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This is the character page for Towards The Sun. Canonical characterization applies here until it doesn't. List only tropes coming from the work, canon tropes go here.


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     The Fire Nation royal family 

The Royal Family as a Whole

  • 0% Approval Rating: Zuko believes this is the case with the palace staff due to their perceived “insubordination.” Iroh, however, starts off with low approval when he returns, which only proceeds to tank completely when he dethrones Zuko.
  • Break the Cutie: Zuko and Azula come pre-broken into the story from various psychological breakdowns. Things, unfortunately, get worse for both before they get better.
  • Cain and Abel: Surprisingly averted by Azula and Zuko to their own shock. Azula admits that she never wanted Zuko dead and Zuko returns the sentiment.
  • Divine Right of Kings: The Fire Lord is considered the Will of the Sun God Agni on earth.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity:
    • Zuko has a terrible reputation outside the Fire Nation with the rest of the world only seeing him as the next Fire Lord, with Earth Kingdom generals outright refusing to read the letters he sends regarding a ceasefire.
    • Iroh has a poor reputation within the Fire Nation for being a traitor, which only worsens when he dethrones Zuko and the latter accidentally implies Iroh will kill him for disagreeing with the new regime.
  • Royally Screwed Up: While already present in the series even Iroh and Zuko come to blows when it comes it ruling the nation. While Zuko had Azula locked in a royal suite after her psychotic breakdown and Azula electrocuted Zuko for fun, Iroh and Zuko's relationship falls apart spectacularly over the story.
  • Thicker Than Water: While their relationship is deeply flawed from a lifetime of abuse, Zuko and Azula love each other dearly and would go to great lengths for one another.
  • Trauma Button: After being traumatized by Iroh, both Zuko and Azula develop distastes for tea.

Zuko

  • 100% Adoration Rating: The palace staff adore Zuko and are extremely protective of him. He doesn't seem to realize their coddling and very hands on and relaxed attitudes isn't insubordination but a sign of real love and respect rather than the fear induced loyalty his father and sister got.
  • Batman Gambit: Knowing Iroh would do anything to have Zuko forgive him, Zuko has his coronation as Crown Prince scheduled as soon as possible. Iroh wanted to delay the coronation for Zuko's frail health, but he insisted. Which was Zuko's ploy to get a public audience to rip Iroh a new one.
  • Beware the Honest Ones: Sokka notes that Zuko's manipulations are dangerous because he's too honest and does it unintentionally. Which makes Zuko difficult to predict.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: When Zuko refuses being Crown Prince at the ceremony, he follows the declaration by publicly ripping into Iroh's choices of siding with the White Lotuses view on how to handle the Fire Nation and the damage that will occur by doing so.
  • The Chains of Commanding: The weight of inheriting the throne while trying to end the war without the Fire Nation being gutted in retaliation is slowly crushing Zuko.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Zuko vs Iroh while Zuko is having a heart attack. The fight was short.
    Uncle took him down gentle as an owl-cat scuffing her kitten.
  • Curb Stomp Cushion: Zuko had no chance of winning the Agni Kai against Iroh but props goes to him for doing so despite a literal heart attack and suffering a Psychosomatic Superpower Outage.
  • Cuteness Overload: Sokka can't handle the site of Zuko napping on Appa while covered in turtleducks, or has he calls it "Zuko-and-Fluffy-Animals Cuteness Overload Happy Funtime Hour."
  • Death Seeker: Zuko is passively suicidal after his imprisonment, not caring whether he lives or dies as long as the Fire Nation remains in tact.
  • Determined Defeatist: Zuko is certain that his council and the Fire Nation military will get depose him and have Zuko either executed, re-imprisoned or exiled once the situation stabilizes. He is determined to best Fire Lord he can be despite that.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Zuko crosses it when Iroh challenges Zuko for the throne after his horror over Ozai's fate causes Zuko to have a heart attack. Having to relieve his worst memory at the hands of the only adult he unconditionally trusted during his most physically vulnerable breaks Zuko. After having all his efforts to bring peace rebuffed and his Parental Substitute betray him, Zuko finally gives up. After the Agni Kai Zuko bounces between Laughing Mad, apathetic depression and passively suicidal.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Zuko spent most of the prologue being mocked by the Gaang, undermined by Iroh and later outright ousted from power. During his coronation as Crown Prince he publicly calls them all out, warns his people against them and walks away while accidentally inciting a civil war.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Zuko's most healthy relationship is his acquaintanceship with Toph. Zuko and Toph respect each other's skill with Toph currently the only person in his life with these three characteristics: honest, polite and not mentally unstable.
  • Exhausted Eye Bags: Zuko has these throughout his reign as Fire Lord due his constant overworking and lack of sleep.
  • Finger Snap Lighter: Zuko forms fire daggers when he learns of Ozai's fate. It's the first and last time he firebends before his Psychosomatic Superpower Outage causes him to lose his bending completely.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Zuko is the Responsible Sibling who buckles down to rule their nation and take care of her. While Azula cracked on her first day after her friends refused to continue to take her abuse. She throws tantrums by setting things on fire and attacking Zuko with lightning. Which Azula did so frequently that Zuko developed electrocution-based health problems.
  • Grew a Spine: After his Despair Event Horizon rendering all Zuko's efforts to fix the nation pointless, Zuko regains some of his fire by calling out Iroh. Sokka laments Zuko gaining his "moral backbone" when its incredibly inconvenient for the Gaang.
  • Heart Trauma: Zuko develops electricity-induced arrhythmia due to having to tank Azula's lightning attacks. His weakening firebending barely allows him to redirect lightning, not being able to protect himself. His arrhythmia combined with his poor condition due to his imprisionment, poor sleep habits, poor eating habits and terrible lifestyle altogether lead to it Zuko endangering his life in critical moments.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Zuko's has no sense of self worth or preservation. He considers it a fact of life that he's only Fire Lord until the council has no more use for him and apparently made peace with the notion that “no more use” may very well mean his death at someone's hands or a lifetime back in his prison cell if he doesn't work himself to death first. He doesn't care. His council, Uncle, and servants on the other hand, care quite a bit when he admits this out loud.
  • Hollywood Heart Attack: Zuko starts feeling pain in his arm during a botched reparations meeting. After completely horrified with the Gaang with the revelation of Ozai's fate, Zuko starts feeling cold then hot as he suffers a heart attack. Zuko survives the heart attack when Katara heals him after the Agni Kai.
  • Hope Bringer: Zuko is the first kind Fire Lord within living memory and willing to work himself to the bone trying to fix their nation after Fire Lord Ozai's defeat. With all the freedoms Zuko was willing to give citizens, trying to convert the nation to a peacetime economy and prevent the other nations from tearing them apart. The citizens love Zuko. So when Iroh inadvertently crushed their hopes by overthrowing Zuko. They don't get mad. They rebel.
  • Ill Boy: Zuko's poor health threaten his life and his reign as Fire Lord. Zuko ends up developing heart arrhythmia due to being constantly attacked with lightning by Azula. Not helping him was his poor conditions in his Tailor-Made Prison where he lacked sunlight, movement and just enough food and water for him not to die. Add his poor sleeping habits and lack of rest makes a perfect storm of poor health that leads to Zuko suffering a thankfully non-fatal heart attack. Iroh was able to use Zuko's poor health to overthrown him as Fire Lord.
  • Important Haircut: As Fire Lord, Zuko had his hair in a top knot. Zuko was going to cut his hair to reflect his self-exile but decides against it and leave his hair in a ponytail.
  • Innocent Inaccurate: Zuko has no idea that "visiting sick relatives" means someone fled the capital for disagreeing with the regime. After many servants flee after Iroh's ascension as Fire Lord, Zuko believes there's a epidemic ravaging the countryside. He sincerely wishes his servants' relatives well.
  • The Insomniac: Zuko rarely sleeps as he's so busy keeping his country from falling apart that he frequently works through the night.
  • Just Got Out of Jail: The story begins when Zuko is released from his Tailor-Made Prison by his own guards.
  • Laughing Mad: Zuko after the Agni Kai. People find the laugh rather creepy.
  • Licked by the Dog: Appa loves Zuko, who in turn develops a habit of napping with him by the turtleduck pond.
  • Literal Metaphor: Zuko's arrhythmia makes any heart metaphor painfully literal.
    Zuko's heart skipped a beat. In… kind of a literal way.
  • Literal-Minded: Zuko doesn't really DO rhetorical. Or double meanings for that matter.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Azula shoots lightning at Zuko constantly, which has resulted in him having lightning-induced arrhythmia and all the heart problems that come with the condition. Zuko doesn't care, he has things to do.
  • Man in the Iron Mask: Zuko was thrown in a dark, small jail when he was captured after his post-eclipse Heel–Face Turn. Ozai had Zuko jailed instead executed with the implication that he wanted Zuko to waste away and die in jail. And to be able to gloat to Zuko's face. Ty Lee and Mai attempted to break Zuko out of jail but failed. Ultimately it was Zuko's jailers who release him to take throne. Zuko was the only royal left after Ozai's defeat and capture by the Avatar and Azula going insane.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: Zuko would be the first to admit the serious wrongs the Fire Nation committed against the world. That said, as Fire Lord, he will do everything to protect his people’s best interests to prevent them from getting screwed over.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: After publicly calling out Iroh, Zuko tells him that he plans to visit his sick relatives. By which he means Azula, who was locked away in asylum. Everyone else believes that Zuko was using the publicly accepted code for "I've pissed off the ruler, I need to get the hell outta here." Which destroys any credibility Iroh had left and kicks off a civil war.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Zuko is loved among his palace servants and his counsel for being kind and forgiving in spite of his hot temper and firebrand personality. Zuko ends up going personally to the clerks' office so he can thank the Head Clerk for making graphs for the projected trade research in a week's time. Despite being displeased at his servants' informality towards him, he allows it to continue.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: When Zuko is released from prison after his father's defeat and his sister's insanity to ascend as Fire Lord, he tries his very best to keep the nation from falling apart. Zuko works to transition the economy from war to peace, negotiate a peace treaty with reparations and tries to protect his nation's best interests. It get abused by Azula, belittled by the Gaang, works him to near death and betrayed by his uncle.
  • No-Sell: Unlike everyone else, Zuko easily ignores Toph's Slasher Smile, citing that Azula "had more teeth in her smiles at two than Toph did at twelve".
  • No Social Skills: Zuko's people skill were sub-par to begin with, then he got shut up in an isolated cell for months.
  • Not Used to Freedom: Having spent several months in an isolated, small, pitch black cell really messed with Zuko's head. Zuko figures that he will go back to jail eventually and content with working himself to death in the assurance that he can rest when he's re-imprisoned. Once forced out of position as Fire Lord, Zuko has no idea what to do with his newfound freetime.
  • Oblivious to Love: A platonic variant, Zuko doesn't understand that his servants' casual affection and treatment of him is out of genuine concern and adoration of him.
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat: Zuko manages to hurt Iroh with a remark after all the hurt Iroh inflicted on him:
    Zuko: You said you thought of me as your son.
    Zuko: Thank you for the lesson, ''father.''
  • Psychosomatic Superpower Outage: With Zuko being captured before he could join the Gaang in his post-eclipse Heel–Face Turn, Zuko is barely able to bend due to losing his anger that fueled it. Then Iroh challenges Zuko to an Agni Kai to dethrone him. Faced with his beloved uncle betraying him and forcing to relive the worst memory of his life causes Zuko to lose his firebending completely.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Zuko is the first Fire Lord in decades to openly care about his people and their safety over personal ambitions. He actively engages with his staff in the palace, working with and listening to them to find the best ways to help the nation recover.
  • Reluctant Ruler: Zuko doesn't want to be Fire Lord, and doesn't believe anyone else does either. He's just going to keep doing his job until he literally can't. When presented with being named Crown Prince after Iroh takes over, he realizes he doesn't care about being in charge anymore.
  • Redundant Rescue:
    • Zuko's a victim of this twice:
      • He ends up being captured when he attempts to break Iroh out of jail only to find that Iroh already escaped.
      • When he goes to break Azula out of her mental asylum, Azula had already loosened the window. She didn't want to escape since she had nowhere to go. At this point Zuko bemoans he fact that no one he attempts to rescue actually needs him to escape.
  • Rejected Apology: After the Agni Kai and ousting Zuko from the position of Fire Lord, Iroh gets on his knees and begs for Zuko's forgiveness. Zuko doesn't remotely forgive Iroh for undermining him, undoing his efforts as Fire Lord and making him relive his worst trauma. He doesn't even think that Iroh is being sincere.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Zuko turns his back on Iroh and walks away when he refuses to reinstated as Crown Prince after Iroh usurped him.
  • Selective Obliviousness: Zuko thinks his servants are insubordinate because they detest him when they're actually trying to make him rest because they adore Zuko and can tell he's literally working himself to death.
  • Seriously Scruffy: Zuko lets his self-care go as he's too busy rebuilding his nation. The only reason he isn't worse is due to the efforts of his servants.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: When Zuko calls out Iroh for never informing him that he worked for the White Lotus, Iroh tries to insist Zuko was still too obsessed with pleasing his father, only for Zuko to retort that he was obsessed because he thought he had no other options.
  • Spare to the Throne: Zuko, having been The Unfavorite his entire life and only crowned because of Azula's breakdown views himself as “the nation's fallback heir”.
  • Stopped Caring: After all he went through, Zuko decides to stop giving a damn over the fate of the Fire Nation since he's no longer in charge and clearly no one wants him in charge.
  • Take a Third Option: Zuko could do nothing and watch Iroh ruin the Fire Nation. Or he could try to fix things as Iroh's heir while always fearing Iroh's wrath. Zuko then realizes he has a third option: he could do nothing. Nothing meaning Abdicate the Throne.
  • Taught by Experience: Zuko knows more about the world outside the Fire Nation than any of his soldiers or his generals due to having spent years traveling the world searching for the Avatar, including knowing about towns that aren't on the official maps and which technically enemy ports would look the other way if Fire Nation ships were onloading troops rather than offloading.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: Zuko believes that everyone in the palace hates him and plans to either kill or overthrow him once the country stabilizes. In spite of the servants' adoration of him and everyone's clear worry that Zuko will work himself to death. Zuko doesn't count as The Paranoiac because he doesn't care whether he lives or dies and only cares about keeping the Fire Nation from falling apart.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Zuko is really bad at being good and has no clue what his actions in Chapter 18 started.
    "Sokka was starting to be a little afraid that not only was he right about Zuko's evil mastermind abilities, but that they were completely unintentional."
  • Workaholic: Zuko doesn't know how to do things in halves. The palace staff are desperate to get him to rest anyway they can before he kills himself from overworking.

Azula

  • Affectionate Nickname: Just as Azula calls her brother Zuzu, Zuko is revealed to similarly call her Lala.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Azula promises to reconsider her stance on fraticide if Zuko ever calls her "Lala" in public.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: Azula believes that Iroh was playing The Long Game to have revenge on Ozai. Since Iroh knew he couldn't beat Ozai, but he trained Zuko. He took Zuko from his father and from Azula and played the caring uncle. Iroh then had Aang take out Ozai while Zuko took the position as Fire Lord. And then Iroh broke him, just because he could. Because he's Ozai's son and Zuko outlived his usefulness. While Azula is wrong and Iroh geniunely loves Zuko, Zuko is so shaken that he doesn't know what to believe.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Azula may be ruthless but she's not wasteful. She considers Zuko's banishment a waste of his loyalty and Zuko notes she never kills unless absolutely necessary, as her conquest of Ba Sing Se was the most bloodless in the entire war.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Azula sees herself as the Responsible sibling having to look after Zuko, her naive and trusting Foolish Sibling. She is far from it.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Azula still has her Villainous Breakdown resulting from Mai and Ty Lee's betrayal, the key difference being that instead of covering an escape, they were instead caught trying to break Zuko out of prison.
  • Play-Along Prisoner: Azula stays in Amigara asylum that Iroh forced her in because she had no where to go and all her family and friends abandoned her for all she knew. Seeing Zuko attempting to break her out moved Azula to finally escape.
  • Sanity Slippage: Azula starts to actively hallucinate in the story's midpoint and perceives the world through her hallucinations.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: Azula begins to perceive people as animals with herself and her family as dragons as her hallucinations get stronger.

Ozai

  • Abusive Parents: He wouldn't be Ozai if he wasn't an abusive dick to his kids.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Ozai's fate of having his bending taken away is nothing sort of sacrilege in the eyes of the Fire Nation, who see firebending as a blessing from the Sun God Agni and a part of ones soul. In their eyes, Aang tore out Ozai's soul and called it mercy.
  • The Ghost: Ozai is never present but the weight of his actions and his imprisonment is felt by everyone.
  • Nominal Importance: Toph mentally comments on Aang's insistence on finding an pacifist way to take down Ozai being a result of this. She also notes the hypocrisy of him not seeming to care about all the foot soldiers the rest of the Gaang were killing during the battle, just Ozai, because he could put a name and history to his face. Toph herself feels knowing about Ozai only lessened his right to live.
  • You Can Keep Her: Sokka attempts to intimidate Zuko by bragging how they have imprisoned Ozai. Zuko is more concerned on how they are imprisoning Ozai to make sure he's stays imprisoned. Sokka's later attempt at ransoming Ozai also falls flat.

Iroh

  • Broken Pedestal:
    • Zuko unconditionally welcomes Iroh back into the Fire Nation with open arms, understands why Iroh doesn't trust him and lets Iroh go through the palace un-monitored. Iroh repays this by making backroom deals with the Fire Sages to gain their approval to make himself Zuko's regent or take the throne himself. Iroh destroys whatever trust Zuko had by challenging him to an Agni Kai and taking the throne.
    • After having Iroh as Aang's firebending teacher and knowing of his wisdom, the Gaang (except Toph) thought it would be a great idea to have Iroh as Fire Lord. Seeing the less-than-peaceful transition in power in seeing Zuko broken and the nation hating Iroh has the Gaang lose faith in him.
  • The Chessmaster: Iroh. He wasn't a highly decorated General for nothing. He quickly reintegrates himself with the Fire Sages and the military elite when Zuko welcomes him back. It backfires when he dethrones Zuko. His manipulations cause the palace and Zuko to lose utter faith in him. Which results in Zuko turning his back on him and a civil war. Made worse by many interpreting Iroh's actions as playing The Long Game to remove all potential threats to his power by turning his family against each other.
  • Cruel to Be Kind: Zuko continues to refuse to listen to Iroh due to Iroh never taking responsibility as a prince even when Zuko is having a literal heart attack. Which results in Iroh challenging Zuko to Agni Kai to oust Zuko as Fire Lord. While Iroh saves Zuko's life, having to re-live the worst memory of his life emotionally destroys Zuko. Zuko's relationship with Iroh is destroyed and ruins Iroh's credibility as Fire Lord.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: Iroh completely misses the subtext behind why the palace staff are so relaxed around Zuko but completely formal with him.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Iroh is still Zuko's wonderful kindhearted retired Uncle with a love of tea, but he is also still the Dragon of the West, an extremely skilled General and tactician, and grew up in Azulon's court, with all the views on how to rule that comes with such an upbringing.
  • Gone Horribly Right: The Gaang believed putting Iroh on the throne would be great. And then it happened.
  • Fatal Flaw: Iroh is used to being right all the time. While he has been morally and ethically correct, his lack of consideration to other people's consideration and lack of knowledge of the current situation leads him to making things worse.
  • Holier Than Thou: Iroh's Fatal Flaw is that he considers himself wiser and more moral than everyone else and believes that its in their better interests to do what he wants without considering other people's feelings. While originally Rightly Self-Righteous compared to Zuko, the new complicated political reality means he makes rather dangerous mistakes.
  • Honor Before Reason: There are rules about what you can and cannot do to the Fire Lord. So when Iroh is faced with his nephew having a literal heart attack in front of him and refusing treatment instead of just say holding him down and forcing Katara to heal him Iroh instead challenges Zuko to an Agni Kai so he has the political power to order him to rest. Which leaves him with a living nephew who now cannot trust him and an entire palace of people who resent him.
  • Machiavelli Was Wrong: Being a product of Azulon's court, Iroh believes that it is both necessary and respectful of servants to fear their Fire Lord. He is aghast that the servants' informality and open affection toward Zuko, seeing as a major disrespect toward a young ruler. The servants' fear of Iroh after his coup against Zuko is seen as a return to proper order. Which would have worked...hadn't the servants experienced hope and kindness during Zuko's short reign. Iroh being a return to form just moves them to hatred and outright rebellion.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:Congratulations Iroh, you finally got your nephew to rest. He now cannot trust you and you've gained the ire of the entire palace who view you as a pro-Avatar traitor, to say nothing of what the potential resulting rumors will do to your attempts to rule.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Due to his upbringing, Iroh averts this by treating servants as furniture or pawns and enforces strict adherence to social hierarchy and formality in spite of being a kind person otherwise.
  • Not Me This Time: Iroh's reputation as The Chessmaster works against him after he usurps Zuko. Azula believes it was a long-term revenge plan on Ozai and many people are starting to believe her. After Zuko's public denouncement of him, it sinks any chance of Iroh reigning in the angry populace.
  • Not So Different: As much as Iroh like to think himself otherwise, he can be as entitled as the rest of his family as seen with his lack of consideration towards the servants. The Agni Kai gives Iroh rather unflattering but striking parallels to Ozai.
  • Parental Betrayal: What makes the Agni Kai hurt so bad. Zuko loves Iroh for being the only person since his mother to love him unconditionally and even realized his own wrongs in his previous betrayal of Iroh in Ba Sing Se. Zuko welcomes back Iroh in open arms. And Iroh forces Zuko to relive the worst moment of his life.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Most pronounced with Iroh, who is frankly terrible at being open with what he's doing and why. Most noticeably, he doesn't properly explain beforehand why he challenged Zuko to an Agni Kai so the whole thing is seen as Iroh deliberately playing his family against each other so he can take the throne, rather than only doing so temporarily out of concern for Zuko's health. Even afterwards, Iroh merely apologizes without explaining he was worried Zuko would work himself to death.
  • Puppet King: Due to Iroh's rule as a Grandmaster of the White Lotus Society and being the Avatar's firebending teacher, Zuko and the Fire Nation fear that Iroh will be pushing the White Lotus' agenda instead of the good of the nation.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Iroh wins the Agni Kai and becomes Fire Lord in Zuko's place. Iroh loses his relationship with Zuko, the trust of the Gaang and the faith of the palace and the nation. Worst of all, he's stuck in the position he never wanted.
  • The Quisling: Zuko and the Fire Nation consider Iroh a traitor for pushing the political agenda of the White Lotus and the Avatar without consideration of the real damage it would inflict.
  • Reluctant Ruler: Iroh would have be happy to sit back and remain an elder advisor to his nephew if it were not for Zuko's refusal to take care of his precarious health.
  • Selective Obliviousness: After overthrowing Zuko as Fire Lord, Iroh mentions how things have returned to normal regarding the servants, not realizing things changed because the servants adored Zuko and think Iroh is just as much a tyrant as Ozai and Azulon.
  • The Usurper: In desperate attempt to save Zuko's life after the pressure from being Fire Lord stress Zuko's frail health to the point of a heart attack, Iroh challenges Zuko an Agni Kai for the throne. Due to Zuko's popularity for being the only kind Fire Lord within living memory and Zuko's effectiveness as a ruler, it ignites a civil war.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Everybody rips into Iroh. Everybody.
    • Fire Sage Fujio implictly rebuked Iroh for not pressing his claim against Ozai to begin with in spite of the shady way Azulon died.
    • Many of the servants vocally chastised Iroh for not doing anything to help his nephew.
    • Azula and Zuko each call out Iroh for dethroning Zuko.
    • Zuko rips into Iroh for actively committing treason while traveling with Zuko, something that'd have gotten everyone on the ship executed, and for keeping secrets that left Zuko feeling hopeless and trapped when Iroh knew of another path he could have taken.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?:
    • The servants and guards are horrified when Iroh commands them to act as bait for Azula. The servants drag their feet on helping him while the several guards died in the crossfire in the ensuing fight.
    • Zuko pointedly asks how many guards were killed when Iroh tried to force Azula into an asylum. When Iroh tells him how his son's death made him finally realize how the war hurt the world and the Fire Nation. Zuko wonders why Iroh wasn't moved by the deaths of the many soldiers under his command.
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     Caldera Palace Staff and Nobility 

Caldera Palace Staff and Nobility as a Whole

  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
    • All Zuko's servants and counselors wanted was for Zuko to stop overworking himself. Which happens when Iroh takes the throne from Zuko by force.
    • Fire Sage Fujio understandably wanted an adult in charge of the Fire Nation and for the nation's only hope to not work himself to death before reaching adulthood. He makes clear to Iroh that the Fire Sages support him whether he becomes Zuko's regent or take the throne himself. Which results in Zuko abdicating the throne and unintentionally triggering a civil war much to his horror.
  • Bothering by the Book: Under Zuko, all of his servants rush to help him with everything regardless of his attempts to do things for himself. Under Firelord Iroh, the servants don't help Iroh until they're forced to, such as not opening doors until he's already waiting in front of them.
  • Bystander Syndrome: Zuko makes note of how no one in the Fire Nation who had the political sway to resist seems to have made any actual effort to protest the war despite the real harm it was doing to the nation.
  • The Dog Bites Back: When the servants realize that Iroh intends to use them as bait to sedate the homicidal Azula, they let Lady Huian deliver the food. Who immediately warns Azula of Iroh's plans which allows Azula to fight back.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: After Iroh defeats Zuko in the very one-sided Agni Kai, all the servants who called out Iroh leave "to visit their sick relatives" in fear of Iroh executing them.

Captain Izumi

  • Accomplice by Inaction: Captain Izumi realizes Zuko was right to not trust her to be loyal after she does nothing to stop the Agni Kai.
  • Brutal Honesty: The recipient of it. Zuko tells Captain Izumi that he doesn't trust her to be loyal to him. Izumi is offended but later realizes that he was right.
  • Bystander Syndrome: While offended at Zuko's blunt analysis of her, Captain Izumi doesn't do anything to stop the Agni Kai or help Zuko until it's too late. She's horrified with herself.
  • Go Through Me: Captain Izumi throws herself in front of an unconscious Azula to protect her from Aang in fear that Aang would take her bending. Aang is horrified that someone sees him as a monster for trying what Aang believed was a nonviolent solution.
  • Grew a Spine: After the devastating Agni Kai, Izumi tries to take a stand to protect the royal family. Keyword being try.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Izumi is horrified that she proved Zuko's low expectations of her right and didn't lift a finger to help the promising young ruler when Zuko needed someone.

Lady Huian

  • Cowardly Lion: She is terrified of Azula and Iroh as the rest of the servants are. In spite of that, she risks everything to warn Azula to protect her from Iroh.
  • Spanner in the Works: Iroh's plan to subdue Azula to get her into a mental hospital would have gone off without a hitch, had Lady Huian not warned her ahead of time.
  • What You Are in the Dark: When everyone is terrified of Iroh and quickly submitting to Iroh's rule, Lady Huian risks her life to undermine him. Despite Azula's infamy of her disregard of servants, Lady Huian risks everything to warn Azula that Zuko was overthrown and Iroh was planning to forcibly institutionalize her. Even Azula was impressed by her bravery, calling her a "lion-ferret."

Fire Sage Fujio

  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • He rips into Iroh for not pressing his claim against Ozai, but he's right that everyone would have spared a lot of pain if he did.
    • Fujio directly undermines Zuko's rule by making a backroom deal with Iroh to force Zuko to take a regent or overthrown. But he does so because Zuko is working himself to death trying to hold the nation and is legally too young to actually be in power.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: All he wanted was for an actual adult to take care of a very politically voltile situation and for a child to stop being worked to death. How would he know it would trigger a civil war?

     The Gaang 

The Gaang as a Whole

  • Culture Clash: None of the Gaang, Sokka in particular, understand how horrific the idea of having their bending removed is to firebenders. They consider firebending a gift from the sun god and part of their soul, making its removal a Fate Worse than Death while the Gaang sees it as a way to make sure Ozai won't be a threat again.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: Iroh told the Gaang about Zuko's traumatic Agni Kai in an attempt to humanize a despised enemy. Sokka belatedly realizes after Zuko gives an Armor-Piercing Response that it didn't actually work as they still couldn't empathize with him.
  • Innocently Insensitive: The Gaang have no idea about the horrors Zuko has gone through since the eclipse, making a number of their actions come across as exceedingly cruel.
    • Being blind, Toph is one of the only people able to forget that Ozai burnt half of Zuko's face off, and takes a few minutes to understand why Zuko's heart rate spiked when she made a crack about spicy food burning her face off. She does realize her mistake and tells him he can make as many blind jokes about her as he wants in return for any burn ones she makes.
    • Aang is very confused as to why his choice of sparing Ozai by taking his bending instead utterly horrifies Zuko and his court.
    • Katara has a habit of popping her waterskin's cork when nervous, and thinks no one can hear it when she does so under the table. Zuko has an immediate flight response towards the sound and excellent hearing. Toph eventually has to point out Katara's been giving him mild heart attacks since they arrived.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: The Gaang constantly shoot down Zuko's various proposal and attempted concessions without letting either side explains themselves. Now the Earth Kingdom is not getting any relief, the war prisoners still aren't free and they undermined any chance of Iroh ruling peacefully.
  • Poor Communication Kills: The Gaang constantly shoot down Zuko's proposals but almost never tell him why, such as Katara and Sokka being outraged that he's keeping enemy leaders as political prisoners but not telling him their father is one such prisoner. Or Sokka arguing against the Fire Nation "owning" the waters around their territories because it's not a concept he understands.

Aang

  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Aang was already a boogeyman to the Fire Nation. Taking away Ozai's bending and helping depose the popular Zuko in favor of Iroh doesn't help improve his image.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: In-Universe regarding Aang being able to take away people's bending. Many of the palace servants and later the entire country have no idea how Aang's energybending works and unsure whether Aang needs to touch people to take away bending. Due to the Fire Nation's spiritual importance on firebending, they see it as Aang ripping out part of people's souls regardless. With public knowledge that the Avatar supported Iroh's usurpation of the popular Fire Lord Zuko, Aang's terrifying regardless. What little they know of the Avatar further demonizes him.
  • Persona Non Grata: Zuko attempts to ban Aang from the Fire Nation until Aang understands the magnitude of taking away Ozai's bending actually means to firebenders.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Both Toph and Zuko are frustrated with Aang's refusal to kill Ozai when Aang had inadvertently killed many Mooks in battle and drowned thousands of soldiers in the Siege of the North.

Katara

  • Psychological Projection: Katara deeply loves her father and wants his safe return. Thus she is repulsed that Zuko doesn't want his father back and would let the Earth Kingdom continue imprison Ozai to prevent a power struggle. Katara uses this to justify her already negative view of him. She later takes Zuko's refusal to release enemy leaders (which her father is one) as a personal slight rather than the national security concern it actually is.
  • Reflexive Response: Katara pops the cork on her waterskin when she's nervous which does not help negotiations.
  • Refuse to Rescue the Disliked: When Zuko has a heart-attack in the middle of the reparations, Katara initially tries to refuse to help him. Toph attempts to non-verbally call Katara out by socking her in the arm, Katara freezes her own feet to the ground. Had not Iroh made her, Katara would have been content to watch Zuko die.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Toph calls out Katara for both giving Zuko minor heart attacks by figeting with her waterskin and for refusing to heal him while he's having a major heart attack.

Sokka

  • Accidental Misnaming: Zuko has no idea what Sokka's actual name is and is too embarrassed to ask since they've been fighting against each other for a while now. After listening in on Toph and Sokka's conversation, Zuko ends up calling Sokka "Ambassador Snoozles" when trying to address him.
  • Culture Clash: A recurring theme with him as he's also a Naïve Newcomer as the the original Gaang are, but of the Power Trio he's the only one willing to admit that he doesn't know things as opposed to assuming like Aang and Katara.
    • One of the more minor examples is that Zuko and his council are furious at the idea of someone invading their territorial waters while Sokka doesn't understand how someone could rule an ocean or why they'd want to but understands the idea of different tribes having their own fishing grounds.
    • None of the Gaang, Sokka in particular, understand how horrific the idea of having their bending removed is to firebenders. Being a nonbender, Sokka is smug that someone as fearsome as Ozai being Brought Down to Normal and is rather offended that firebenders would rather be dead than live as a nonbender.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Having Toph call him Snoozles was bad enough for Sokka. But Zuko calls him "Ambassador Snoozles" because he didn't know Sokka's name was humiliating.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Despite Sokka's jovial personality, Sokka averts this when he gets the servants' bad side in his frequent badmouthing of Zuko and casual disregard towards them. Despite their enmity, the servants are forced to be nice to him when Iroh comes into power.

Toph Bei Fong

  • Accomplice by Inaction: During the botched Crown Prince coronation, Toph was the only person who realized where Zuko actually meant and where he was actually going. She deliberately decided to stay out of it and made sure Sokka didn't realize it until Zuko made his escape.
  • Jerkass Realization: Toph has a moment when she learns just how bad Zuko's burn scar is and remembers that she made a joke about burning her face off.
  • Living Lie Detector: Toph. Especially notable here because her bending allows her to get a much more accurate view of Zuko's psyche, which makes her super protective in her own way.
  • Only Sane Man: Toph is the only one to understand how stressed and psychologically damaged Zuko is, along with being the only member of the Gaang to not shoot down all his proposals without explanation.

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