be Loved: Despite Ozai's extremely twisted abuse of them, it's clear that Zuko and Azula can't help but love their father regardless, with Zuko even stating that not all of their childhood memories with him were negative.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Subverted. Even his own father was mistaken in believing this was the case, which was why he ordered Ozai to kill his own son to know the depth of his brother's loss. As it turns out, Ozai was willing to carry out the act, but was only dissuaded because his wife knows he wants the throne even more. Which led him to poison his father into a painless death. That said, Ozai's children were only tools to him. The most love he ever showed them amounted to them being ideal inheritors of his legacy, ruthlessly unfettered and disdain for kindness.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Fire Lord Azulon ordered him to kill his own son, which Ozai deemed unthinkable. Zig-Zagged when we learn he had planned on going through with it; but not out of malice against Zuko but rather just because the Fire Lord's order is law and going against it is treason. At the time, the only thing going for him was just to save his own skin.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good:
    • He often scoffed at morality, thinking of it to be a sign of weakness. He also finds peace and kindness laughable concepts and despised those who followed moral principles. Being a sociopathic tyrant, these things don't register in his head.
    • Parental warmth is a completely alien concept to him. Ozai genuinely acts as though he did Zuko a favor by challenging him to single combat and badly scarring his face - when Zuko wouldn't fight back no less - as a way to teach him to know his place. When Zuko finally tells Ozai how cruel and wrong it was, Ozai simply assumes Zuko didn't learn from it.
    • Ozai fails to understand why Aang would hesitate to kill and takes every advantage of his mercy. Same after Zuko tells him that Aang is the one who should kill Ozai, not him.
      Ozai: Even with all the power in the world, you are still weak.
    • Subverted in The Promise, where Ozai has a better understanding of Earth King Kuei, without ever even meeting the man, than the members of Team Avatar do just by knowing the politics involved. note 
  • Evil Counterpart: Serves as one to Hakoda, father of Katara and Sokka. Both are the leaders of their respective countries, both are expert strategists when it comes to warfare, both can very distant with their children and they even have similar facial features. The crucial difference is that Hakoda cherishes his family and his own people despite his duties while Ozai is all too willing to throw his family away for personal power.
  • Evil Is Bigger: He's towers over almost everyone in the series, including his older brother, giving him an intimidating and imposing presence whenever he's on-screen (and that's when you don't factor in the fact his fights are always against children). And his ego is even bigger, considering he commissions himself a personal airship that dwarfs the already large Fire Nation airships.
  • Evil Is Burning Hot: Comes with being an angry firebender.
  • Evil Is Hammy: In the finale, Ozai adopts new regalia for himself and begins to yell and wave his arms in enthusiasm for the power Sozin's Comet will beget him. He is voiced by Mark Hamill, after all.
  • Evil Is Petty: Having a lot of political and firebending powers, Ozai likes to twist the knife with minor issues.
    • In flashback from The Search comic, when Azula complains that her firebending instructor Kunyo is a terrible teacher, Ozai immediately arranges Kunyo to be banished to the Fire Nation colonies in spite of Zuko's protest.
    • The sequel comics reveal that his mistreatment of Zuko is largely just his spiteful response to Ursa's claim that Zuko isn't his son. A claim that he knew was a lie.
  • Evil Overlord: The Fire Lord directs his industrial army from the opposite side of the planet, hardly leaving his throne as his dominion spreads across the world's largest continent.
  • Evil Only Has to Win Once: If Aang doesn't defeat him before Sozin's Comet arrives, there won't be a world to save anymore.
    Roku: Sozin's Comet will return by the end of this summer, and Fire Lord Ozai will use its power to finish the war once and for all. If he succeeds, even the Avatar won't be able to restore balance to the world.
  • Evil Plan: Ozai intends to finish his grandfather's legacy by using the power of Sozin's Comet to destroy the armies of the other nations and take the world for the Fire Nation.
  • The Evil Prince: In flashbacks, when he was still fire prince, instead of ''lord' he was just as vicious and manipulative. Although he was the Spare to the Throne he worked to supplant his older brother Iroh as heir. However, Iroh chooses not to challenge it even if his birthright was revoked due to the overwhelming grief he was facing from the loss of his son.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: He speaks in an exceptional baritone, courtesy of Mark Hamill, and is wicked to the core.
  • Evil Sounds Raspy: There is a raspy undertone in Ozai's baritone. When he goes full Large Ham, you can actually hear the unmistakable voice of the Joker breaking through.
  • Evil Virtues: He's fixated on ideas of Respect and Honor, albeit very twisted ones. When Zuko speaks out of turn in his war room and refuses to fight him, Ozai reads this as disrespectful and punishes him accordingly. In fact, his take on what Honor is motivates Zuko for much of the series.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Ozai's hair is best described as being long, symmetrical, combed back and even pretty looking in contrast to his older brother's more ruggish hairstyle, representing the Fire Lord's belief in perfection and superiority. Thus it is fitting that when he loses to Aang and is stripped of his firebending, his perfect hair is reduced to a disheveled mess covering his humiliating face. In prison, his hair becomes more wild and shaggy as his influence over the Fire Nation wanes over time.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Being The Social Darwinist, he seems to welcome the idea that if somebody can best him in a fight, they're likely to kill him, and seems relatively unafraid of death. When Aang has him pinned down in the Avatar state, Ozai— despite clearly being afraid— eventually clenches his teeth and braces himself for the final blow… only to be disappointed when Aang fails to follow through with it.
  • The Faceless: In Seasons 1-2, his face was always hidden by shadow or otherwise obscured, fitting his status as The Dreaded. When he finally shows his face in the Season 3 premiere, he didn't look so intimidating. In subsequent episodes after this, however, his actions very much affirm how horrifically and terrifyingly evil he is out of every villain Aang has faced.
  • Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: After being concealed by shadow and built up as a terrifying, inhuman figure throughout the first two seasons, Ozai turns out to be rather handsome. However, his pretty face does little to hide the monster he is.
  • Fantastic Racism: Unlike his ancestors, who merely believed that the Fire Nation was culturally superior to the other nations, Ozai seems to look down on the people of other nations as an inferior subspecies. He shows open disdain to the Air Nomads when he confronts Aang and he thinks they were exterminated because they were "weak".
  • Fatal Flaw: Wrath and Pride. He thinks the world revolves around him and virtually anything that doesn't go his way should be subjected to the same solution: Kill It with Fire. Not only is it childish (in fact, it's no different from his childhood days of burning Pai Sho pieces whenever he loses to Iroh) but it is the central factor for Zuko's Heel–Face Turn in the series, with the final straw being the Final Solution against the Earth Kingdom. His insecure ego eventually leads to his god-complex megalomania at the series finale, causing him to underestimate Aang and subsequently losing his firebending in the process.
  • Fate Worse than Death: De-bended and left to rot in a cell. For a man who prides his firebending and the benefits of being Fire Lord, death is preferable to him over living the rest of his days as a weak, pathetic man at the mercy of his son.
  • Faux Affably Evil: When he's not being abusive, he sounds civil, but in a cold and unempathic way. He tells people what he thinks they want to hear, so long as what they want is to stay on his good side.
  • Final Boss:
  • Final-Exam Boss: Ozai's comet enhanced firebending forces Aang to use all the bending elements he learned throughout the series to survive the fight. Aang also uses lightning redirection and seismic sense to stop Ozai's attacks.
  • Final Solution: Planned to wipe out the Earth Kingdom singled-handed with a towering wave of flames.
  • Fisher King: The entire series isn't so much about beating the Fire Nation, it's about beating him, since with his extraordinary power, the Nation could not be entirely beaten. In doing so, Aang cleared the way for Zuko, a more desirable and wise Fire Lord, to take the throne and begin healing the Fire Nation and the damage it had inflicted.
  • Flat Character: Played for Drama. Ozai is a generic tyrant whose only characterization comes from the effect his actions have on other characters; the people he oppresses, the family that gets abused by his hand, and Aang, who is forced into a moral dilemma over killing him since there was no chance to make Ozai see the error of his ways.
  • Flight: A unique ability of his that he gained through firebending, a la jet propulsion.
  • Freudian Excuse: It's heavily implied he's full of self-loathing due to being The Un-Favourite to Fire Lord Azulon and Always Second Best to Iroh (especially in Pai Sho games). The Search later reveals that Ozai was also jealous that Ursa preferred his son, Zuko, to be the son of her former boyfriend than him, which is why he greatly abused his son throughout the series. None of this justifies his actions, but they show how Zuko's own self-loathing could have led him down a dark path.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: While hiding out at Zuko's summer home in the episode "Sozin's Comet, Part 1: The Phoenix King", Team Avatar finds the picture of a smiling and sweet boy, which is Fire Lord Ozai, Zuko's abusive and sociopathic father. The gang is confused at this, wondering how this innocent-looking baby in the picture would one day become the Ax-Crazy tyrant they're now up against. They even briefly wonder if it played a role in his decisions, but ultimately conclude Ozai is a horrible man who should be stopped.
  • Friendly Fire: Pun not intended, but while it's not stated much, Ozai's plan to burn down the Earth Kingdom also endangers his own people: his soldiers and the Fire Nation colonists, proving for all his posture about the Fire Nation's superiority and might, he himself doesn't care a bit about it, only seeing the Fire Nation as a stepping stone to propel himself into greatness.
  • Frontline General: The first and only time he has ever personally led an army to battle was during Sozin's Comet and his final plan to win the war was to destroy the already defeated but still stubborn Earth Kingdom from the safety of his airships.
  • "Get Back Here!" Boss: Inverted. Aang spends most of his fight with him running away from him and dodging his attacks while occasionally fighting back. When Aang gets his second wind, it flips again to playing this straight.
  • A God Am I: He doesn't outright name himself a god, but the idea that he was just a step away from world domination during the Grand Finale certainly gave him delusions.
  • God-Emperor: Makes a claim at this towards the end with the new position of "Phoenix King".
  • Godzilla Threshold: He's the one villain Zuko doesn't recommend holding back on. Aang on the other hand, isn't willing to take his life even if Ozai passes this threshold.
  • Gold-Colored Superiority: Wears gold accents on his robes like most Fire Nation royalty, as well as a golden, bird shaped crown after dubbing himself "the Phoenix King", and is the most powerful Firebender in the world, barring possibly Iroh.
  • Gone Horribly Right: According to Ozai himself, the main reason he scarred Zuko was because the boy won't fight him in an honorable duel, and thus punishing him for not respecting the traditions of the Fire Nation, as he states sometimes you have to fight your family for your beliefs. Of course, by the time he's saying this, he is in the Fire Nation prison, stripped of his bending abilities, his power and influence, because Zuko did take the lesson to heart, and specifically trained the Avatar and helped in his defeat. Zuko (alongside Katara) had also defeated Azula from seizing the Fire Nation, meaning Ozai would have still kept his bending and his throne hadn't he scarred Zuko.
  • Glory Hound: Despite practically winning the Hundred Year War after the fall of Ba Sing Se, Ozai wants to officially end it by using Sozin's Comet to burn down the Earth Kingdom. And he refuses to share the glory with his loyal daughter, instead forcing her to stay behind at the palace to be crowned Fire Lord while he gets to personally lead the air fleet and burn down the continent as Phoenix King. When Aang appears and disables his airship, Ozai abandons his fleet in favor of killing the Avatar, seeing it as a greater path to glory than his intial plans.
  • Greater-Scope Villain:
    • In the first two seasons, he mostly serves as a distant embodiment of evil while Zuko / Zhao / Azula do the actual legwork. He takes on a more direct role in season three.
    • He again takes this role in the post-series comics. Despite losing his firebending and being imprisoned, his influence on his kids and the world at large is still very much felt.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: While Ozai doesn't have love for anyone else, he cannot stand being unloved by his family. Azulon prefers Iroh over him and Ursa prefers Ikem over him, even going as far as wishing that Zuko wasn't Ozai's son. Ironically, his children are the only ones who are devoted to him and yet he ends up driving them away because of his jealously and wrath.
  • Hand-or-Object Underwear: Only in Aang's dream. When Ozai tells Aang that he's not wearing pants, Aang tells him that he's not wearing pants, to which Ozai responds by grabbing a small rug to cover his crotch.
    My royal parts are showing! Aaaaaahhhhhh!
  • Hate Sink: Unlike other members of the Royal Family, who are given sympathetic or even tragic traits, Ozai is solely defined as a power-hungry man who torments his family to get what he wants. His Freudian Excuse is limited to a single picture of him being a sweet baby and hints of envy towards his older brother, Iroh, and he doesn't show off his combat prowess until literally the second half of the Grand Finale. All of this, combined with the various ways he abuses Zuko, Azula and even his wife Ursa, ensures that Ozai as the audience's most hated character in the show in spite of the fact he's the most powerful Firebender who would give Aang one of the greatest battles in the history of the franchise.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Subverted both times. He is nearly killed by his own lightning after Zuko, and later Aang successfully redirects it. He only survives because Zuko intends to have the Avatar finish the job, and Aang is unwilling to redirect it back at Ozai.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: After Sozin's Comet leaves the atmosphere, Ozai went from the feared and powerful Phoenix King to being the butt of the jokes after losing his firebending. He is then thrown into the same prison cell where his brother used to be held, dressed in rags and completely miserable at his predicament. When Ursa returns and confronts her former husband, she realizes that without his dominating powers, Ozai is just a pathetic wretch who couldn't even love himself, let alone his family.
  • Humiliation Conga: Stripped of every bit of power, mocked by teenagers, and left living on the mercy of the son he abused. Continued in the comic series where Ursa tells him exactly what a hateful, egotistical, insecure little man he is.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Ozai despises treason and will use it to justify banishing people he doesn't like or putting a bounty on their heads. This is despite the fact that Ozai secretly committed treason against his own father by putting poison provided by Ursa into his father's drink and seizing the throne from Iroh, the rightful heir.
    • Ozai has a very low opinion of Iroh, and when Zuko tells Ozai that Iroh has been more of a father than Ozai ever was, Ozai smugly comments that Iroh can pass down the knowledge of "tea and failure." This is incredibly rich coming from Ozai, who suffered as The Unfavorite next to Iroh, did very little of note in the war during Azulon's reign, and only ascended to the throne by conspiring to kill his father with Ursa in a deal to save Zuko's life. Even after his ascension he sits in his palace and acts as Armchair Military, never actually conducting a campaign until the series finale. His wartime accomplishments such as the sacking of Ba Sing Se were much more attributable to Azula or even Zuko rather than Ozai himself.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: He was The Un-Favourite to his Evil Overlord and emotionally distant father, Azulon, who possibly was an abusive father with him, compared to his older brother, the talented and powerful "Dragon of the West" General Iroh. It's less clear than with Azula what Ozai felt about this relationship, but it's not difficult to see the similarities in their cases, their personalities, and their temperaments. He is so bitter about not receiving as much respect as his brother that he demands perfection from his own children and punishes perceived weakness or insubordination in his eldest son with extraordinary brutality; when he promotes himself from Fire Lord to Phoenix King and plans to exterminate the Earth Kingdom he essentially acts like a Psychopathic Manchild revelling in childish fantasies of power and greatness, but he was so obsessed with the two mostly because of his insecurities.
  • Irony:
    • Despite it being implied he was The Un-Favourite to his father Azulon, Ozai is the son who is most like his father, both being Abusive Parents and the most powerful benders in the world. And both, despite being strong leaders, don't care for the people of their nation, being more interested in taking over the world. The only thing differencing the two is that Azulon at the very least, cares for Iroh and to a lesser extent, Lu Ten, whilst any care Ozai seems to have for anybody who isn't him is completely fake.
    • Although he is the world's strongest firebender and with a disdain towards the weak, Ozai is remarkably weak in other fields of physical strength. He's never known to be a frontline general like his brother and father, and he can be forced into submission by his sword-proficient son when firebending is temporarily unavailable, while his daughter could easily fend off other benders without her firebending. Amusingly, natural selection usually weeds out the specimens unable to adapt in new situations more so than the "weak," making Ozai's permanent loss of firebending even more poetic.
  • It Only Works Once: Ozai's lightningbending is far deadlier than Azula's, being much hotter and generated within a fraction of a second. However, he stops using it when he sees that Aang knows how to redirect it, realizing that there's a good possibility of being struck his own lightning.
  • It's All About Me: He's a total egomaniac who only cared for his own personal glory, casually casting off his entire family for more power. Ursa deconstructs this in Smoke and Shadows, claiming that while he only cares about himself, he has no room in his heart even for that.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Considering his blatant favoritism of Azula, one might think that he might have a case of Villainous Parental Instinct... except in the finale, he steals Azula's idea of burning the Earth Kingdom to the ground and rewards her the pointless title of Fire Lord while he takes all the glory for himself as the Phoenix King. You see at that moment that Azula was just as bad of a victim of parental abuse as Zuko and Ozai never saw her as more than a tool to help him gain power.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: After all those years of oppression, tyranny, and abuse towards his family, Aang finally gives him what was coming to him in the Grand Finale.
  • Kick the Dog: He loves to inflict this:
    • Let's see. Why does Zuko have that scar again?
    • There's also that moment in his final battle with Aang when he mocks him and his people, the other Airbenders, telling them that they deserved their extinction for being weak.
  • Kill It with Fire: Aside from the obvious, his master plan is to use Sozin's Comet to greatly enhance firebending everywhere. A more literal example comes later in the series; the final battle is kicked off when he begins to personally burn down swathes of the Earth Kingdom.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Again, much like his daughter, he's a dead serious and frighteningly competent villain, except much worse as he lacks anything sympathetic.
  • Lack of Empathy: Ozai's only goal in life is to be the most powerful man in the world, so he casually tosses aside his father, his brother, his wife, his son, and eventually his prized daughter in the pursuit of ever greater power.
    • This is even lampshaded by Iroh in the first episode of Book 2. When Azula arrives and tells Zuko that Ozai feels remorseful about banishing him, Iroh knew immediately something was up (which is proven) because he knows his brother well enough that him and regret do NOT mix.
  • Large and in Charge: He outsizes a lot of his subordinates.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • Zuko was banished when Ozai challenged him to a duel and the prince refused to fight. When the boy makes his Heel Realization, he challenges his father instead but still refuses to fight, allowing that to be Aang's destiny.
    • Ozai is a strong believer that Firebenders are the superior people to rule and he strives to be the strongest Firebender that ever lived, so much so that he didn't bother to learn any other fighting technique like sword fighting. When Aang takes away his firebending at the series finale, it ironically turns him into the weakest member of the Royal Family because of his Crippling Over Specialization.
    • Ozai wanted to not only rule as the "Phoenix King", but craft a legacy that will last forever even after he passes. Over time, his people ended up rejecting and disowning him, and he is forever remembered for being a stain on his country.
  • Light Is Not Good: Wields Firebending that is said to come from the sun, can fire pure white lightning and looks rather handsome upon his face reveal, yet is a horrific sociopath whose actions drive much of the conflict. Best exemplified when he crowns himself "the Phoenix King" with a gold crown and evoking imagery of the noble bird as he personally plans to help burn down the entire Earth Kingdom!
  • Lightning Bruiser: During Sozin's Comet, the boost to his Firebending is enough to let him achieve Flight via propulsion, giving him enough mobility to keep up with the likes of Aang. That's on top of his raw power being enough to put the Avatar firmly on the defensive for most of the fight despite having several elements to use (though Aang's own unwillingness to kill his opponent played a factor), and being tough enough to walk off an air blast from Aang in the Avatar State.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Ozai is exactly like his father Azulon. Both of them are Abusive Parents who use their son for their own ends, both are tyrants who ruled the Fire Nation with an iron fist, and both, despite being strong leaders, cared very little for the people of their nation and were more interested in world domination.
  • Long-Range Fighter: Reflects his fighting style if not his fragility. Unlike his brother and children who like to mix it up in close combat and are generally as dangerous without bending as they are with it, Ozai prefers to stay at a distance and blast his enemies with ranged attacks. In the absence of bending he even considers himself outmatched by Zuko to that point that he wouldn't bother fighting, though Zuko was armed with swords at the time.
  • Loving a Shadow: Ozai's "love" for his children simply amounts to them being his ideal successor to the throne and continuing the legacy that Fire Lord Sozin started. As long as they are competent, loyal and a complete copy of himself, he will shower them with respect and praises. Failure to live up to his impossibly high standards, however, and Ozai will immediately disown them for embarrassing him.
  • Loving Parent, Cruel Parent: Very much the Cruel Parent. He's an irredeemable monster who openly abused and scarred Zuko for the pettiest of reasons, psychologically abused and groomed Azula throughout her life, and ultimately tries to kill and discard both of them respectively the second that they're no longer useful to him.
  • Made of Iron: Surprisingly enough for a Squishy Wizard with no combat skills outside of his Bending, he proves tough enough to remain conscious and in fighting shape after an Avatar State Aang blasts him into a rock pillar via air blast.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Plays on Zuko's emotions right until the boy pulls a Calling the Old Man Out. By "The Promise", he's gained a reputation for being this.
  • Marital Rape License: Strongly implied that since he and Ursa were in an Arranged Marriage and Ursa clearly loved and wanted to marry someone else before she was forced to marry him, the conception of their children might not be as consensual as one might think...
  • Might Makes Right: Firmly believes that the Fire Lord's will is right by way of being the Fire Lord. In general this is how he settles all moral quandaries, which he elaborates on with an anecdote from when Zuko was young. At the beach, Zuko once saved a turtle-crab from being eaten by a hawk, only to realize that the hawk would starve without food. Both animals only want to live, and Zuko was unsurew hich to side with... only for Ozai to tell him that whichever choice Zuko makes would be morally just. Zuko is the only one powerful enough to decide which of the animals will live, and his choice is just by virtue of him being strong enough to make it.
    "There is no right and wrong apart from what you decide. Who you choose to defend deserves to be defended simply because you chose them. When you are the Fire Lord what you choose, by definition, is right."
  • Misery Builds Character: He believes strongly in this as way of upbringing to his children. When he gave Zuko his scar, he said "suffering will be your teacher".
  • Mythical Motifs: Rare for a villainous character, and in contrast to the rest of his family (who are associated with dragons) Ozai is associated with the phoenix, wearing flowing red robes that resemble wings, and in most of his appearances, is surrounded by curtains of fire. In the end of the series, he steps down from being Fire Lord, and starts calling himself the "Phoenix King", declaring his attention to burn down the world so it can be "reborn" from the ashes while wearing phoenix-themed clothing, and manning an airship with a phoenix shaped bow.
  • Narcissist:
    • A fairly textbook case — needs his children to be obedient and perfect (as they reflect back on him), demands and receives unconditional worship from his underlings, totally lacking in empathy because he's too wrapped up in himself, an implicit Inferiority Superiority Complex from being a "Well Done, Son" Guy, and a propensity towards delusions of grandeur and megalomania, culminating in attempted genocide. And he never, ever accepts responsibility for anything wrong he has ever done, to the point that in the sequel comic he claims that right and wrong is up to the Fire Lord to decide.
    • This ties in with his favouritism: the reason he favours Azula is that she has the same qualities as him, such as firebending prodigy, a belief that Love Is a Weakness and political savviness, and Zuko doesn't, even though he is one of the most powerful non-bending fighter, is the Determinator, proves to be quite strategic, and would have been as capable as his sister in firebending with the right method.
    • He deliberately scars only one side of Zuko's face because one of the qualities he values is symmetry: Azula and him always maintain perfect symmetry in their appearance, which is a sign of control and superiority. He temporarily loses that symmetry when Zuko deflects the lightning back at him, his hair falling out of place for the first time. And when Aang defeats him in the final battle and takes away his firebending, Ozai's hair is completely disheveled, which becomes his permanent look as a lowly prisoner under Zuko's regime.
  • Near-Villain Victory: He had the edge on Aang until inadvertently giving his opponent access to the Avatar state again.
  • Never My Fault: When Ozai tells Zuko the truth about Fire Lord Azulon's death, he lays all responsibilities of the murder on Ursa, saying that she committed "vicious, treasonous things" that night. The Search comic reveals that Ursa only made him the untraceable poison, which he used to poison his father's drink. Given his hatred for treason, it seems to be the only way for him to rationalize his hypocrisy and illegitimacy to the throne.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain:
    • He tried to smash Aang's earth shield only to hit the chakra that Azula had blocked, opening it, and allowing Aang to regain the power of the Avatar State. Ozai then spends the rest of the fight fleeing in terror from the wrath of an absolutely furious Avatar Aang.
    • Zuko outright states that if he never banished his son to go hunt for the Avatar, the series would have gone in a completely different direction. Specifically, said son would never have met the Avatar, joined the Avatar and taught the Avatar firebending.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Discussed by Sokka after learning about what Ozai planned to use Sozin's Comet for. Team Avatar once believed Ozai was merely a bad guy, but later realized that the Fire Lord is a deranged, purely evil and unhinged brute to boot.
  • Offing the Offspring: Was planning on doing this to Zuko when he was about 8-10 to appease his father. Attempted to do it again when Zuko announced his intentions to join the Avatar to help him defeat him.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • The two times his lightning is redirected, once by Zuko and once by Aang, he is visibly scared. The biggest instance of this, however, is when he smashes Aang against a rock during their fight and, by doing this, inadvertently opens the chakra Azula closed with her lightning attack far earlier. He is then faced with a fully realized, and absolutely furious, Avatar State Aang. The look of terror on his face is something to behold.
    • Then there's the final battle between him and Aang, who he initially has on the backfoot hard — before he accidentally awakens Aang's Avatar State after driving him to the sheer desperation for it. Once Avatar!Aang throws the first blast, Ozai gets flung for the better part of a mile before getting a front-row seat to exactly why the Avatar is a Physical God. Cue Ozai repeatedly fleeing for the entire rest of the fight besides the occasional token attempts at retaliation, silently freaking out at the untouchable force of destruction tearing everything apart to end him.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: His Evil Plan in the finale was to wipe out the Earth Kingdom, which holds at least half of the world's population.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Strategically justified. He's more interested in waiting for Sozin's Comet rather than winning small skirmishes.
  • Papa Wolf: In a Pet the Dog moment, he rescued a young Zuko from drowning after a tide sweeps him into the middle of the ocean. At least he initially cared for him enough not to let him die.
  • Parental Favoritism: Subverted.
    • Flashbacks show that he clearly preferred his daughter Azula over his son Zuko, and in the present day that still seems to hold true (especially since unlike Zuko, Azula shares Ozai's power-hungry, sociopathic personality).
    • However, Ozai throws her aside without blinking in Sozin's Comet, revealing his true feelings about Azula; it's not he cares about her more, it's simply that her mix of prodigious firebending, strategic skill, and sadism make her a more useful tool than Zuko. If Ozai felt any genuine affection for Azula at all, it's clearly outweighed by his own lust for power. Even so, as far as he's concerned, Azula is his only child. She's just that easy to keep in line unlike Zuko.
  • Patricide: In The Search, it is revealed that, although Ursa is the one who made the poison, it was ultimately Ozai who murdered Azulon, as Ursa shortly left after giving the vial to him.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: According to the old official site, Ursa was the perfect match for him, 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.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • In a flashback scene of Zuko's youth in The Promise, Ozai saved Zuko from drowning.
    • Another memory scene in the episode The Storm showed young Zuko, Azula, and Ozai spending time together on a verdant pasture field and Ozai placing his hand warmly on Zuko's shoulder. Zuko later insisted with Team Avatar that not all of his family times were bad, and Ozai was hinted to have attempted to be an ideal father and husband in their earlier years.
    • When fooled into believing his son killed the Avatar, Ozai is at least consistent with his previous demands and welcomes Zuko back home. From what we are shown, he doesn't even overtly play favourites with his children again until Zuko betrays him and leaves to join the Avatar. Might not seem like much, but considering everything else he's done to his family it comes off as uncharacteristically kind.
  • Playing with Fire: Is the most powerful Firebender in the original series (barring possibly Iroh), and serves as a grueling Final Boss for Aang even after he's learned all the elements. No longer the case after Aang removes his Bending.
  • The Power of Hate: He's considered to be the strongest firebender in the world despite being only taught a corrupt version of firebending for his entire life, largely due to the fact he excels in anger, rage and hatred.
  • Pragmatic Villainy:
  • Prepare to Die: A rare, terrifying example: it helps that he waited until he had a solid claim to winning.
    "You're weak — just like the rest of your people! They did not deserve to exist in this world — in my world! Prepare to join them! Prepare to DIE!!!"
  • Prince Charmless: For Ursa. She would have preferred to marry her childhood friend Ikem, but was forced to marry this egotistical jerk, though Zuko believes that at least some of their time together was happy.
  • Psycho Electro: He's quite skilled when it comes to lightning bending, but reserves it for when he really wants to kill someone.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: At the end of Smoke and Shadows, Ursa concludes that this is who Ozai really is deep down. A small, insecure man trying to be big and mighty at the expense of everyone around him, including himself. Ozai's reaction to these words only validates such beliefs, as all he could come up in response is a stuttering demand for respect which quickly devolves into that of a whining child begging for attention.
  • Psychotic Smirk: When he smiles, it's never a kind, genuine smile. It's always an evil smirk.
  • Pyromaniac: It's easy to see where Azula gets her psycho fiery side from.
  • Rank Scales with Asskicking: He's confirmed in Avatar Extras to be the most powerful Firebender. The only benders in the world who have a chance of beating him in a straight fight are Aang and Iroh, meaning that Ozai is at worst the second most powerful bender in the world. Aang is established to only have a chance if he masters each of the elements, and Iroh makes a point to express his doubts that he could beat Ozai. Though that's a moot point after he loses his bending.
  • A Real Man Is a Killer: He mocks the heroes for their unwillingness to fight and kill him, respectively, viewing their hesitation as weakness.
  • Redemption Rejection:
    • Before their fight begins, Aang offers Ozai one last chance at redemption, saying that he has the power to end this century-long war and further bloodshed by standing down. Ozai admits that Aang is right... that he has all the power in the world to do whatever he wants, forcing Aang to resolve the matter by force.
    • In the last episode of the series, Fire Lord Zuko states that Ozai could use his time in prison to become a better person, like much how Zuko did during his time in exile. The former Fire Lord responds by denying his son information regarding his mother's whereabouts out of spite.
  • Revenge Through Corruption: He always wants to raise his children in his image but when he learns that his wife Ursa wishes Zuko to be nothing like him, he goes the extra mile to spite her. He treats Zuko like an unwanted bastard child whenever he shows compassion or forgiveness and rewards Azula when she emulates her father's example. When Zuko betrayed Uncle Iroh and allegedly killed the Avatar, Ozai unconditionally rewards his son with pride and respect, seeing it as the final blow to Ursa's wish.
  • Satanic Archetype: In Season One he was always shown completely in shadow, and often surrounded by fire. And like Lucifer, he is all too willing to usurp the throne from his father. The fact that he's taller than most characters also helps.
  • Seven Deadly Sins:
    • Lust: Although he mainly married her for eugenics, The Search shows that Ozai quite enjoyed lording his power over Ursa and controlling his wife.
    • Gluttony: He has very extravagant tastes in decor, as shown by the grand ceremony which marked his departure to commit total genocide against the Earth Kingdom and his intended ascension to Phoenix King, and by the cult of personality he's enforced throughout the Fire Nation.
    • Greed: An Allegorical Character who's insatiably power-hungry, and desires total domination of the whole world.
    • Sloth: He spends the majority of the series hanging back in the Fire Nation, letting Azula and his other military officers do the dirty work for him. Unlike his family members, he relies exclusively on his natural firebending for combat. His refusal to ever see the world outside the Fire Nation (or even outside his palace) for himself with his own naked eyes runs counter to Iroh's lessons to Zuko about gaining an understanding of the world for oneself through first-hand experience to prevent self-stagnation.
    • Wrath: All over the place. His go-to solution to any problem is "burn and kill". He alienated his wife and son when their slights against him provoked him to abuse them horribly in ways which would affect them for years, even as a child he tended to burn things in tantrums when he didn't win, and his solution to the Earth Kingdom's unbending resistance to conquest is to literally burn the entire continent to ashes.
    • Envy: He was implicitly always jealous of his older brother Iroh, who their father always favored, and who was more naturally charismatic and personable than Ozai, on top of Iroh being the rightful heir to their father's throne before Ozai usurped it for himself using foul play.
    • Pride: Pretty much the only things he has any real pride in are himself and his nation due to his views of their inherent superiority to the rest of the world. At best, he can only value and respect other people, even if they are his own children, for their objective worth to his goals and their accomplishments.
    • He also falls to the eighth sin of Despair after he's defeated by Aang. Stripped of his treasured firebending, dethroned by the son he hates, and thrown in a cell to rot, he ends the animated series as a husk of his former self who bitterly acknowledges his fall from grace and yet refuses to seek redemption to spite Zuko.
  • Shadow Archetype:
    • He's designed to be a dark reflection of Zuko's worst traits. Both were hot-tempered and impatient in their youth, and both resented being The Un-Favourite next to their sibling. The difference is that Ozai allowed his envy to consume him while Zuko managed to rise above his flaws during his journey. According to Iroh in Legacy of the Fire Nation, there were many times he saw Ozai inside Zuko yet also many times where he saw Zuko becoming what Ozai should have been.
    • He also serves one to Azula. Like Azula, Ozai aimed for perfection with sheer ruthlessness during his school days and would use family members as pawns to gain more power. The difference is that unlike Azula, Ozai didn't have deep-seated desire to be loved.
  • Shock and Awe: Very good at it, too. He can generate lightning extremely quickly; while both Azula and Iroh, master firebenders in their own right, require at least three motions to "charge", Ozai only needs two. Also, while Azula and Iroh shoot lighting from one hand at a time, Ozai can dual-wield his lightning. His lightning is also far larger than either of theirs and pure white symbolizing that it's hotter than theirs as well.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: To his older brother, Iroh. Ozai is more Lean and Mean while Iron is the shorter Big Fun. Iroh was a Frontline General and was just as capable at unarmed fighting as he was at firebending whereas Ozai preferred to be more in the politic theater and was overly reliant on his prodigious firebending while neglecting to master regular hand-to-hand combat.
  • Sliding Scale of Parent-Shaming in Fiction: Type IV. He burned his own son's face and banished him for three years for refusing to fight him, groomed his daughter from birth to be his minion, and conceived both of them by likely raping their mother, ultimately becoming the Big Bad of the series.
  • Smug Super: After becoming the world's most powerful firebender, Ozai acts high and mighty over his enemies and subordinates, eventually developing delusions of godhood in Season 3 finale. It's only when he confronts an enraged Aang in the Avatar State does that smugness disappear and he flees like a coward.
  • The Social Darwinist: "You're weak, just like the rest of your people! They did not deserve to exist in this world! MY WORLD!" This is why he absolutely hates it when anyone has him at their mercy and they won't kill him, or when Zuko won't fight an Agni Kai against him after challenging the chain of command. Everyone else should be a Social Darwinist too, damn it!
  • The Sociopath: He doesn't seem to feel anything for anybody, even himself. Not his son, Zuko, his daughter, Azula, his brother, Iroh... he doesn't even bat an eyelid when admitting he banished his own wife as punishment for the assassination of the previous Fire Lord, which she did to protect her son! Lampshaded by Ursa:
    Ursa: After all these years, I finally see you, Ozai. You're just a small, small man trying with all your might to be big. Your heart is so small, you've no room for your son, or your daughter, or your brother... or even yourself.
  • So Proud of You: The only time he ever felt proud of Zuko is when Azula falsely told him that Zuko killed Avatar Aang in cold blood. Ironically, that's also when Zuko suddenly didn't want his father's praise since he had to betray Uncle Iroh in the process, not helped by the very fact being pointed out.
  • Sore Loser: In his youth, he would throw temper tantrums and burn the board and pieces whenever he loses to Iroh in a game of Pai Sho. This aspect of his personality would evolve into his motif of burning everything that dares to rebel against him.
  • Spare to the Throne: He points out to Azulon that his bloodline is safe and secure, and thus should be given priority to the throne over Iroh and his now-dead lineage. Azulon refuses and takes advantage of this trope to punish Ozai by having him kill one of his two children. Too bad he chooses Zuko to be the sacrificial victim.
  • Squishy Wizard: Despite being in prime physical condition, Ozai seems to lack any real physical combat abilities (during the solar eclipse he was intimidated into keeping his distance simply by the brandishing of swords), instead preferring to use his fire-bending to fight foes from a safe distance. To be fair though he seemed ready to fight Zuko before he pulled out said swords implying that he had some means of fighting. When he loses his bending, he makes up for it by being more cunning and manipulative than usual.
  • The Starscream: Back when he was Prince Ozai to then-Fire Lord Azulon. He was highly ambitious when he was young and the Fire Lord was the highest position of power he could achieve. He had two obstacles: Azulon wasn't dying any time soon and Iroh was first in line for the throne. At first, he tried to merely supplant Iroh's position and let time do the work but when Ursa discovered that Azulon ordered Zuko's execution to punish Ozai for his insolence, Ozai used her maternal instincts to help him murder his father in exchange for Zuko's life.
  • Stern Parent, Doting Parent: Subverted. On a surface level, he appears at times to be the Doting Parent to Ursa's Stern Parent towards Azula specifically. In truth, he was far more abusive to Azula than Ursa was, carefully making the girl completely dependent on his approval which had extremely high standards.
  • Strike Me Down with All of Your Hatred!: He certainly wants his enemies to kill him without mercy. After Zuko turns against him for good during the Day of Black Sun, Ozai taunts him to finish him off when he's defenseless. He grows furious when Zuko wouldn't even give him that pleasure. He reacts the same way when Aang refuses to kill him despite having the power to. It's also heavily implied that Zuko's refusal to fight his father was the real reason why Ozai banished him in the first place, not the war room incident that initiated the fight.
    Ozai: Really? Since you're a full-blown traitor now and you want me gone, why wait? I'm powerless. You've got your swords. Why don't you just do it now?
  • Strong Family Resemblance:
    • Once he finally see his face, he's basically an older, unscarred Zuko, reflecting how Ozai personifies the capacity for evil within Zuko. Even as a babies they looked very similar.
    • He also strongly resembles his father, Azulon.
  • Stupid Evil: The first in his line. Both his father and grandfather were evil imperialists, but Sozin was a Well-Intentioned Extremist who wanted to be (or be seen as) a Benevolent Dictator; and his genocide of the Air Nomads, while vile and inexcusable, made pragmatic sense, as they were a relatively small community, unlikely to ever accept Fire Nation rule, and after Roku's death the Avatar would be reborn in their ranks. Azulon is implied to have been a tactical genius who at least had some affection for his family (sans Ozai). Ozai, by contrast, is as evil as they were without any sense; he banishes his loyal son, starting him on the path to ending his reign, and his solution to squashing rebellion is to burn down the Earth Kingdom. That is, the largest (both in landmass and population) area of the Fire Nation's Empire. Essentially becoming "King" of a land of ash, that produces no money or crops for the mainland; because he'd rather that than rebellious colonies.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: He's essentially an older Zuko sans the horrific scarring and a calmer/sharper disposition.
  • Tautological Templar: In The Promise, Ozai reveals to Zuko that the key to being a strong Fire Lord is accepting that every action the Fire Lord takes is the correct one no matter what others say. Of course Zuko calls him out for this for obvious reasons but realizes that Ozai isn't wrong about the conflicting messages Zuko's sending out to the rest of the world.
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: Though still a bully and childish, Ozai is also an outright monster willing to commit genocide. The fact that he can do these things while looking like a normal man, rather than the built-up monster, is rather eerie on its own.
  • Thicker Than Water: Nastily subverted. He routinely invokes this with Zuko and especially Azula but as we learn more about Ozai it quickly becomes clear that he does this to emotionally manipulate his own children into doing his bidding. The only person Ozai cares about is Ozai and his family only matters to him as long as it can help him acquire power.
  • Tough Love: He never sees his abusive tactics on Zuko to be wrong, claiming that it would teach him respect and make him stronger. Zuko calls him out on it but would later remark that Ozai was right in a way... banishment helped him see the truth regarding his father and the Fire Nation's crimes against the world.
    Ozai: It was to teach you respect!
    Zuko: It was cruel, and it was wrong!
    Ozai: Then you have learned nothing!
  • Underestimating Badassery: While capturing the Avatar would officially complete his victory in the war, Ozai stubbornly believed Aang should be easy prey considering that he's just a child, so confronting him was deemed inconsequential and nothing even his own forces can't handle. When he found out about the failed conquest of the North, he couldn't understand how Zuko and his own forces were bested by a child. After he found out the Avatar was alive during the Black Sun invasion, he was in no hurry to have him captured since the invasion failed and he’s so close to winning the war anyways. When the confrontation came, Ozai assumed defeating the Avatar with the comet would be child's play (pun NOT intended), but he ended up being wrong. To be fair though he was more than a match for Aang before the latter entered the Avatar State, especially when he realized that Aang wasn't fighting to kill.
  • The Un-Favourite: It's implied that Azulon favored Iroh over him similar to how he favors Azula over Zuko; the screw up and the prodigy. However, as we see in The Search, Azulon didn't really treat Ozai as badly as we're led to believe, as he wanted him to also have a strong bloodline. Azulon nonetheless didn't take it kindly when it looked Ozai was trying to use Iroh's loss to advance his ambitions.
  • The Unfettered: Whereas Aang is The Fettered due to his duties as the Avatar and loyalty to his friends, Ozai values only his goal of world domination and will gladly engulf the world in flame to achieve it.
  • The Unreveal: Invoked. Ozai is built up as a terrifying figure of demonic proportions for the first two seasons, usually surrounded by shadow and fire whenever anyone is thinking of him. Then Season 3 hits and he turns out to be a normal-looking man, albeit a dangerously arrogant one with far too much power. This is symbolic of Aang and especially Zuko overcoming their awe and dread of him, since for all his Firebending and military might Ozai himself is just a man, and a delusional and childish man at that. Ultimately he's just a bully who needs to be stood up to and the product of a poisonous culture and legacy more than anything else.
  • Ungrateful Bastard:
    • His thanks to Ursa for allowing him to usurp Azulon as Fire Lord, while saving their son's life in the process, was to banish her for treason. Despite this it's averted as she had to agree to banishment before the whole thing happened. For Ozai, this was necessary for him to tie up loose ends. He did, however, keep his word of ensuring their children's safety... for the time being.
    • Twice during Ozai's fight with Aang, the Avatar shows mercy when he had a chance at a killing shot. Ozai's response both times is to attack Aang.
  • Unseen No More: He is cloaked in shadow for the first two seasons despite frequently appearing even with a speaking role. He's finally fully revealed in the Season 3 premiere.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Ozai is the world's strongest Firebender, but unlike the rest of his family, he doesn't have any auxiliary fighting skills to complement his bending note . Instead, he just prefers to overwhelm his opponents with incredible firepower. This comes back to bite him when Aang takes his bending away, leaving him helpless.
  • Unwanted Spouse: To Ursa. She didn't like the idea of marrying him and her true love was someone else. The Search implies this to be both ways; while Ozai clearly loved lording his power over Ursa, he also seemed disinterested in the marriage, aside from producing heirs for that matter. Once he has what he wants (heirs, and a claim to the throne) he quickly banishes her.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid:
  • The Usurper: He wasn't the Crown Prince of the Fire Nation and Fire Lord Azulon despised his attempt to steal the throne from Iroh. Then, thanks to Ursa's untraceable poison, Azulon mysteriously died in his sleep and his last wish was apparently appointing Ozai to be the new Fire Lord.
  • Villain Has a Point:
    • Though his real intentions were obvious, Ozai was correct that Lu Ten's death meant the end of Iroh's bloodline and thus Ozai's bloodline would have to inherit the throne sooner or later. Additionally, Iroh's decision to end the Siege of Ba Sing Se due to the death of his son meant that the war would be prolonged much longer than anticipated. His rationale fell on deaf ears to an ill-tempered and cruel father who favored his firstborn son over his second.
    • After his defeat and imprisonment, Zuko realizes through visiting him in prison that despite his inherent Machiavellian wickedness, his father actually has some very perceptive and genuinely useful advice on how to be an effective Fire Lord. He immediately deduces how King Kuei is going to react to the Harmony Restoration Movement (regarding the former Fire Nation colonies) and why, despite never having met the Earth King, simply because he knows the political situation - and he's proven to be completely right. Most notably, he tells Zuko that the well-being of the Fire Nation's people will always rest on his shoulders so he cannot afford to be hesitant or indecisive when standing before a tough decision, as being slow to act in a crisis leaves both him and the people exposed to threats.
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    • During "Sozin's Comet Part Four: Avatar Aang", after Aang achieves the Avatar State, Ozai's visibly terrified. After he loses his bending, he's left a pathetic shell of his former self.
    • In the comics, he has managed to regain composure during his time in prison and becomes a cunning and dominating Manipulative Bastard to Zuko's regime. It works for most of the prison visits until Ursa arrives, who then proclaims to Ozai she is no longer afraid of him and gives a "Reason You Suck" Speech of how he is ultimately a small man who tries with all his might to act big before saying her goodbyes. Ozai's response as Ursa leaves him forever notably shows him stuttering and eventually screaming for her to come back and beg at his feet, rendering him completely powerless in both bending and words.
  • Villainous Cheekbones: Between them and the beard, it's pretty clear he's a bad guy.
  • Villainous Valour: The guy is an utter bastard and is visibly terrified when Aang achieves the Avatar State. But even then, while he's outmatched, he doesn't try to run away or to beg and even manages to dodge Aang's attacks several minutes and to get a few attacks off.
  • Villainous Widow's Peak: A more realistic, less dramatic one than most cases.
  • Villain Respect: While he underestimated Aang until their final fight, as a Social Darwinist, he respects the natural raw power of the Avatar and is willing to accept a death by his hands. He loses this respect when the kid refuses to kill him.
  • Villains Never Lie: He's the only character who gives exposition on Ursa's fate. He's taken at his word by both Zuko and the audience, even though Ozai was blatantly trying manipulate Zuko at the time. (This may be because the story matches up with hints from Azula, who is herself a villain.) As later seen in The Search, surprisingly, he really was telling the truth.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: He is very popular with his citizens, even after being deposed, as seen in "The Promise". This is thanks to him developing a cult of personality where, as shown in The Headband, Fire Nation schools routinely teach their students to adore him and even rewrite history to favor him and his predecessors. Over time, this did not last. Decades into Zuko’s reign, the Fire Nation has all but disowned him, and it became known he poisoned his own father.
  • Virtue Is Weakness: Believes that mercy and compassion are for the weak, which he uses to justify all of his evil acts.
  • World's Strongest Man: All but stated to be the world's strongest Firebender and one of the most powerful Benders in general. However, as Ozai learns firsthand, even his power is outmatched next to a fully-powered Avatar, although even that just emphasises how much power he has rather than lacks, since that is basically the only thing able to take him down.
  • Worthy Opponent: Subverted with Aang. After Aang refuses to take his life, even after spending a prolonged amount of time pummeling him in the fully unleashed Avatar State, Ozai admits that he is the most powerful person in the world with a hint of awe in his voice. He even uses his own line from the start of the fight, “all the power in the world” to describe Aang’s capabilities, clearly having developed a grudging respect. That said, he still sees Aang as weak for not killing him.
    Ozai: Even with all the power in the world, you are still weak.
  • Would Hurt a Child: When Zuko was thirteen, Ozai torched his face off for speaking out of turn. He's also made a few attempts to murder him, though he was talked out of it the first time by his wife. He doesn't care if his greatest enemy is a twelve-year-old with so much power that potentially outclasses him, he'll stop at nothing to hunt him down.
  • You Could Have Used Your Powers for Evil: Part of the reason why he belittles Avatar Aang (and the concept of the Avatar in general) is because Avatar has all the power in the world, yet never uses that power to rule or remake the world like he would have done.
  • You Have Failed Me: He sent Azula to capture Zuko because he failed to capture the Avatar, or rather, lost to a child who defeated his forces attempting to conquer the North Pole.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: A non-lethal, but still heartbreaking example. After learning from Zuko that Azula lied about the Avatar's demise, he steals her idea of burning the entire Earth Kingdom and assigns her the now pointless Fire Lord title while he takes all the glory by himself as the Phoenix King. This triggers a saddening Villainous Breakdown in Azula.

    Ursa 

Princess Ursa

Voiced by: Jen Cohn (original), Keyros Guillén (Latin American Spanish), Izabel Lira (Brazilian Portuguese)

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.


  • One Hundred Percent Adoration Rating: Upon her reinstatement into the Royal Family, her people accepted her as if nothing had ever happened and consider her one of their rulers alongside her son, Fire Lord Zuko.
  • 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 with his son and the granddaughter of Avatar Roku.
  • 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 threat 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.
  • Feminine Mother, Tomboyish Daughter: Very much so. Ursa is a kind, soft-hearted, nurturing, and caring lady, in stark contrast to Azula's ruthless, brutal, aggressive, and sometimes downright psychotic nature.
  • 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.
  • The High Queen: Upon the reinstatement of her royal status in Smoke and Shadow, Ursa's status as a former Fire Lord’s wife is retroactively applied, and is bestowed the title of "Lady", and her son being the reigning Fire Lord makes her the equivalent of a queen mother. That said, she's definitely beautiful, kind, gentle and motherly.
  • 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.
  • Loving Parent, Cruel Parent: The Loving Parent. Unlike Ozai, she loved both her children, though she was closer to Zuko. She was much stricter with Azula on account of her troubling unchildlike behaviour, but it's made clear that she loved her too despite Azula's illusions to the contrary.
  • 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 Ursa 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 too focused on protecting and raising Zuko and unintentionally neglected Azula which not only caused her to fall under her father's 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.
  • Satellite Family Member: Ursa's role in the story revolves around the impact she had on her children, Zuko and Azula. She was extremely loving and affectionate toward Zuko to make up for his father's abuse. Following her mysterious disappearance, Zuko clings to his childhood memories of her in hard times. In Book 2, he briefly bonds with Katara over their lost mothers. On the flip side, Ursa had a more troubled relationship with Azula. She loved her daughter, but had a difficult time understanding or connecting with her. Azula believes that her mother thought she was a monster and loved Zuko more than her, which significantly contributes to Azula's Villainous Breakdown in Book 3.
  • 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.
  • Stern Parent, Doting Parent: Subverted. On a surface level, she appears to be the Stern Parent to Ozai's Doting Parent towards Azula specifically. In truth, she was only stern towards Azula due to the latter's troubling unchildlike behaviour, while Ozai, though subtle about it, was ultimately a far nastier parent to Azula.
  • Sympathetic Adulterer: The Search reveals that she's still sending letters to her original lover Ikem even after her (forced) marriage to Ozai. Considering the kind of person Ozai is, one can't really blame her.
  • 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 commited by the Fire Nation, and she tried to be a good parent to both her children.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Downplayed when they were still married, as Ozai looked slightly better looking when he was younger, just more menacing and with visible cheekbones compared to the more pleasant Ursa. It's more apparent once they're older and no longer married: Ozai has sunken cheeks, narrower eyes, a long goatee and an almost always menacing look; meanwhile, Ursa looks much like her daughter Azula grown up.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 

    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. A brief flashback to Zuko's childhood sees him being tended to by Iroh and Lu Ten.
  • 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.
  • Meaningful Name: Lu Ten means "Soaring Road" in Mandarin, and the death of Lu Ten was the start of Iroh's spiritual journey.
  • 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.
  • My Greatest Failure: Lu Ten was Iroh's greatest pride and joy, so Lu Ten dying while under Iroh's command left Iroh broken.
  • 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.
  • Satellite Family Member: Lu Ten's only contribution to the plot is his death during the 600 day siege of Ba Sing Se, which triggered his father Iroh's Heel–Face Turn and caused him to abandon the war effort out of grief.
  • 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.
  • Warrior Prince: His father Iroh was heir to the Fire Nation throne (and its topgeneral) when Lu Ten fell in battle during the Siege of Ba Sing Se.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Iroh could not find him in the Spirit World. He had to conclude by the time he ascended there, his son's soul had more than likely already been reincarnated to live out its next life. Meaning Iroh would probably never find the person who was once Lu Ten.

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), Ettore Zuim (Brazilian Portuguese)

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.


  • Absurdly Elderly Father: When he died Sozin was 102 years old while his son Azulon was 20 when he became Fire Lord, meaning that Sozin was 82 years old when he fathered his son Azulon.
  • 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.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: His narration from the end of his life makes it clear that he spent his dying days being haunted by how much brighter his younger days from before he and Roku fell out were, and that he feels he wasted his entire life after the Air Nomad genocide for failing to find the next Avatar, and it's overall hinted that Sozin realized by the very end that he'd wasted his life by betraying his best friend and bringing much more harm than good to the world, which was the opposite of what he'd originally set out to do. The fact that everyone in the Fire Nation believes after Sozin's death that he died a very victorious man makes the reality of Sozin's final days all the more poignant.
  • Allegorical Character: Represents how a well-intentioned ruler can turn their nation into an imperialistic, war-mongering empire. He started off as a caring best friend to Avatar Roku and a someone wanted to spread prosperity of the Fire Nation to the rest of the world. But over time, such well-intentioned goals devolved into a need to conquer and control as Sozin had a fallout with Roku and eventually betrayed him to make imperialistic dreams come true. His fear of the Avatar's return eventually morphed into a fear of an ethnic group, namely the Airbenders, whom the Fire Nation wiped out under his orders.
  • All for Nothing: He started the war as a means to spread the prosperity of the Fire Nation to the world. Instead, due to his friend being the Avatar who opposed the idea, the two came into conflict and left him to die. After spending years amassing an army to wipe out the Air Nomads, he failed to locate Aang before deciding to go along with his war. He also started the tradition of hunting dragons to test one's skill in firebending. Instead of prosperity, his dying days made him realize his actions had done horrible damage to the world, damage that his descendants continued due to wanting to control rather than than make the world a better place and spending the next 100 making the Fire Nation look like monsters. His last words had him also realize he was too late to fix any of his crimes. Even his greatest atrocities, the extinction of dragons and Airbenders, were rendered moot; at least two dragons were kept secret by Iron and their hatchling Druk became Zuko's companion while plans to locate survivors by conservationists occurred, while the events of Harmonic Convergence during Avatar Korra's time granted Airbending to previous non-benders.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Being Evil Sucks: Heavily implied. He died a very successful if evil man who influenced the course of history for centuries to come, after he left his childhood best friend to die, wiped out an entire people save for the sole individual that he was looking to kill, and plunged the world into a world war that would last a century, among many other crimes and oppressions. Notably, Sozin's voice narrating his last will and testament from his dying days constantly speaks in a bitter and solemn tone, and he doesn't sound remotely proud or pleased when recounting any of his heinous successes, even commenting at one point that he "wasted the remainder of [his] life searching in vain" for the next Avatar.
  • 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.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: The rest of the world never learned the part he played in Roku's death, so for the twelve years between there, he acted as a relatively benevolent ruler, still allowing the Air Nomads to go about their business (even as they were leery about the colonies and the military build-up), all while plotting to wipe them out.
  • 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 his sister Seizan's Abel.
  • Cool Old Guy: For all of his faults, Sozin was no slouch, even in his elderly years. He was able to aid Roku in battling the volcano that was destroying his island, redirecting the steam from the lava so that it would rapidly cool.
  • Cosmic Motifs: Comets, having renamed the Great Comet Sozin's Comet and used the power it grants Firebenders to kick off the 100 Year War by killing all the Air Nomads (ironically except the one they were after), fitting comets usual association with extinction.
  • Creepy Monotone: Courtesy of Ron Perlman.
  • Curbstomp Battle: Despite being probably the most powerful Firebender of his day, he is on the receiving end of one, courtesy of Roku.
  • 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).
  • Dirty Coward: When Roku confronts Sozin and warns him to stop his imperialist warmongering, Sozin attacks Roku when the latter has his back turned. This promptly gets him curb-stomped by Roku, who warns him one final time to stop. Sozin minds his manners for a time until the volcanic eruption that causes Roku to inhale poisonous gas. Sozin opts to leave his friend to die, which in turn leaves him to start the Hundred Years War.
  • 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”.
    • It is possible that Sozin had pragmatic reasons to destroy dragons. Given that dragons taught the original (more peaceful) form of fire-bending to humans, Sozin may want the Fire Nation folk to forget all that and to use the newer and more destructive form that was since developed, as that new form will better suit his expansive imperialistic aims. Hunting dragons as a cultural practice will effectively breaks the ancient learning connections between them and the Fire Nation people. Having fewer dragons around also make it less likely that another nation will learn the secrets of fire-bending to fight against the Fire Nation.
  • Elemental Motifs: Fire, even beyond the typical association of Firebenders, with his ambition to 'spread their wealth' corresponding to a fire spreading and consuming everything around it.
  • 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. The Avatar Roleplaying game would imply that these were all for fairly petty reasons: outlawing same-sex relationships to spite his hated sister and organized the dragon hunts to show off the Fire Lord's, and his own, power. 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.
  • I Am a Monster: It's all but shout from a rooftop that, by the end of his life, Sozin was no longer under any delusion about everything he's done and feels nothing but regret about his many acts of evil, ''especially'' leaving his best friend Roku to die.
  • 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: Subverted. He doesn't physically suffer the consequences 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 in the original comics, though the Avatar Roleplaying game would imply it was at least partially because his sister, who he hated, was attracted to women.
  • Knight Templar: He was so convinced that he was in the right in his efforts to share the Fire Nation's "prosperity" with the world that he declared Roku a traitor to the Fire Nation for criticizing his warmongering and imperialism. It's only on his deathbed that he realizes his initially benevolent intentions caused untold pain, suffering and atrocities that would continue for decades after his death.
  • 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 Roku is literally dying at his feet.
  • 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.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Despite his insistence that his methods were for the greater good of all, by the end of his life after failing to find the Avatar he could only reflect on the terrible mistakes he made and the dire consequences they would have for the world over the next century.
  • Mythical Motifs: Dragons, having a blue one for a companion. Takes a darker turn when he started the tradition of hunting them and bestowing the title of "Dragon" on whoever succeeds.
  • The Napoleon: He was short compared to his old friend Roku, at least in their younger years.
  • 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 Victory: 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:
  • 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.
  • Tragic Villain: Sozin was once a genuinely good man and friend to Avatar Roku who wanted to make the world a better place. However, as time went on, his Pride began to corrupt his desire to help others into a desire to "help" them by ruling over them, whether they liked it or not, which led to a fallout with Roku. Eventually, he leaves Roku to die and succeeds in turning the Fire Nation into a hegemonic, imperialist state. And yet, he finds that not only has he made the world worse, but he did so by betraying his closest friend, leaving him sorrowful, lonely old man unable to atone for his sins during his final days.
  • 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.
  • You Could Have Used Your Powers for Good!: Well, his idea of good. But part of Sozin's bitter resentment towards Avatar Roku was that they were in the perfect position to truly change the world for the better. With Sozin as Fire Lord during a time of great, industrial prosperity and Roku having divine authority as the Avatar, they could have united the Four Nations as one powerful empire where everything can be shared.

    Zeisan 

Princess Zeisan

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/zeisan.jpeg
Princess Zeisan was the younger sister of Fire Lord Sozin who was introduced in the canon ''Avatar Legends'' tabletop game. A non-bender, she devoted herself to the teachings of the Air Nomads to learn chi-blocking to fight back against her family's corruption, eventually marrying a leader of a renegade Air Nomad faction for political gain.
  • Badass Normal: A non-bender who did everything she could to stop her brother, even learning chi-blocking as a fighting technique.
  • Cain and Abel: The Abel to Sozin's Cain.
  • Family Theme Naming: Continues the trend of people in the Fire Nation Royal family having a strong "Z" sound in their names.
  • Good Counterpart: To Azula. Both are the Princesses of the Fire Nation, but while Azula worked under Ozai to conquer the world, Zeisan worked to undermine the war started by her brother.
  • Irony: The sister of the man who committed the genocide of the Air Nomads studied under them and even had romantic relationships with two different Air Nomads.
  • Marriage of Convenience: She fell in love with a woman named Sister Rioshon while studying chi-blocking but married a man named Khandro since he was a more suitable political match.
  • Muggle Born of Mages: She's the only known non-bender to be born into main branch of the Fire Nation Royal family across all the various entries and generations in the franchise, although Izumi and her daughter's bending status has never been confirmed.
  • Shadow Archetype: To Azula. In fact, her entire character can be summarized as an inversion of Azula's journey, being the younger sister of an older brother she constantly quarrels with... except she's the one who suffered hardships (due to being a non-bender) and made the choice to defect from Fire Nation and join the Air Nomads (aka Aang's people) to stop the Fire Lord's tyranny.
  • Sibling Rivalry: She and her brother never got along and she eventually tried to undermine his reign from behind the scenes.

    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, but we do know he was concerned about his father's ailing health).
  • The Ace: He was an accomplished general for the Fire Nation, turned the army more efficient, leading to numerous conquests and led the Fire Nation for the majority of the Hundred Year War. 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.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Much of his actual character and even his actions are fairly ambiguous. 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.
  • Asshole Victim: Outside of him seemingly caring for Iroh and Lu Ten, all signs point to Azulon being completely devoid 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. Considering the Fire Nation has long distanced itself from its imperialist past, it goes without saying Azulon's legacy is a stain on its history.
  • 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. Even Zuko felt intimidated in his presence. 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 Can Be Loved: In an interview with Bryan and Mike, even Azulon’s death caused Iroh immense grief along with the death of Lu Ten.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He genuinely loves his oldest son, Iroh, and sticks up for him in the face of Ozai's disrespect... though he does it in a rather twisted way.
  • 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 and further his own ambitions. 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 beyond his ambition. 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.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: He was a nigh-utter bastard in life, and ultimately Ozai has him taken care of once he's kicked around too much.
  • 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.
  • Offing the Offspring: He also saw Zuko as a disappointment and a waste of his time, and unsurprisingly, Azulon orders Ozai to kill him as punishment for crossing him.
  • 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. What he was well remembered for the era of stability he brought to the Fire Nation.
  • 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.
  • Rank Scales with 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.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Like his father and his son, Iroh, Azulon personally led the Fire Nation military in a number of battles. In fact, the only Firebender in the Royal Family who hasn't appeared to do so was 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.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Azulon is the Greater-Scope Villain of the entire story, having set into motion the Fire Nation's conquering efforts so that he alone can Take Over the World. But his Parental Favoritism and abuse of Ozai ended up setting his second-born son on a warpath of vengeance, first getting rid of Azulon himself and then picking up where his father left off and only making everything worse. Every amount of mistreatment that Azulon enforced upon Ozai would subsequently ripple outwards onto Zuko, Azula, and Ursa, effectively creating both horrific results and the inevitable defeat of the Fire Nation under Ozai.
  • Villain of Another Story: Azulon was the Firelord for roughly 80% of the war, meaning that innumerable atrocities were done under his orders and the vast majority of death and destruction from the conflict happened under his reign.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Azulon orders his own grandson's death as punishment for Ozai disrespecting him.

Alternative Title(s): Avatar The Last Airbender Fire Lord Ozai

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