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     "It's complicated." 
  • This troper couldn't find this question or answer before, but about Zuko's date in "Tales of Ba Sing Se", what exactly did Zuko mean with "It's complicated" shortly before bailing on Jin? Did he not want to be with her because he was an elitist, thinking that he was a tier above the people of the Earth Kingdom and thus he viewed Jin as a lowly dirt peasant? Did he still have feelings for Mai, and thus that was keeping him from wanting to be with her? What's the deal?
    • He's the fugitive prince of the nation that's currently trying to take over the city, which kinda sorta complicated the last time he tried making friends with Earth Kingdom people. Everything about Zuko's situation makes dating complicated.
    • I always assumed he was using "it's complicated" the same way people do in real life when they want to deflect someone's feelings without hurting them. Zuko clearly likes Jin (romantically or otherwise) but at the same time he's made it abundantly clear that he does not want to settle down and be happy in Ba Sing Se. For Zuko, happiness is his father's acceptance of him, returning to the Fire Nation, and regaining his honor and his birthrite. Not spending his days as assistant tea server. So here comes a nice, pretty girl who likes him and provides him with a chance of happiness that doesn't fit in his framework, and Zuko does what he always does when confronted with someone treating him unexpectedly: he pushes them away. I think, to some level, Zuko did have fun on the date. Remember when Jin kisses him, he pauses for a moment and then kisses her back for a second time. When confronted, he doesn't pull back or lash out, he reciprocates because in the moment he does want to kiss her. He's a teenage boy with hormones and she's a pretty girl who likes him (probably the first one to ever be since his exile) so it's a natural response to want to kiss someone you're interested in. It's only when his brain starts working again that he leaves, because settling down in a tea shop with a nice, normal Earth Nation girl is, on an intellectual level, not what he wants in life. As much as he may like the date (and he admits as much) he can't allow himself longterm happiness outside of the parameters that have been set for him by his family. If this same scene had been recreated with Season 3 Zuko, then it could have gone much differently and maybe he could have settled down in Ba Sing Se and kept seeing Jin, but this is Zuko when his brain and his heart were telling him conflicting messages about his path in life. So yeah. It is complicated.
     Azula's whereabouts after "The Drill" 
  • Where does Azula go after the fight in "The Drill"? I looked on the wiki and all it said was that she was defeated and then next, is says she tracked down Appa, then went back disguised as the Kyoshi warriors. How did this work out? How did they just walk out of there? They were in the middle of the desert, with the only civilization for miles being the city they just attacked and lost to, with their main weapon destroyed. Furthermore, how did all that happen so quickly. They showed back up disguised by the end of the fitfth episode after that, and before that they attacked Appa before Lake Laogai.
    • Presumably, they go back to wherever the drill was built. (They had to have built it in the Earth Kingdom; no way that's fitting on a ship). They see Appa flying and track him. They find Suki and the Kyoshi warriors. Then They go back to Ba Sing Se. Seeing as Appa flew for days and back in Appa's Lost Days, that gives Azula enough time to get back to Ba Sing Se.
     Flip-flopping motives 
  • Beginning of season 2 Azula was planning on locking up both Iroh and Zuko by tricking them on to the fire nation boat (until a crew member gave her plan away). All of a sudden towards the end she apparently see's value in Zuko joining her? After he leaves to join the Avatar she goes into "kill you" mode at the air temple. My question is, what happened after the beginning of season 2 that made her consider recruiting him?
    • She just felt like manipulating him some more. Or she wanted to throw him a bone because in some sick, twisted way, she still cares about him. Or maybe she just wanted an idiot to take the fall in case something out of her control went wrong.
    • She didn't have a plan for eventually taking Ba Sing Se when she first went after Zuko in "The Avatar State" — she decided to do that on the spur of the moment when she saw how easy it would be. Once she started making that plan, she decided Zuko would be more useful to it on her side than dead or imprisoned. Given the results, you can't deny her calculations in that case were right.
    • Three different timeframes, three different plans; all of which change. First plan was to get Iroh and Zuko back home as prisoners. Once Zuko helped her defeat the Avatar and Katara, Azula saw fit to bring Zuko back home as a hero to also get her brother back. She does love him in her own way, but as "The Beach" shows us about Azula, she can't express care and concern unless she's got something else up her sleeve as a backup.
  • It's been asked why Zuko trusted Azula at the end of Season 2. The bigger question is why AZULA actually turned out to be trustworthy on that point. Why NOT just throw a lightning bolt into his back and get rid of her annoying little brother once and for all? Or put him in chains and drag him back for their father's judgement? Bringing him back with her is very.... not Azula. And then she goes and inflates his reputation to their father. This isn't just unexplained kindness, it actively hurts her! Zuko almost certainly has a better claim than she does to the throne if they're both legitimate royals, and I'm pretty sure he WAS the heir apparent before his banishment. Bringing him back invites him to actually reclaim that position, one which we know Azula covets. Does she actually have a soft spot for him? This is Azula - all her spots are rock-hard crazy. I don't get it.
    • First of all, Zuko is the older one. Second, Zuko is still family. Third, as far as Azula could tell, Zuko has continued tracking the Avatar (He fought her for the right to get to him, remember?) and attempting to restore his honor, indicating that he is, indeed, still loyal to Ozai and the Fire Nation. No reason to kill him at all, really.
    • Also remember that Azula suspected that the Avatar was still alive. So saying that Zuko "killed" him would put the potential blame squarely on him; he had one job and he screwed it up. I suspect she wouldn't have been too adverse to coming up with some scheme to shame or even kill him if he ended up becoming the heir again.
    • There's quite a lot of options, befitting Azula. She knew that Zuko still longed for the ability to go home so she was able to coax him on that end. He wasn't just shot in the back for three reasons: 1: She inflated his rep because she thinks the Avatar's alive and thus had someone to shove the blame off to if he's alive. 2: She might not want to have risked her father's wrath on a presumption 3: Despite the Cain and Abel relationship they have going on, Azula's not going to kill her brother. Azula DID miscalculate to a degree regarding the throne. He was never going to put Zuko on the Throne and probably wouldn't put Azula on it either even if he died. It's not to say that Azula doesn't have a soft spot for her brother; but on this note, she's playing purely politically.
      • Iroh staying behind to get caught for the sake of ensuring Aang's escape by way of Katara was probably her big tip-off. Not much earlier Azula got a practical lesson in not underestimating her "fuddy-duddy" Uncle. He's not going to sack himself just so Katara can recover her friend's corpse, therefore Aang may yet survive in which case Zuko may well be looking at a short drop and a sudden stop. Otherwise, just torment him into screwing up, running away or suicide before Daddy croaks and problem solved. Lastly, from Azula's perspective "Zuzu" is much more fun alive and vulnerable than dead and free of her.
     Knowledge of Zuko's history 
  • How did the old man in The Chase know about Zuko? I would have thought something like that would have been kept pretty tightly locked up.
    • I hope you mean one episode before, Zuko Alone, because the only old man in The Chase was Iroh. As for how the old man knew, I guess it's like how everyone else knows if something happens to the Prince of England or something like that; news travels.
      • Yeah, I did mean Zuko Alone. My bad, I'd just watched The Chase and it was still in my mind.
      • It's been a while since I watched the episode, but I seem to remember there being a huge crowd at the Agni Kai where Zuko's face was burned. It didn't seem to be a secret at all.
      • But in The Storm, Iroh sits down with the ship's crew and has to tell them the story of Zuko's Agni Kai. They were under the impression that his face got burned during a training exercise.
      • Perhaps the "training excercise accident" was the official press release? And why would they question that? The crowd that was there during the Agni Kai was probably mostly upper class nobles and military higher ups. The Royal Family might've ordered those who were there to keep the truth to themselves and it's unlikely that they'd be interacting much with the lower class, anyway, let alone say that the Fire Lord's a liar.
      • Which brings us back to the original question, how did the old man know?
      • You forget that as of "Zuko Alone", he was no longer an outcast but actually declared traitor. I assume the official press story changed along with his status.
      • And the old man didn't realize who he was until Zuko practically spelled it out for the village.
      • I don't get why nobody else in the earth kingdom recognized him before. I know this goes under Paper Thin Disguise and they do it alot in the show, but the only thing Iroh and Zuko do to protect they're identities as wanted men is cut the little top not off their hair. And Nobody puts the really obvious scar on the teenage boy together with the old man? Sometimes I wonder what people are really the blind ones in this show.
      • As shown in the episode where Zuko fights and Agni Kai with Zhao, getting blasted in the face was the standard result of losing an Agni Kai (or at least one that was the result of disrespecting another). I think it's perfectly plausible that fire nation soldiers would have disfigured enemies' faces using the same practice. This would make the scar, while rare, not impossible to find in the earth nation. Especially among wanderers, who would very feasibly be AWOL soldiers or escaped prisoners.
      • Even in the episode, the girl Zuko talks to shows him her own burn scars. When a nation whose primary weapon is fire is invading more or less the whole world, children with burn scars are going to be horrifically common.
      • The Ember Island Players' stageplay writer did a lot of research, and managed to get Zuko's scar on the wrong side.
      • I always thought the cutting off of the hair wasn't a disguise, it was a mark of disgrace that solidified their status as traitors. I don't know about Chinese/Japanese culture, but in India at least, hair was a symbol of status, and it was a punishment akin to the "scarlet letter" to have it shaven off, even partially. And I know Bryke borrows from all over Asia.
      • In Chinese culture, hair is sacrosanct, as it is a symbolic tie with one's parents. Cutting your hair is an insult to your parents because your body is their gift to you. It is permissible only in the context of rituals wherein one severs one's ties with worldly matters (as with monks and nuns). At least for Zuko, cutting his hair would be symbolic of him trying to cut his link with his father. Though of course it doesn't immediately take.
      • Solidified their status as traitors... and Zuko's status as bishounen with the nice bishounen hair.
      • Remember also that the Fire Nation is a Nazi-esque propaganda state. The Fire Nation citizens/soldiers would've been told it was a training accident and they would've accepted it without question, while the rest of the world knew the true story.
    • Iroh told the ship's crew. They could've talked about it in a bar or something after that, and the news could've spread that way.
     Secret war 
  • How did the Dai Li keep the war secret for so long? This troper could understand if they only kept it secret from a small middle class and the king, but it seems to be suggested that it's kept secret from the entire city. Considering the needs to raise an army, the logistics needed to support it, the fact that Iroh nearly broke through and the sheer number of refugees flooding in this turns into an issue.
    • They didn't keep the war secret to anyone except the king, who was sequestered away. What they did was constantly claim that they were safe and that the Fire Nation couldn't get to them in Bah Sing Se. People who said otherwise were re-educated.
      • Exactly. Most of the people the kids talked to in Ba Sing Se weren't confused by questions about the war, they were frightened by Joo Di's presence because they knew she was reporting to the Dai Li.
     Light punishment 
  • Other than Avatar being a kids' show, what's with the very light punishment Mai and Ty Lee got for attacking Azula? They committed treason and attacked royalty. Even with a normal monarch, such a thing would result in swift, messy, and most likely painful death. A monarch as cruel as Azula would probably have tortured them to death while laughing. Instead they get put away in a prison where the worst work is cleaning and the rooms resemble a rather bad motel. One that they could probably escape from effortlessly (Ty Lee proved she can run along the lines of the cable car). One where they could easily beat up the guards (remember what happened to the "elite" earthbenders that attacked them in The Drill).
    • It could be that Azula cared for them more than she let on, and couldn't bring herself to kill them.
      • I think this is the most realistic. Remember, their betrayal meant so much to her that it started her on her mental collapse. These two girls obviously meant a lot, even if that was just the fact that they were the only friends she allowed around her from a young age, and she had considered them completely trustworthy. There's a good chance that she had unconsciously formed an emotional bond with them that would not allow her to kill them.
    • Or rather, she wanted to kill them herself, so she'd go down the prison when she was feeling up to it and pump them full of lightning. Or burn them alive. Or both.
    • Also, Ty Lee was NOT kept at the Boiling Rock. If she was, how could she have "bonded" with the Kyoshi Warriors, who were previously stated to be elsewhere? Presumably, she was brought to a less overall secure prison, but one without what is essentially a neon-lit escape route for someone of her ability.
    • Azula's cruelty aside, a monarch cannot simply finish off a high ranking noble just for raising a hand against a member of royal family. If Ty Lee and Mai tried to kill Azula, they'd probably suffer death penalty or exile, but all they did was getting into a fight with Azula, which they lost anyway. Locking them up is actually a very realistic penalty, when you look at most historical examples of trials.
      • There is definitely something to this: once Ty Lee incapacitated Azula, neither she nor Mai did her any further harm. That said, making an arse of the heir apparent like that is still lese-majeste.
    • I second the third paragraph's poster on this one. When you remember The Beach, you remember that Azula really can't socialize like a normal person and has always been awkward. She only knows how to use fear and manipulation for any form of social conversation; so as far as she really knew, they were legitimate friends to her; but that didn't get reciprocated because obliviously to her, they actually grew to despise her.
     Fate of Guru Pathik 
  • What happened to the guru during Season Three? Why'd he disappear and nobody ever mentioned him again? Why didn't Aang go back to see him, he probably could have helped after, ya know. And why doesn't he have a section in the character sheet? The freakin' Foamy Mouth Guy does!
    • And which of the four nations is he supposed to be from, anyway? The India-Analogue nation?
    • LOL India-Analouge nation. No one likes the guru. Foamy Mouth Guy, on the other hand, is Epic Win and a Zutara.
      • Ahem. You may not like him but the Guru is an awesome character and Cool Old Guy for others. There are good and/or interesting arguments to be made for him being either Earth, Fire or Water, not that he cared either way, but as a non-bender he wasn't Air. Agreed with the post below, they made a perfectly good character and did very little with him. Of course, this isn't a black mark against anybody IMO, for obvious reasons.
    • To answer your question with a question. What's a non-bending 90-something guru going to do against the military might of the fire nation? Better yet, what's a non-bending 90 something-guru somewhere on a deserted air temple going to do against the likes of Azula?
     Stupid guards 
  • In "Imprisoned" why didn't the arresting officers realize that they were being set up? Katatra and Sokka don't look anything like the villagers (wrong hair, clothes, etc.) and their argument was an exercise in Stylistic Suck.
    • So? She made a motion, and the rock moved. That's all that really matters, right? Also, they assumed that she was wearing the "wrong" clothes as an attempt at disguise.
    • Or maybe the gaurds were idiots who at first thought Momo was the one doing the 'earthbending'.
     Mai and Ty Lee vs. prison guards 
  • So Mai and Ty Lee are repeatedly shown to be perfectly capable of handling people who can bend by themselves, yet they can't take out a few prison guards at Boiling Rock? This is also made even weirder by the fact that these are Firebenders we're talking about, who don't have strength in numbers. Or does anyone think they willingly gave themselves up? Either way bugs me...
    • Maybe it was becasue they realized they had no way off of the island? Yes- Ty Lee can run across the wire, but we don't know/never see if Mai has that same skill. That is interesting, though...
    • And Then What?? Mai was fully aware of Azula's Unstoppable Rage after the betrayal - she only "escaped" Azula because of Ty Lee's help. Which came as such a surprise that even Ty Lee herself didn't expect it. So of course neither of them was prepared for an escape: Ty Lee didn't think she would have to and Mai didn't think she would be able to. As for taking out the guards during the imprisonment: We can presume that Azula made really sure that the two would "rot".
      • Hmm good points. Actually the more I think about it, Mai possibly stood up to Azula as a diversion so that Zuko and Sokka could escape without having Azula go after them. It would have probably bugged me if Ty Lee was planning on betraying Azula and they happened to let themselves be captured.

     Never using June again 
  • Why did Zuko stop using June and her scent tracking pet after one episode? They found the Avatar for him without too much trouble, so why abandon a proven effective plan? Did he run out of money to pay her or something?
    • Simplest answer is the best one. In this case? Cold Hard Cash. She's a bounty hunter. They had no money in season 2 and had the avatar in season 3 (to their knowledge) dead and gone. Why pay a huntress when you don't need her or can't afford her?
    • A number of reasons. The first being that the pet in question ran away after being subjected to all of those perfumes; there's a strong chance it's superior sense of smell was damaged for good, and therefore would be useless. Another is that June could have refused to work with Zuko again due to Iroh's 'interest' in her, or because of the trouble they had landed her in. She saw how powerful Aang was, it's not likely she would be all that willing to chase him again. And the last thing? Aang stole back Katara's necklace, so they have nothing to track him with now.
      • They don't need Katara's necklace anymore, Nyla (the pet) already knows her scent. And Nyla's sense of smell wasn't damaged, it and June return in book 3 and it's sense of smell is actually vastly improved. June also doesn't seem like the type to back out of a job because she doesn't want trouble or because her target is strong, but I suppose I could be wrong about that. You might be onto something with Iroh's interest in her though, she did seem disgusted by that.
      • It's entirely possible that, as was suggested above, June just didn't want to tangle with the Avatar again. After all, when Zuko first asked her to find Aang in the finale, she isn't interested and only agrees after Zuko brings up the possibility of The End of the World.
      • All of the above are true but she is primarily a mercenary, as such after being beaten like that she probably would have upped her rate quite substantially, possibly making it not worth the money that she would have asked.
  • Does anyone else think the Dai Li turning on Long Feng for the sake of Azula made no sense? He was a fellow earthbender and their leader for years. Under him, their absolute control of Ba Sing Se would continue for certain, and in fact would reach new heights with the Dai Li in direct control and no need for a figurehead king. Moreover, while some of them might feel uncomfortable betraying the currently sitting king, a coup that replaces one Earth Kingdom ruler with another is still a far cry from a coup that sells the entire city out to their sworn enemies of over a century, who might very well choose to reward them as a traitor deserves. Even if that didn't happen, it would still likely be the Fire Nation in control in reality, with the Dai Li as nothing more than puppets. It just makes absolutely no sense to back Azula over Long Feng...unless we're genuinely to accept the premise that the entirety of the Dai Li thought they would lose to three teenage girls.
    • Judging by their comments during and after planning the coup with Azula, they seemed to be inspired by her leadership and intelligence. Their betrayal of Long Feng was probably motivated more by admiration of her fierce cunning and commanding aura than by logic.
      • I believe they did it because they had already decided that Ba Sing Se was a lost cause. Just days prior, the Fire Nation had nearly broken through the city's will with a giant drill. Recall how pathetic the earthbenders retaliatory attacks were. Clearly, decades of pretending there was no war had greatly reduced the effectiveness of their army, so they relied on that wall entirely for their defense. If it hadn't been for the timely intervention of the Avatar himself, the Fire Nation would have breeched the wall and conquered the city. Realization of this fact, combined with the knowledge that Long Feng wasn't interested in fighting the Fire Nation (the whole pretending there was no war thing, and he refused to listen to Aang's intelligence on the solar eclipse), and they have ample motivation to abandon their seemingly doomed kingdom for a more powerful position with their eventual conquerors.
      • That, or they might just be that power hungry, and decided that the risk of being rewarded as traitors was worth the chance to move up from serving the man behind a King to serving the future Empress of the World.
    • I was bothered by this too. Azula's so-called "inspirational" speeches were nothing more than an Informed Ability; characters say they're inspirational, but they never sound inspirational.
      • What doesn't inspire you won't mean it won't inspire someone else. World's bigger than you. Someone doesn't have the right words for you but to another it could mean the change of something drastic.
    • Near as I can remember, the Dai Li didn't just turn on Long Feng at the drop of a hat. They were unsure who to support until Long Feng surrendered.
      • Azula outright says that the Dai Li are waiting to see who will prove more effective: Long Feng or Azula. And considering Azula is the one with the massive army and is apparently a lot more competent/effective/ruthless/ohgodshe'sgoingtomeltmyfaceoff-scary than Long Feng, guess who wins.
      • I really don't see a problem here. The Dai Li would follow the one who has more power. If Long Feng didn't bow down to Azula, she would have pumped him full of lightning and claimed leadership anyway. They all knew that it would go down like that, so Long Feng quit while he still had a head.
      • Azula was BSing during that whole scene, if you think about it. The Dai Li were afraid of her, and for good reason. Would you want to try and handcuff the girl who can shoot lightning at you? Didn't think so. Azula just spun the whole "They don't know who to support" tale as a way of saying "Well, Long Feng, It looks like we're going to have to fight for control. Do you think you can win?" Long Feng, and everyone in the room, knew he couldn't take Azula and even dream of to coming out of that fight in one piece. So he quit.
      • How did Long Feng know he coudn't take Azula? He was an earthbending master-surely he had a fighting chance against her.
      • Earthbending "master"? I don't know about that. Long Feng was much more of a schemer than a fighter. His real strength was in his control of the Dai Li, not in his combat ability.
      • He was able to capture Appa (by overturning a huge slab of stone) and to kill Jet, so I'd say his combat abilities are pretty significant. At the very least (considering how much was at stake), he should have tried to put a fight.
      • "Significant" doesn't mean he's a "master." And he didn't fight Appa—he caught Appa by surprise. Note how once Appa knows he's an enemy and it's more or less even playing field, the "fight" is over in one move, with Appa hurling him across a lake. As for what was at stake? His life. Specifically, if he fought and lost, he was dead. Surrender, and he lives to scheme another day.
      • I'm going with the "Avatar Wiki" website, which states that Long Fen was an earthbending master. But you're right, he probably didn't want to risk his life in a fight.
      • There's a fanfiction that postulates Long Feng enabled Azula to take the city peacefully so that the Fire Nation wouldn't obliterate Ba Sing Se and everyone in it on the day of Sozin's Comet.
      • Mandate of Heaven. It's not such a big thing in western cultures, but in Asian cultures like China and Japan, which the Earth Kingdom is based on, it's required to rule. It's probably why they never just straight out overthrew the Earth King and put Long Feng in his place. Azula is born royalty, and she's significantly more intelligent than the Earth King, and thus harder to control. The Dai Li are not going to arrest any royal somebody, even if she's from a foreign, hostile nation and is perfectly capable of ruling.
      • What. That's not what the Chinese Mandate of Heaven is at all. The Mandate of Heaven philosophy states that the righteous ruler ought rule with the blessing of the Heavens, and an unrighteous ruler should be disposed - the Mandate of Heaven then passes to the rightful ruler that takes his place, blood lineage or no. What you're talking about is more like the Divine Right to Rule philosophy of the Western world, where kings derive authority from God/gods (which the Japanese ideology is closer to, with the Emperor thought of as the descendant of the god Amaterasu - this is not really the Mandate of Heaven, though, which almost always refers to the Confucian-derived Chinese philosophy). It does fully support the notion of supporting the strongest fellow around and rebelling against the current ruler if another appears poised to overtake him, though, which means that yes, the Dai Li may have followed Azula due to the Mandate of Heaven - just not how the above troper implied. Since the Mandate of Heaven goes to the victor, and it generally argues for the removal of incompetent rulers, if they believed Long Feng/the Earth King failed as a ruler (the former because he's weaker than Azula, the latter because he's already dominated by Long Feng), they would believe the Mandate of Heaven already belonged with her. This sort of belief was used by many a Chinese "rebel" army during attempted overthrows.
      • You know, what that editor is describing sounds more like the European concept of Divine Right, invested in the aristocracy by virtue of them being born to aristocratic families. Now on THAT logic, it still falls down flat but less so.
      • As a (major!) example to prove the way the Mandate of Heaven works, during the Three Kingdoms era (of Romance of the Three Kingdoms fame), the Mandate of Heaven was seen as an imperial seal that a whole bunch of non-relatives (Yuan Shao, Sun Jian, etc) of the current monarch (the Liu family, descended from Liu Bang) fought for to win the right to declare themselves legitimate ruler of China. After Wei trumped Shu Han and Wu, Wei-Jin claimed the Mandate of Heaven even though Cao Cao (adoptive son of a eunuch) and eventually, Sima Yi (administrator under Cao Cao and descendant of a line of administrators), had not a drop of royal blood from the Han dynasty in them. Because the Mandate of Heaven goes to the ruler, and might makes right is a side effect of its philosophy. In effect, the Mandate of Heaven asserts that the current ruler is the righteous one, and doesn't give a whit about lineage or how he/she got there.
    • Main reason is that Dai Li are hopelessly corrupt and IMHO are moved only by personal interest (reason they didn't turn on Long Feng as soon as he was arrested was because they were at risk of losing the power in the city if they followed Earth King). As for why Long Feng surrendered. He is very cautious bordering on Dirty Coward and opposes people only if he is convinced that he is absolutely sure to win. Nice example is that he didn't directly oppose The Gaang untill he had Appa and/or 10+ Dai Li backing him.
    • The Dai Li were loyal to Long Feng at first. Then Azula was able to manipulate and persuade them her way. Then the Dai Li found themselves wondering who to serve come time of Long Feng's double cross. When Azula revealed that Azula can best him in political power plays and direct combat; the Dai Li defected to her out of a self-serving interest in maintaining power. That's really all there is to this.
    • Additionally, Long Feng's power rests in oart on his keeping the earth King unaware of the war, thanks to Ba Sing Se's walls keeping the war out. And as we see in "The Drill," a lot of the officials in the city — even those in the know about the war — seem quite complacent about the city's ability to survive the war thanks to its wall. After all, they already survived a massive siege by the Fire Nation under then-General Iroh. Azula and her allies infiltrating is a huge blow to that confidence, and the Avatar and his crew have already pierced the veil around the Earth King. I short, Long Feng already looks less powerful, and even if Azula were taken care of, the Dai Li see that the Fire Nation can find ways in to the city after all. At that point, betting on complicity with the Fire Nation is their best bet, and choosing the Fire Nation's princess over Long Feng in a head-to-head is the only way to forge that alliance. After all, if Long Feng does turn on Azula, he's turning on the Firelord's daughter, something that won't allow for any sort of stable or lasting alliance.
     The stupidity of the Earth General's plan 
  • In season 2, episode 1, the Earth Kingdom general insists that Aang immediately attack the Fire Lord, on the logic that they don't have any time to waste. Why does no one point out that if Aang gets killed because he's forced into battle before he knows what he's doing, they then have to wait at least eleven or twelve years (and ideally more like sixteen or seventeen) for the next incarnation of the Avatar to mature? Not to mention that if Aang dies now, there will be no one in the world who can teach the next Avatar air bending. And that's assuming that they can even find the kid, when the Fire Nation seems to have much better access to the Water Tribes than the Earth Kingdom does, and the Fire Lord would know for a fact that the Avatar was dead and therefore reborn into the next element in the cycle! Pushing Aang into battle less than half trained sounds like a good way to ensure that the next Avatar lives his or her entire life in a tiny cell in the Fire Nation.
    • You're forgetting the important part. Fong's plan all hinges on Aang being in the Avatar State. Y'know, that thing he does where he glows and starts pwning everything in a 2-mile radius? Let's see Ozai fight a friggin' force of nature. Oh, wait, we did. And he got owned.
    • In support of the first comment, The Avatar state has a huge disadvantage. If Aang dies in the avatar state, he is not the only one who dies, the AVATAR dies. Just because Aang was able to defeat the fire lord after a large amount of training and actually understanding the Avatar state, doesn't mean he'd be able to do it at that time in the second season. He'd be in the uncontrollable Avatar state and wouldn't even know about the Avatar state's weakness assuming Fong's plan went along the way it did and Roku never appeared to Aang. Azula took out Aang while he was distracted so the risk would be too high. On the other hand, because they didn't know of Aang's weakness at the time, it's justifiable that Fong would create such a plan.
      • They also seemed to be almost completely unaware of the lightning problem at the time and considering the power Aang showed while in the Avatar State they could be forgiven for thinking that it would be unstoppable.
      • And yet they were wrong. An uncontrolled Avatar State against a disciplined bending master like Ozai could very well have lost.
      • True, but you have to remember that 1.) Ozai wouldn't be powered up by Sozin's comet, 2.) Lightningbending hadn't been introduced yet, and appears to be so rare as to be little-known, and 3.) while they likely assumed Ozai was a powerful Firebender, they had no way of knowing he was the most powerful Firebender in the world, especially since he didn't actually do anything directly until Season 3.
    • And most importantly, who ever said the general was being rational throughout that episode? Aang only agreed to go along with his plan because he thought he would learn to control the Avatar State before facing the Fire Lord, and even after attacking Aang and proving that controlling it wasn't possible at that point, the general was still foolish enough to think it could be. No one was telling him it was a grand idea. It's a plan born of desperation and haste to try to end the war quicker and to address fan question of "duh, why doesn't Aang go into the Avatar State and kill Ozai, lol."
     Zuko & The Sun 
  • How does Zuko realizing that firebending is related to the sun in "The Firebending Masters" not contradict his comment about "rising with the sun" during "The Seige of the North"?
    • The same way Katara realizing that the moon is related to waterbending does not contradict her previous deduction that her powers get stronger when the moon rises.
    • Just because Zuko gains power from the sun doesn't mean that he realizes the source of firebending is the sun. He just knows that as a firebender, his powers strengthen while in the presence of the sun, just like firebenders' powers get a massive boost during Sozin's Comet.
    • I don't think it's so much as him realizing that it's "related to the sun." I think he already knows about the relation, but this episode has him reevaluating just what that means. Previous to that episode, he probably just looked at the sun as "that big ball of fire in the sky." It's only after he sees the Dragons' firebending that he realizes the sun, and by extension True Firebending, are about life itself.
     Ozai 's Threat Level on his Own 
  • What is the problem with fighting Fire Lord Ozai, exactly? Is he not simply one man? Here's what I mean. Towards the end of Season 2, the Gaang decide, on the spur of the moment after no-dobut being tired from their most recent fight, to invade the Earth Kingdom palace! And they're successful! In fact, nobody even so much as lays a hand on them. The Gaang systematically smash through the Earth Kingdom royal gaurds without breaking a sweat, and are easily able to reach the Earth King. Now, yes, the Earth King is not in fact a master bender badass enough to kill you with lightning in half a second. But it's still one on four. Why doesn't the Gaang just bum-rush the palace, take out the Fire Lord, and leave it at that? Remember: until Zuko actually pointed out that what they were going to do was an assassination, Aang didn't even think about the Thou Shall Not Kill problem. And we're not talking about just any four people here. You've got a master Airbender, a woman who mastered Waterbending in a scant few months, THE GREATEST EARTHBENDER IN HISTORY, and Sokka. I mean really, unless Sozin's Comet is around at the time, would Ozai and his army even stand a chance? Simply put, Ozai is not that scary, even if he is voiced by The Joker.
    • Good points. Honestly, if Ozai hadn't been tipped off by Azula and gone into hiding they should have been able to defeat him, even without the solar eclipse. Hell, if they'd taken out Azula and pushed on to Ozai instead of running away and leaving their allies to surrender, they still would have stood a decent chance. I mean, it's not like Aang hasn't fought a master bender on equal terms before ... oh wait. He has. He was equally matched with Bumi, and I have a hard time believing that Ozai is stronger than Bumi without the comet boosting his firebending. What exactly did Ozai do to gain such a Memetic Badass reputation in-universe that even the Avatar backed up by a master waterbender and the greatest earthbender in the world is terrified to face him unless he's completely helpless?
    • Taking down the Earth King and taking down Ozai are two completely different problems. Remember, the Earth Kingdom has A) been on the losing end of a century-long war and thus has massively a depleted army, and B) There Is No War In Ba Singh Se, so there is no reason to maintain a massive, tight defense. The Fire Nation, meanwhile, is extremely heavily defended; the entire invasion force, with all four members of the Gaang behind it, was bogged-down Normandy-style when they attacked the Fire Nation capital - and that was a trap, deliberately set up by Azula and Ozai to allow the invasion force to enter the city and be captured. The Gaang on their own would have been wiped out.
      • Most of the Fire Nation army is in the Earth Kingdom. You know, that pesky war and all. The invasion force was bogged down because they were small and because the Fire Nation knew they were coming. They specifically diverted forces to deal with it. The invasion intended to sieze the capital; all the Gaang needed to do was take out one guy. They could easily have just flown in on Appa, using clouds for cover, came straight down on the palace, and started kicking ass. Or, they could go in, Ninja-style at night and catch everyone off-guard. And Azula wouldn't even be home, because she'd be off in the Earth Kingdom looking for Aang.
      • Yes, most of the Fire Nation's army is out. That won't change the fact that the capital is still going to be very heavily guarded. If this is prior to the third season, Ozai would have simply stomped Aang flat. Aang doesn't even know firebending at that point, and the Gaang has trouble with Azula; Ozai is actually better than she is, and Ozai will have his entire palace army backing him up. This isn't like with the Earth King where he can't fight back very well; Ozai + his army are way too much for the Gaang to handle without some serious backup. Remember also that the assault on the Earth King's palace was an act of desperation on the Gaang's part, not a preplanned invasion, and Aang can't even control the Avatar state. It would be idiotic of them to attack without help or even a full understanding of firebending on Aang's part.
      • Aang was able to fight Azula to a standstill by himself, on top of the drill. Aang and Katara, with no firebending in sight, were able to face-stomp Azula until Zuko showed up to save her at the end of season 2. God only knows how fast Aang + Katara + Toph would have taken her down. The only thing that Aang learned later that might have been of help was redirecting lightning. Also, you forget that the attack on the Earth King's palace wasn't a close battle by any stretch of the imagination. The guards were face-stomped, plain and simple. Lastly, why would the captial be "heavily guarded" at all? Unless Ozai is protecting himself against a rebellion, those troops would be better used in the Earth Kingdom. Remember: they specifically recalled troops to the Fire Nation to deal with the invasion. That strongly suggests that they don't keep lots of troops in the Fire Nation doing nothing.
      • The US is at war with Afghanistan right now. Does that mean that president Obama would be under no guard whatsoever? There would have to be a guard over the Fire Nation Palace, in case, I don't know, maybe the Avatar shows up to kick Ozai's face in, perhaps? They know the Avatar exists, so they know he's going to confront Ozai at some point. Knowing how powerful the Avatar is, they'd have to be terminally retarded to not keep a strong garrison around in case the Avatar does aim for the exact decapitation strike you're suggesting. And just because they brought some troops in to protect the capital, it doesn't mean that they leave the capital completely unguarded.
      • A few things come to mind here. The first is that Ozai probably had minimal guards around him. Unlike the US President most of whom I could take in a fair fight Ozai is literally the baddest man on the planet. He needs enough guards to keep some punk from catching him off guard, he doesn't need protection from three or four people kicking down the front door. I suspect that if anybody but the Gaang (or his own family) tried the kick in the front door murder the the Fire Lord plan the end result would be Ozai calling in some servants to sweep up the ashes of people too dumb to live.
      • Aang was able to fight Azula to a standstill by himself, on top of the drill. If by "fight Azula to a standstill" you mean "got his ass kicked and knocked unconscious, and was only not killed because Azula took her time sauntering up to deliver the killing blow", that would be accurate.
      • This entire "decapitation" plan assumes that the Gaang knows that the Fire Nation army is as easy to defeat as the Earth Kingdom's palace guards - which is patently ridiculous. They've got no reason to assume the Fire Lord's personal guards are going to be easy to defeat, let alone the most powerful firebender in the world. And even if they go in "ninja-like" that's no guarantee they'd be able to bypass the defenses around the Fire Lord's palace, and if they get caught, its instant defeat as they'll be surrounded by hundreds of firebenders. Assaulting with an invasion force is the most sensible course of option and the least risky.
      • Invasion force is also the only plan that had any chance of working at the time. Before Zuko's betrayal, there is no purpose to decapitating Ozai. First of all, geography means that there is plenty of time to find out that they're in the Fire Nation, recalling Azula to deal with them. There is no reason to assume that Azula would not follow, because they can't simply teleport to Ozai's capitol and fight him tomorrow. Most of the series is spent in transit from one location to another. Appa is not supersonic. Now, with that in mind, even if, by some scant miracle, they actually manage to defeat Ozai's entire royal guard, Azula, and Ozai himself simultaneously - which is asking a ridiculous lot of them - nothing is gained. Azula ascends the throne in Ozai's place and the war continues unabated. Or they kill Azula and Zuko ascends the throne in his father's place and the war continues unabated. Or they kill Azula and Zuko and a general or noble ascends the throne and the war continues unabated. Assassinating the king does not make an imperial nation spontaneously cease to exist.
    • Also, there's one big difference between invading the Earth Kingdom palace and invading the Fire Nation palace. The Earth King is a non-bender, not much of a fighter, and a bit physically frail. Ozai is both physically fit and the second-most-powerful bender in the show (second only to the Avatar State). It's entirely possible that he could match the entire Gaang (less Zuko, who hadn't joined at that point), and that's not counting the guards that will show up sooner or later.
    • An additional consideration: During the Earth Kingdom Palace invasion, they had an earthbender to counter earthbenders. They did not at that point have a firebender to counter firebenders.

    • Solid justifications are presented pretty much from the moment Toph joins the team. In order:
      • Just after Toph joins: They don't know what the Fire Nation even looks like; they need a map. Ergo, the Gaang heads to the library to find one.
      • After reaching the library: Appa is gone. Can't get into the Fire Nation, period.
      • Once they've recovered Appa: they're right in the middle of Ba Sing Se, and the Earth King's army is on hand, if only they can convince him to join. Armies are useful things, so recruit the army to help out.
      • After the war ends: They've got an invasion force on hand and a plan of attack. Stick to the plan of attack for minimal risk, as they're already preparing to hit Ozai when he's weakest. It gives Aang time to train.
      • After the Day of the Black Sun: Wait until Sozin's Comet has passed so they can kick Ozai's ass after Aang has finished training.
      • And don't forget that after visiting the library and learning of Black Sun, the Gaang has a definite plan of attack that serves as an overall objective: hit Ozai when he and the Fire Nation are weakest on the Day of Black Sun. Pretty much everything the Gaang and their allies had been working toward for the second half of the second season and the first half of the third was to that end. Once they left the library, the Gaang was focused on striking the enemy at their most vulnerable; there's no reason for them to hat up and try to take Ozai down when they can wait until he's powerless and then take him down.
    • In reality this plan wouldn't work and would just be a waste of time and energy. At the time of the story the war has been waged without stop for 100 years. There don't seem to be a whole lot of traitors or fire benders aiding the Earth or Water Kingdoms. We see no signs that Ozai isn't if not well liked at least respected. Killing Ozai would result in Azula rising to the throne and continuing his war. Killing them both and letting Iroh end the war might have worked but in reality there is no reason to believe the war was unpopular so unless the plan was I show up every Tuesday and kill the leader and I intend to keep doing this until you stop your war killing the leader wouldn't really do you much good.
     Zuko's Decision 
  • Why does Zuko side with Azula in the season 2 finale? He just went through his little sickness, and accepted the fact that he can choose his own path and that he doesn't have to do things for the sake of getting back to the Fire Nation. He's believed, not without good reason, that Azula is a bitch that no one should ever trust or align themselves with. Iroh, on the other hand, has been supportive of him throughout the series, serving as a mentor, guardian, and father figure after his son died, and Zuko's father abandoned him. Yet, when it came time to make the decision, he chooses to help Azula, who he has openly hated and distrusted in the past, and betrays Iroh, who has been quite possibly the nicest and most supportive person in the world for him. It just...doesn't...make...sense...
    • Think about the two alternatives Zuko is being presented with. On the one hand, he could join Azula, defeat the Avatar, take his rightful place in the palace of the richest, most powerful nation that now virtually rules the world, eventually becoming Fire Lord himself. Or, he could live in Ba Sing Se as an outcast, serving tea for the rest of his life as a nobody. Sure, we know that the Avatar would likely have named him Fire Lord and so forth, but that isn't part of the choice presented to him. For Zuko, it's live as Iroh's tea server or take a chance on Azula being true to her word.
      • I ultimately get the impression that Zuko's acceptance of his life in Ba Sing Se was more for Iroh's benefit than any actual acceptance of this state of affairs. He'd play the good nephew for his uncle, because he had no other prospects than this. Azula came along with actual prospects, so he jumped at the chance. However nice and supported Iroh had been, he didn't get Zuko where Zuko wanted to go.
      • None of that really explains why Zuko all of a sudden trusts Azula, who has, on a regular basis, screwed Zuko over several times. Not to mention, it's not much of a chance to go with Azula. Hell, This Troper was surprised that Zuko didn't get a lightning bolt to the back the moment Aang got away.
      • What in that entire series of events makes you think Zuko trusts Azula? He sides with her, yes, but that does not mean he trusts her. This is corroborated by the look on his face during and after the fight. It's not one with any joy or trust. It's filled with anger and passion. Zuko had just come to terms with the fact that he can choose his own destiny, which doesn't automatically mean he's turned on the Fire Nation. And now he's given an opportunity to take his life and change it in a way that should have made it better. Even if that meant teaming up with Azula. And being willing to team up with her could easily have been the result of his rejection of his old, weak self, as he would now be willing to work with her.
      • Well, he didn't "get a lightning bolt to the back" because Azula suspected that Aang might have survived. She needed Zuko to take the fall if the Avatar suddenly showed up again.
      • Another thing to consider about his "two choices" is that one didn't really exist. Azula was likely to have the city whether the avatar got away or not, and I don't think she was going to let him and Iroh go back to serving tea. Unless we assume Zuko and Iroh turning to Team Avatar's side would result in a stunning victory over Azula and driving her and all her allies from the city, Zuko's new life was already GONE. Everything Iroh had worked for, everything that Zuko has decided to settle for instead of getting his life back (yeah, you can have a date with a girl you will never be able to tell an true story about your life to!) was trashed from the moment Katara saw them. (And on a topic that bugs me, did he not ever find that out? Might have changed the whole "Zuko seeking her forgiveness" dynamic when he first joined the team quite a bit.) The choices were between a chance at what he thought he'd always wanted, not to mention being in a position to make sure Azula didn't off his uncle out of hand, and going back to having absolutely nothing.
      • The problem with that theory is that Azula was losing. Yes, Zuko joining the gaang's side would have resulted in a victory. Katara had just crippled her, and we can see the expression of "Not As Planned!" on Azula's face. If Zuko hadn't broken Katara's water tentacles at that point, it's no stretch of the imagination to say that Katara could have defeated Azula, especially if Zuko realized his opportunity and turned on Azula. That would have allowed him to keep his life in Ba Sing Se just fine and stop Azula, who is established as someone he hates. Also, like previous posters have said, Azula already tried the "let's be friends!" thing, and we all know how that ended. She does the exact same thing and he goes with her anyway? Why? She's going to have to give him serious justification for him to not think she won't immediately backstab him. And finally, Zuko's Face–Heel Turn would have worked under normal circumstances since his entire season 2 characterization is that he's on the fence and we can't see what he's thinking. However, the whole fever thing completely throws it of, what with it being all "NO REALLY HE'S CHANGED WE SWEAR!" I mean, what, did he have another fever the moment he got back home?
      • Maybe it's because she's his sister and even if he knows he can't trust her and she's a liar and doesn't care about him, he kind of wants to believe her anyway? The same reason he keeps believing his father will be proud of him and just wants him to prove himself, the same reason he keeps trying to capture the Avatar even after Azula says Ozai's decided he's a failure. Stubborn, stupid hope that his family might actually care about him, despite all proof to the contrary.
      • Exactly. Azula "established as someone he hates"? Er, no. He's his sister and, logic be damned, he cares about her. He's been furious at Azula and wanted to surpass her, but in his heart, he's never truly hated her.
      • Yeah well we've all always known Zuko's not exactly the brightest or most logical bulb in the box. Remember the North Pole? You're acting as though his character was ever completely rational and clearthinking, but it never really has been. Plus it's not like he had any good reason to want to help the Avatar - sure, they might have gotten out if he helped them, but they were so outnumbered by the Dai Li that it's only a maybe, not to mention these kids are his enemies. Okay, so he sort-of bonded with Katara in prison, so what? That was one moment after several years of trying to capture the Avatar. None of this excuses the fact that what he did was wrong and really quite stupid in hindsight, but it makes sense for the characters and the storyline. The only really stupid thing about the whole Ba Sing Se arc was the Angst Coma, which was completely unnecessary and ultimately pointless in the context of the rest of the story. Aside from that, the storyline and the decisions that the characters make, including Zuko, make sense.
      • Hell, the north pole? Try the first episode. As far as he knows, the Avatar is over 100 years old, and has presumably been spending all that time honing his mastery of all four of the elements—and to give him a sense of scale, the previous Avatar single-handedly held the entire Fire Nation back from going to war. Zuko's 16 and knows some basic firebending, and he thinks, "Sure, I can take'im." Einstein he ain't, folks.
      • That is a gross mischaracterization of Zuko. You're conflating stupidity with desperation. He had literally no choice but to face the Avatar if he wanted to return home, and perhaps your memory of the North Pole is different from mine, but I remember him using stealth and intelligence to break into the NWT in a matter of maybe an hour or so, where the entire FN navy took ages to break through. Throughout the series he is shown to be extremely clever and resourceful. He was able to break Aang out of Zhao's prison without bending or speaking. He deduced that the seal creatures were coming up for air somewhere, so the hole in the ice would be safe to dive into. He managed to trick a Sun Warrior temple into opening on a day that wasn't the solstice. He has a far greater range of abilities than any of the main characters, and Aang himself agrees that he's very smart.
      • My first impression is that you are all overthinking this a bit to much. We've got months to sit and debate Zuko's motivations, whereas he had a few minutes at the most, and probaly more like a few seconds, to evaluate Azula's impending defeat and act accordingly. I doubt anyone would disagree with me when I say that the entire FN royal family is a little off-kilter, so its seems reasonable that Zuko would be obsessed with finding/capturing/defeating the avatar. And I mean obsessed in the strictly clinical definition that he can literaly think of NOTHING else. As another troper pointed out, Zuko is not exactly a strategic mastermind or a revolutionary thinker; he tends to accept things as presented to him and then block out anything that contradicts that. He's been relentlessly pursuing the avatar for years, repeatedly risking his life and focusing on nothing else, and here he is with his enemy, the source of all his problems, right in front of him. He doesnt think about the broader implications, the consequences, or any of the Azula vs Iroh vs Ozai conflicts; he's just goes with that is the familiar, comfortable patern that has defined a significant portion of his life up until this point. Also, while Azula is a schemer, Ozai is a conquerer, and Iroh is a crafty mentor, at this point in the series we've only just started seeing Zuko's character development and he still fits firmly under the archetype of "soldier". Some one who does what he's ordered, without question, and achieves his objective no matter the cost. Its only after he succeeds in getting everything he always wanted (i.e. his "mission" is complete) that his mind has time to stop and evalutate how it turned out, and he starts to question if what he got was really what he wanted. In a way, he's stuck as the same person for a long time, and in a moment of character weakness he CANT break out of that, until that reason for existing no longer exists.
    • In a way, he wasn't choosing between Azula and Iroh. He was choosing between siding with or against his father. It was pretty thoroughly established that Zuko wanted to make his dad proud of him. He hunted the Avatar for three years on the off-chance that succeeding would make his father let him back into the country. In Zuko's eyes, Iroh betrayed him by joining the Avatar (like Azula says later in that episode) and Azula, while not trustworthy, is at least acting in a way consistant with how she's acted before. His decision was a shock for the audience, but when you take a good long think about it, it's actually one of the most brilliant pieces of writing in recent TV.
      • Exactly. Recall that several episodes earlier Iroh gave Zuko a big angry lecture in which he told Zuko to start thinking about what HE wanted. The problem is that Iroh misjudged what Zuko really wanted. He assumed Zuko would want to settle down and help him run the tea shop, but at his core Zuko always felt that he was cheated out of his birthright when his father banished him. He lost his title, his home, his honor, and, yes, his royal authority and he wanted it all back. He was only willing to set that desire aside when it looked like there was no chance of ever getting it back. Then Azula came along and presented him with the chance to reclaim the very thing he'd spent the past few years of his life trying to obtain. Is it really so surprising that he grabbed it with both hands?
      • To elaborate a bit more from a meta level: We often see that characters who have undergone what Zuko went through that sets the stage for a normal Heel–Face Turn, but the writers chose to be more creative and put it off a bit longer. In the long run, it works on a different level: Zuko goes on to get back the life he thought he wanted but it cost him the Uncle he loves, the newfound humility and attitudes he picked up being a common person, the peace of mind he obtained for a brief bit working the tea shop, and he got to see what Ozai planned to do which finally got through to Zuko that his father is little more than a power-hungry tyrant. By doing this, Zuko makes not only a Heel–Face Turn, but he gets to do it with absolutely no regrets this time around.
     Azulon's mysterious death 
  • The details Fire Lord Azulon's death and the events surrounding it are pretty sketchy even at the end of the series, but we're, I believe, meant to assume Ozai manipulated Ursa into killing him and then banished her. What I don't get is how did they get Azulon to declare Ozai the heir to the throne? Azulon said earlier that he would never betray Iroh. Did he change his mind or was it a lie spread by Ozai? If the latter, why would anyone believe him?
    • a) it was obviously a lie, and b) no one with half a brain believed it. By this point, however, Ozai had enough political power to declare himself Firelord with the flimsiest of justifications, and nobody dared to call him out to his face.
    • There's also the fact that Iroh retired after Lu Ten's death. He appeared to have renounced his claim to the throne after Lu Ten died in battle, and Ozai does bring up the fact that Iroh doesn't have an heir and probably won't sire one.
     The Age Difference Between Iroh and Ozai 
  • Might be in the wrong folder, so if it is, I apologize. It bugs me, however, that Iroh appears decades older than Ozai. What gives? Iroh is an elderly Retired Badass with gray hair, and Ozai is a fairly young Hot Bishounen Dad. How big is the difference in their ages? If they're close in age, does Iroh just look older while Ozai looks younger? Did Iroh just happen to age prematurely? If they're very far apart in age like they appear to be, was Ozai a sort of "late-in-life" baby?
    • Iroh was likely significantly older than Ozai. Also, Iroh spent a lot of time on the front lines fighting a war, while Ozai appeared to have stayed behind in the capital living a relatively lesuirely life. If Iroh was constantly on the front, constantly fighting and constantly in severely stressful situations, it would have prematurely aged him just from said stress. It probably got a lot worse when Lu Ten died, too.
      • Lu Ten was certainly a lot older than Zuko and Azula when he was slain - he looks like he's in his twenties in the portrait of him that's shown. That would fit with Ozai being significantly younger than his elder brother (and also explains why Firelord Azulon took Ozai's presumption very badly - for a long time, Iroh probably was his only son).
    • Reality Is Unrealistic much? A woman is capable of reproducing from ages 12 to 50 (give or take). A man is capable of reproducing his entire life. It's possible that Iroh and Ozai's mother had Iroh in her twenties and Ozai in her forties. Or Iroh and Ozai are half-brothers.
      • Incidentally, the live-action adaptation actually hints at them being half-brothers, since Ozai is played by a Maori actor while Iroh is an Iranian-American.
     Hama's Friend 
  • During the flashback scene in "The Puppetmaster", was Hama's friend Gran Gran? Katara said that "this ship has haunted Gran Gran ever since she was a little girl", but during the flashback, when the ship was frozen, she was more of a young woman.
    • Katara didn't even know about Hama's existence, so it's likely that Kanna's stories were either remembered incorrectly or embellished by Gran-Gran to add warning for a young Sokka and Katara. Or it's possible that it wasn't Gran-Gran who told Katara at all, but her mother or father, furthering the chance that it was remembered wrong. Plus, little girl getting tortured by Fire Nation? Probably not okay with Nick execs.
      • On a similar note, keep in mind that Kanna didn't head south until after Pakku propsed to her, when she was 16. And that she never told at least Katara that she's from the North.
      • Actually, Katara's exact words in that episode were "this ship has haunted my village ever since Gran-Gran was a little girl." And my memory is a bit hazy, but I'm pretty sure it took years for the Fire Nation to round up all the Waterbenders, and Hama was the last one. If the ship was wrecked in one of the earlier attacks, it might still fit the timeline. If not, the whole "it's a kid's show, so imprisoning and torturing a small child is a huge no-no" is likely the answer.
     Zuko's skills at the start of the series 
  • At the very start of the series, Zuko is shown learning the basic sets of Firebending. Was he never taught properly before, or was Iroh just starting again from the ground up, trying to teach him The Right Way?
    • I think so. In the flashbacks, he's shown to be still very much a basic firebender. Later, Zuko had to be reminded in the Agni Kai with Zhao to stay grounded and use his feet... very Earthy advice, wouldn't you say? Couple that with the waterbending inspired lightning redirection technique and It entirely possible Iroh was working to make him a "balanced" Firebender and hoping it would spill over into his daily life.
    • Keep in mind that this is season 1 episode 1, good!firebending was introduced in season 3 episode 13. Due to the numerous other retconny things in season 3, I think it's plausible to say that they hadn't thought up good!firebending at that point in the first place. Also, Zuko expresses anger over the fact that he's still being taught basic sets and thinks he's ready for advanced training, which to me simply implies that Iroh was teaching him slowly and he was just learning basics for three years. That or the above poster's theory.
    • In martial arts there are certain schools of thought which teach that you'll be much better off focusing on the basics than trying to learn "advanced" moves. Bruce Lee once said "I fear not the man who has practiced ten thousand kicks once. But I fear the man who has practiced one kick ten thousand times." Basically, Iroh was trying to train Zuko to be Jack of All Stats of firebending.
    • I second the troper above; In Ninjutsu one of the very first things you learn is the Gogyo no Kata, a.k.a the "Five Elements". You pass through 9 kyu (stages or belts in other martial arts) and you get your first Dan, or black belt. Once you're 10th Dan, what do you do next? Go back to the Five Elements and spend an entire stage (which could take years) on each of them. 15th Dan if effectively the highest stage. As the man we know Iroh to be it makes sense that he's forcing Zuko to go through the basics over and over in an attempt to counteract the impulsiveness and recklessness of his nephew, as those qualities would never allow him to be the better firebender his uncle knows he can be.
     How can Combustion Man get paid? 
  • How exactly was Combustion Man going to get his money? He was out to kill Aang. His method of murder seems to be making people explode. How did he plan to prove to Zuko (or Ozai) that he had killed Aang, hand them some charred pieces of liver? My best guess is that he planned to kidnap a member of the Gaang to provide witness testimony, though I can see several problems with that.
    • Well, bodies in Avatar in general seem to be more durable than they are in Real Life. Also, if you'll notice, most of Combustion Man's shots are never aimed directly at the Gaang; he's always shooting objects around them, probably in an effort to wound via shrapnel instead of vaporizing outright. Note that he's more aggressive when targeting Aang at Zuko's orders, probaby because Zuko just wants Aang dead, no need for proof just kill him, whereas when attacking the Gaang for Ozai he's a bit more conservative, up until he just decides to drop them. By dropping them to the bottom of the canyon, he can just waltz down there, dig through the rubble, find the mangled corpse with the arrow tattoos, and call it a day.
    • When Zuko decided to hire him, he said that he had heard that Combustion Man was "good at what [he did]," implying that he would almost certainly succeed. Maybe Zuko just had so much faith in his skills that he wouldn't question it when he returned saying that he had killed him. Combustion Man did seem pretty resistant (to the point of refusing money and attempting to kill the one who hired him) to giving up on killing Aang. I guess Zuko just knew that this man simply would not give up until he had finished the job or was killed himself. The real question is, why didn't Zuko hire this legendary assassin earlier on in the series?
      • That's simple. He didn't hire an assassin to blow up the Avatar because he wanted to capture the Avatar alive. Also, he wanted to do it himself. He gets no Honor for having someone else do his work for him, after all. He only hired Combustion Man to cover his tracks discretely—to take out the Avatar without his father knowing.
     Scar Story 
  • I apologize if this has already been brought up here - I didn't see it, but the page is so long I might have missed it. My question is this: how famous is Zuko and how he got his scar? Why is it that his own crew doesn't know about it until Iroh tells them, but a random Earth Kingdom peasant knows enough of the details to throw them in his face in Zuko Alone? Do any of the Gaang members know about the story behind it before he joins their group? When Toph mentions his messed up family in The Western Air Temple, is she talking about his Dad being abusive or just about the fact that they all know Azula is psychotic and Ozai is trying to take over the world? And how the hell does he manage to pass as an Earth Kingdom peasant when there's wanted posters from the Fire Nation naming him as a prince all over the place? Not to mention, why is it that none of the teenagers on Ember Island recognize him or Azula as members of the royal family during The Beach?
    • Well I've always thought, although this idea might have come from another source, that Ozai covered up the truth up until the end of the first book. The FN nobles who were there knew, but were ordered to stay silent. The FN soldiers were told only the basics, that Zuko was ordered to find the Avatar. After the Siege of the North, Ozai learns enough of what happened to declare Zuko and Iroh traitors, so the propaganda machine (which the FN like all good dictatorships has), revealed the truth and spread it so far that even that EK peasant knew eventually. Zuko was probably quite the hot topic of conversation being the son of the "love him or hate him" Fire Lord.
      • As to the second question, Toph was probably referring to Azula. She was much more of a physical presence in their lives than Ozai, and can make one hell of a impression.
      • About anybody disguising themselves in the show, basically everyone's a moron. See all the infiltrations of Ba Sing Se, and that FN principal thinking Katara was Aang's mom.
      • Azula was really unlucky that Katara was the one who remained in Ba Sing Se. She had Suki's exact body type; you could only tell who she was by the eyes, and, well, Sokka could have gone a long time looking at... Other things.
     The Earth king vs. The Fake Kyoshi Warriors 
  • WHY DID THE EARTH KING NEVER THINK TO MENTION THAT HE TOLD THE FAKE KYOSHI WARRIORS ABOUT THE DAY OF BLACK SUN? So much trouble could have been avoided if he'd just said "Oh, no, they're not the real Kyoshi warriors? I just told them all about our invasion plan!" I know he's sheltered, but is he really so stupid that he didn't think maybe that was an important detail? And why did no one else think to ask him what he discussed with them?
    • Yes. In case you missed it, the Earth King is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. He's reasonable but not particularly bright, and also pretty naive. Coupled with the chaos of the takeover and subsequent escape, he probably just forgot to mention what had happened.
    • The fact that HE TOLD THE FAKE KYOSHI WARRIORS ABOUT THE DAY OF BLACK SUN so quickly in the first place should kinda give off a clue as to how Lethally Stupid he is.
      • Did you watch that episode? This quote explains most of it. Emphasis mine:
    Earth King: You know these warriors‌?
    Sokka: Oh yeah. The Kyoshi warriors are a skilled group of fighters, trust worthy too. They’re good friends of ours.
    • Frankly, a bigger problem would be the fact that Katara never thought to mention the fake Kyoshi warriors.
      • ...Remind me again, wasn't that the same episode in which she tried to get to Earth King Kuei to try to mention something could be up; but intercepted by said fake Kyoshi warriors in the process? Hard to do all of that when Katara's incapacitated. Also, didn't Azula have Kuei essentially hostage at that point?
      • You're sort of right. She was running to the Earth King because she had recognized Zuko and Iroh working at their tea shop and thought the Fire Nation had infiltrated Ba Sing Se—which she was right about, but she was a bit off on how. She didn't realize the Kyoshi Warriors weren't the real deal until she got close enough and interacted with them, and that's when they incapacitated her. As far as she knew, there's no evidence to suggest that they'd been told anything about the invasion yet.

     Look In The Eye 
  • May just be a case of Values Dissonance but I was always taught that you should look someone in the eye if you wish to be treated as an equal. When Hakoda refused to look the Warden in the eye it was played as an act of defiance, not an act of submission. Right...
    • Yeah, I think this is a simple case of Values Dissonance (perhaps on multiple levels). In Real Life casting the eyes downward would be considered an act of submission, but on the show it seems that people mostly look each other in the eye. As far Hakoda casting his eyes downward- it doesn't matter in what direction he cast his eyes because the warden had issued an order and Hakoda refused to comply.
    • in the US, a lot of the time parents tell their kids "look me in the eye when I'm talking to you" when they're yelling at them.
    • This troper saw it explained in a fanfic as it being that in the Water Tribe you only meet someone's eye if you respect them, see them as equals. Hakoda deliberately avoiding the Warden's gaze - and once he does, tripping him up on his handcuffs - was portrayed as a simple indication that the Warden is nothing to him.
    • In many cultures, looking into the eyes is saying 'Yeah, we're equal. I can look at you and you can look at me.' But avoiding eye contact can be either 'I'M NOT WORTHY!' or 'I'm better than you. you aren't even allowed to look me in the face.' Also, wasn't he being ordered to look him in the eye? Not doing so would be a direct defiance of the Warden.
    • You could tell from Hakoda's eyes alone that he was being defiant, not merely submissive.
    • Additionally, the warden recognized "strong-willed" Hakoda right away. He would be keen to identify his behavior in particular as being defiant when it would've signified submission coming from anyone else, since he knows Hakoda is not likely to submit so easily.
  • Extremely trivial complaint: Zuko's hair in season 3. There is no way you can get hair that short into the kind of topknot he wears when it's up. I tried it out with my own hair, which is a little longer than his, and it still doesn't work.
    • *shrugs* How come Azula seems to have some kind of Hammerspace for her hair? This troper has no idea.
    • That bugged me too, especially since I was otherwise pretty impressed with the consistency of their hair (by animated standards!). At first, I thought there'd been a bit of a timeskip, and his hair had gotten longer. Then, after we saw it down, I thought maybe it was some kind of artificial topknot (with gallons of hair gel to keep his real hair swept up). But then we get that scene where he undoes the ribbon and his hair falls down around his ears...they don't show us the top (obviously), so I guess the artificial topknot theory is still in play, but seriously...
  • How does Zuko have peripheral vision in the eye on the burned side of his face?
    • Just because the skin there is damaged doesn't mean that the eye itself is.
    • But the ear on that side is shriveled. If he was burned bad enough that that happened then his eye probably isn't in the best shape either.
    • He doesn't. It's really subtle, but if you watch closely in a few episodes ("The Blue Spirit" and "The Western Air Temple" come to mind immediately) you can see that he turns his head all the way to the left when he wants to see something on that side.
    • During the "Cave of Two Lovers" there was a scene when he seemed to have peripheral vision but now that I think about it he could have been relying on his hearing and instinct.
     Paku's Logic 
  • Pakku and general north pole tradition only allow men to waterbend. Does he think there have been no female avatars? Every avatar has to learn all the elements. I hope at least he'd make an exception if Aang was a girl.
    • Obviously, exceptions are made for female Avatars, but your general run-of-the-mill female waterbender is off to the kitchen Healing Huts.
    • Avatars are definitely a special case. If the Northern Tribe members refused to teach a female Avatar, there's a better than even chance that Tui and La would voice their displeasure very quickly.
    • Culture can change by a great deal in just a century and based on the cycle of reincarnation it would have been quite some time since the last Water Tribe Avatar (who might not have been female). Just look at the difference between Aang's value of life and Avatar Yangchen's values.
    • And anyway, there used to be waterbenders at the South Pole, so a female Avatar wouldn't have to be trained up north if she didn't want to.
      • This troper always figured that the no women thing was only a hundred or so years old. The Northern tribe might just have needed a lot of healers at the beginning of the war and the women-are-healers thing was just convenient.
    • Judging by the scene in The Legend of Korra where Korra is looking at all of the previous Avatars, she's the first female Water Avatar in a while. I've always wondered if the Avatar Spirit reincarnates into someone who will automatically gain respect in his or her native nation; I mean, a female Avatar from the Northern Water Tribe would never be taken seriously, she would never receive the proper training, and she probably wouldn't even master her native element. A female Avatar from the Southern Water Tribe would probably receive the right training, but that's assuming she's ever really taken seriously in a pretty patriarchal tribe (look at Sokka's attitudes in the first season of ATLA). At any rate, female Avatars before Korra were probably sent to the South, while the Northern patriarchs tut-tutted about how that uppity woman was trying to be a man and was never going to learn to heal, blah blah blah. Of course by Korra's time this seems to have changed, if previews showing Eska using waterbending in combat are anything to go by.
     About Jeong-Jeong's Offense 
  • Ok, so Jeong-Jeong doesn't firebend offensively. This is said explicitely by Zhao: "My old master gave up fighting long ago". For his first experience, Jeong-Jeong keeps that up; he never firebends to attack someone, only to teach Aang, protect Katara, make that wall of fire (which the boats can and did avoid, as he probably knew they would), and make his escape. Cool, clean, consistant. Then, in his next appearance, he's making giant pillars of fire and destroying tanks with people inside them. Eh, what?
    • He wasn't destroying the tanks, he was shoving them into piles. You see the piles during the attack. As for what Zhao said, "gave up fighting" is probably superceded by the call of the Order of the White Lotus. With that call, Jeong-Jeong had a cause to fight for that he really believed in.
     Why Granpaku? 
  • Why does Gran-Gran marry Pakku? She left the Northern Water Tribe because she didn't want to marry him. Did something happen to her since then that made her think that marrying the man the was arranged to marry as a teenager was a good idea? It just seems to me so backwards that they would show Gran-Gran as being strong enough to escape an arranged marriage, then have her marry him years later.
    • It's plausible that Kanna did harbor something for Pakku, but simply couldn't tolerate his sexist attitude, and was more open to those feelings once he learned the error of his ways.
      • More than plausible, she not only keeps the betrothal necklace, but passes it down. If she really hated him, she probably would have left it behind (as a smack in the face) or thrown it away.
      • That's how I always took it- it wasn't so much Pakku himself she was against as it was certain unpleasant aspects of their culture that he represented. When they met up again, I envision a scene to the effect of him swallowing his pride and apologizing for being a jerk (and bringing up that he trained Katara probably wouldn't hurt), which no doubt smoothed things over considerably.
     Zhao's Promotions 
  • Forgive me for being dense, but - is there ever an explanation for Zhao's ridiculously convenient promotions in Book One?
    • It isn't dense. As far as the show itself goes they never seem to give any explanation for why he got those promotions. In real life it was probably because the writers needed a way to make him a justifiable threat.
      • In that case, I'm going to have to fall back on the Kevin Smith explanation.
        How many dicks did you fucking suck?!
    • There's a war going on. Officers at the top of the chain die, retire, or get transferred, and new ships/fleets are getting regularly constructed. This leaves room for subordinates to get promoted to higher ranks. Zhao getting promoted isn't anything strange; he's an ambitious and reasonably competent officer (leaving out his rather misinformed notion of taking out the Moon) so there's no real reason he'd get passed over for promotion.
      • Except that he goes from commanding a few ships to admiral and apparently has the authority to commit the Fire Nation to attacking the Northern Water Tribe without any approval from the higher ups.
      • When did Zhao ever command "just" a few ships during the series. He was introduced as a Commander in charge of a base, and was next seen commanding a blockade with the same rank. I always figured that Commander was the rank directly below Admiral in the Fire Navy, so it's not a huge jump- and while we never saw him ask for permission/get an order on screen, I highly doubt he committed a whole fleet to the NWT without Ozai's permission.
      • A few ships? No he was in charge of an entire naval base, dozens of ships all under his command. Though this does bring up a mistake, he shouldn't have been Commander Zhao he should have been Commodore Zhao. Commodore is one step up from Captain and one below Admiral, Commander is a lesser rank than captain. Could be different in the Fire Navy though. Which makes it quite believable, he gained two ranks one happening before we saw him one during the show. Not that much really, cause we don't have any idea when he was promoted up from Captain.
      • The most likely explanation is he was promoted to Admiral because of his plan for the Northern Water Tribe. You don't think Ozai would've jumped at the idea of having someone eliminate all Waterbenders? He saw that Zhao had taken initiative to find this out, and had a plan, and promoted him to Admiral so that he could carry it out.
      • There wasn't anything to suggest that there were any plans to attack the Northern Water Tribe at the time of Zhao's promotion and in fact there wasn't anything about Zhao prior to the end of the season to suggest that he had any ambitions of spirit-killing. Maybe Ozai was impressed enough with him to promote him but if so it was done completely off screen, it was never even mentioned and the only suggestion for it is a wild mass guess. Based purely on what we saw in the series prior to his promotion Zhao had gone off on his own to hunt Aang (abandoning his post to do so), had failed to apprehend Zuko or Aang and from the conversation with the officer in charge of the Yu Yan archers at least some people felt he was just on a hunt for glory. That isn't exactly the sort of thing that suggests admiral material.
      • There wasn't anything to suggest spirit-killing because it never came up- Zhao had obviously been planning it for a while, based on his flashback in "Siege of the North", but wasn't going to spread that around until he was ready to play his trump card. But that doesn't mean he hadn't dropped that infor to Ozai in the hopes of finagling a promotion out of it. Also, how do we know that there weren't plans to attack the Water Tribe- we never see the Fire Lord's court during the whole first season outside of Zuko's flashback, so we have no idea what Ozai and his elite may or may not have been cooking up. Finally, I think that Ozai seems the type to promote someone based more on power and ruthlessness than common sense- someone like Zhao, channeled properly, is a definite asset to the Fire Nation, but he's too sloppy to successfully pull of a plot against Ozai himself. And again, just because we don't see it on screen doesn't mean Zhao didn't have Ozai's approval for at least some of his actions (particularly after capturing the "traitor" Fire Sages).
      • The simplest explanation is that his title is variable based on his commission, but his rank is the same. If he were at sea, he'd be Commodore Zhao. Because he is stationed on land (at a naval base), his title is Commander. When he gets promoted, he receives the rank of Admiral and a fleet commission.
     Fire Lord Iroh 
  • So how would things have gone had Iroh been allowed to become Fire Lord instead of Ozai?
     Long Feng 
  • Forgive me if this has been answered somewhere else, but what was the point of Long Feng's character besides padding out the Gaang's time in Ba Sing Se? He's running his Orwellian conspiracy to keep the king a puppet, I get, Why? Do the generals clearly fighting the war just not notice that the cultural police are denying that there's a war to fight and intimidating the populace into believing the same? Are they somehow unaware that their king somehow hasn't noticed they've been fighting a war for him his entire life? What does anyone gain from the conspiracy, anyway? Long Feng gets to be the power behind the throne at the cost of guaranteed defeat in the war eventually? The Fire Nation's been banging on the walls for a century now and reduced the rest of the Earth Kingdom to ashes or colonies at this point, so there's no reason for the Fire Nation to ever give up and go home and nobody's coming to help Ba Sing Se. Literally the only point of the conspiracy as far as I can tell is that Long Feng gets to play puppetmaster until he croaks or the Fire Nation arrives and effortlessly conquers the city because of his actively sabotaging the war effort. The Dai Li gain nothing from following Long Feng's orders, so exactly why they are so loyal to him without being brainwashed is another unanswered question; if they were following him because he was the power behind the throne, there's no reason to remain loyal when he screws up and the jig is up for the conspiracy being kept from the Earth King. Then they also side with Azula over Long Feng, despite the fact that the Dai Li would probably have been better rewarded if they'd turned on both of them and let Long Feng rot and thwarted Azula's attempt at a coup and arrested her. The entire second half of book two only works if you assume all Dai Li are drones that instinctively attach themselves to causes that give them little benefit or have actively been working to hand Ba Sing Se over to the Fire Nation this whole time. Long Feng and his secret police are a walking gang of Plot Holes in an otherwise well-told story.
    • Long Feng and the Dai Li are obviously an expy of the Communist Party in China (and possibly the Communist Party in North Korea). Presumably the members of Dai Li get all sorts of benefits regular citizen's don't get, which would explain why they have remained loyal to the organization. The organization has probably existed for generations (just like the Communist Party), and Long Feng is merely its current leader. The reason the Dai Li have wanted to keep regular citizens uninformed on the war is the same reason the North Korean Communist Party keeps on denying the country is suffering from famines; to admit it would be to admit they are not in full control of things. As for the King, they want to keep him uninformed on anything he might want to exert his power on (not just the war), so that they can keep controlling the society and reap the benefits of their position. The Generals probably co-operate with the Dai Li, and don't want the King to mess with their affairs either. One reason why they don't want the King to know about the war is that he's obviously very naive, and would make a terrible Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces (a position that a king would naturally have). And the reason why the Dai Li change sides so easily is exactly what you say above: they come to realize that the war has been fought for decades, Fire Nation has colonized most of Earth Nation, and no one is coming to help Ba Sing Se, so better side with the likely winner. Keep in mind that the agents of Dai Li are the sort of people who are drawn to power and its benefits, so nationalism matters little to them. The generals, on the other hand, do seem to be more driven by nationalism and honour, so the Dai Li can't count on them to change sides, which is why they have to be removed from the picture. The reason Long Feng keeps on running the city as if nothing's wrong, and doesn't choose to work with Azula with the rest of Dai Li, is that he's probably worked long and hard to get to his top dog position. He's too stubborn and too attached to his power to admit that the Fire Nation has essentially won the war. (Remember how Azula says that Long Feng doesn't have the innate charisma aristocracs are – according to her – born with. He probably was born into a middle class family, and had to climb his way up the society's ladder.) If the Fire Nation colonizes Bai Sing Se, the position of the de facto ruler he worked so hard to attain is lost forever.
      • You are probably thinking of the KGB actually everyone in Russia was a member of the Communist Party since it was the only political party that was allowed to exist, and if everyone in Russia was given lots of priviliges good food and good housing I dont think they would be remembered as poorly as they are in Russia.
      • A little detail: not everyone in Soviet Russia belonged to the Communist Party. Membership in the Party was reserved for the elite who controlled the general populace. Gaining membership was a privilege only available for few. While all citizens were subjects of the Party, most weren't members.
    • Another reason is that they could believed if the real details about the war where revealed the citizens of the Ba Sing Se would rebel against them and surrender hoping they wouldnt be killed by the Fire Nation.
      • None of that explains why Long Feng doesn't want to use the Earth Kingdom armies to use the eclipse to attack the Fire Nation. What could Long Feng possibly gain by stopping Ba Sing Se's forces from exploiting the firebenders' moment of weakness?
      • Maybe Long Feng simply didn't believe the eclipse theory? It's not like Team Avatar could prove it, so from Long Feng's point of view it was just a presumption based on an oblique mention in an old book. It's a terribly big risk to send an army to the middle of enemy territory based on such theory, especially since Ba Sing Se's soldiers were needed to protect the city from the Fire Nation. So it's perfectly possible Long Feng chose not to attack the Fire Nation because the risk of the eclipse not working like Team Avatar thought would have been too huge.
      • My read on Long Feng is that he's clever, but cautious by nature- he knows that if the Eclipse Plan goes wrong (and it easily could, with the firebenders only being incapacitated for a few minutes) it would be a complete disaster for the Earth Kingdom (and him, by extension) and so he's certainly not going to commit troops to such a gamble. It's the same quality that led him to submit to Azula (with, I've always felt, the hopes of pulling a successful doublecross someday) rather than fight her by himself in "Crossroads of Destiny".
    • Another thing to consider is that Long Feng and the generals at Ba Sing Se seem quite confident that the city's walls will continue to keep the war out, just as the did when Iroh laid siege to it. And the city is vast enough to have what appears to be its own farmlands and other supplies. As far as he knows, then, he doesn't need to care about the war, so there are no consequences to keeping the Earth King in the dark about it. Even after the events of "The Drill," when the wall is breached, he's got the people who stopped the drill — Team Avatar — right where he can see them, with Appa as a hostage in case he needs to use them against the next drill. Is this arrogant, complacent thinking? Yes! but that's essentially Long Feng's ideology, the ideology he's imposed on Ba Sing Se.
     Iroh's Wife 
  • What happened to Iroh's wife? He had a son but mention is never made of a wife or anything beyond how his son died in battle.
    • Presumably she died a long time ago. Otherwise Iroh, being the sort of family-oriented man he is, would surely have talked about her.
      • Furthermore, given how fatherly Iroh is towards Zuko, it seems odd that he only had one child of his own. His wife having died a long time ago would explain this, too.
    • Childbirth is risky business, chum. Not a single doctor is seen in the entire series, just the water tribe healers and the crazy alchemist. Without access to medical knowledge or people able to fix any of the myriad things that can go wrong when introducing a new person to the world, she probably died in childbirth. Poor Iroh.
    • Seems strange that Ozai didn't arrange another marriage for Iroh after his wife died, though (after the obligatory mourning period, of course). Royal marriages are good opportunities to cement the power of the ruling family by forming alliances with other powerful families (also to deter rebellion from said powerful families), so it doesn't seem like he would have stayed unmarried for very long. Especially since he only had one child with his deceased wife—gotta have backup heirs.
     Earth King Bumi! Wait, it's not him? What? 
  • Sorry if this is a stupid question and I probably just missed an episode but I thought that Bumi was the earth king, how did that guy with the bear end up in charge? Also did the Dai Li exist when Bumi was in charge, and if not how did they gain so much power so quickly? If they didn't exist why did Bumi allow them to exist?
    • Bumi was only king of Omashu. The other guy was the Earth King (king of the whole Earth Kingdom). The Dai Li were always there.
    • The way I always saw it was that the Earth Kingdom was actually closer to a federation of smaller territories, each of which have their own king or queen, united under the leadership of the King of Ba Sing Se, who therefore gets to be the Earth King. Of course, by the time the show roles around, only Omashu (King Bumi) and Ba Sing Se (Earth King) are still free of the Fire Nation. And the Dai Li were actually founded by Kyoshi, so they've been around for centuries (though they only came to completely control the throne with the last couple of Earth Kings in my headcanon, the show itself never specifies exactly when and how the group's Motive Decay from "protectors of Earth Kingdom cultural heritage" to "creepy tyrannical conspiracy" happened).
     Lu Ten's Mom 
  • Who was Lu Ten's mother? She's never, ever mentioned or shown in a flashback. If she had died, maybe in childbirth or something, she would be mourned for, like Lu Ten is. Iroh is royalty, so I'm going to assume that he was married to her, since it would be odd for royalty, especially someone like Iroh, to have an illegitimate child. And Iroh doesn't seem like the kind of person to have an affair or anything, although he does have that episode where he's rather creepily attracted to June. I know Iroh apparently went to the spirit world at some point, so maybe Lu Ten's mom was a spirit, but I've heard people say that he went to the spirit world after Lu Ten's death. It does make sense that his trip to the spirit world was after Lu Ten's death, since he seems to have changed a lot since then (in a flashback from when he was invading Ba Sing Se, before Lu Ten's death, he jokes about burning the city to the ground, something the Iroh we know would never say). So who is she? What happened to her? Why does know one mention or ask about her? I only realized it recently, after being a fan of the show for a long time. It's not something you think about, but once you realize it, it makes no sense at all.
    • If Lu Ten's mother died at childbirth, that was over 25 years ago (I assume Lu Ten was at least 20 when he died). So it makes sense Iroh would have gotten over her death, and wouldn't mourn her in the same way he mourns for Lu Ten. Lu Ten's death was more recent, and more importantly, Iroh feels he is responsible for him getting killed, as Lu Ten died under his command. So Iroh hasn't really gotten over the death of his son, but he has gotten over his wife's death, which is why he never mentions her.
      • I guess that makes some sense, but I still think she would be mentioned at least once. It's treated as if she never existed.
      • From the point of view of the series, she doesn't. ATLA revolves around three characters— Aang, Katara, and Zuko. We never hear anything about Iroh's wife because, by the time Zuko is born (and the Fire Nation story "starts"), she's presumably been dead for 10 years (going on the assumption that Lu Ten was 25ish when he died). Iroh is the only one who could "show" the audience his wife, or his son, and both are very painful subjects. They never appear on screen because Iroh doesn't want to talk to his adopted son about his deceased family, and Zuko never asks (on screen, anyway).
    • It's not too far-fetched that Iroh met his wife via an arranged marriage, especially give that Ozai's marriage to Ursa was also arranged. If that was the case, the bond between Iroh and his wife would likely not have been nearly as strong as the one he shared with Lu Ten.
     When did Iroh join the White Lotus 
  • Iroh is a member of the White Lotus, a society that's dedicated to upholding balance in the Avatar world, and it's implied that he's been a member for a long time. Also, many other things in his character, such as the fact that he traveled to meet dragons and managed to convince them that he is worthy of learning the secret of true firebending, suggest that he's always been dedicated to peace and balance. Why, then, did he agree to become a general in the Fire Nation army and attack against Ba Sing Se, even send his own son in the battle, when he must've known the whole war was against the ideals of balance and peace? Of course it's possible he didn't become a proper pacifist until after his son's death, but that was only a few years before the events of the series, and I got the impression that him joining the White Lotus and meeting the dragons had happened long before that.
    • My personal explanation is that until his son's death, he's subscribed to a My Country, Right or Wrong mentality.
    • I think that Iroh actually believed in Sozin’s original justification for the war at first; to him it was a matter of fulfilling his grandfathers desire to spread the resources and knowledge of the Fire Nation to others. Meeting the dragons would likely have caused him to question this mandate, but it was Lu Ten’s death that truly set off his Heel Realization.
     Northern Water Tribe's Policy vs Kyoshi Warriors' Policy 
  • How come the Kyoshi warriors never get called out on their sexist warrior training policy, but Pakku and the Northern Water Tribe do?
    • Because in the Avatar world discrimination against women is clearly more prominent than discrimination against men, and therefore what the Kyoshi warriors do can be seen as a form of positive discrimination, which is meant to undermine the larger phenomenon of sexism towards women.
    • We never really see the Kyoshi warriors turn down a male who wants to train with them, it just seems that they're "traditionally" female, and the uniform reflects that. They're not so much anti-man (the head of the village appears to be a man) as they were screwing with Sokka for being misogynist.
    • Exactly. Katara was rejected out of hand for the sole reason that she was a girl. The Kyoshi Warriors' rejection of Sokka, on the other hand, had nothing to do with him being male, but with him being rude, sexist, disrespectful, and (possibly) an outsider. Once he apologized, asked nicely, and agreed to adhere to the same standards as everyone else in the group, Suki accepted him pretty readily. In light of this, it seems less likely that the Kyoshi Warriors had a policy of "we will never, ever train a boy," and more like Sokka was the first boy who bothered to ask or was willing to wear the uniform.
    • Sokka was also applying to join a specific organization. Katara just wanted to learn something for her own use, and the law of the land forbade anyone from teaching her. If she'd been demanding to join a specific group or regiment of soldiers, she wouldn't have been entitled to be included unless she agreed to abide by all their customs like Sokka did in his case, but that wasn't what the Northern Tribe was forbidding.
     Dirty Old Iroh 
  • What was with Iroh being portrayed as a Dirty Old Man in that one scene with June in Bato of the Water Tribe? It seemed completely out of character (he never does anything like that in any other episode), just a shoehorned-in anime trope for the sake of the show's "American anime" credentials. That this is a particularly distasteful anime trope does not help matters.
    • Given how he occasionally jokes that Zuko needs a girlfriend, you might be able to stretch it and say he is a Dirty Old Man. Only normally, since Iroh is a Cool Old Guy too, he downplays it and just tries not to talk about it too much. I do agree that it seems pretty shoehorned in that episode though.
    • Maybe Iroh isn't a Dirty Old Man in general, but for June specifically? June is a rather unique woman, so maybe she's exactly Iroh's type, and the reason Iroh acts lecherous with her and no one else is because he doesn't meet anyone else like her during the series? Though it's true that his behaviour in that one scene still doesn't jibe with how Iroh is generally depicted.
    • Iroh was never "dirty" towards June. He clearly was attracted to her, but he did nothing most other men wouldn't do. While not young, Iroh is still strong and healthy, so it isn't strange that he is acting flirtatious sometimes.
      • Er, I don't think "most other men" would fake being paralyzed so that they could cop a feel of a woman who's temporarily paralyzed herself. That sort of behaviour is firmly in the Dirty Old Man category.
     Bloodbend Houdini 
  • So... What was up with Hama's escape plan? She bloodbends the guard to make him unlock her cage and flees. Pretty cool, yeah, much like Toph inventing Metalbending to escape captivity. But why does Hama not stop to think about either bloodbending the other guards into freeing some of the other waterbenders, or taking the keys from the guard she knocked out and freeing them herself? Yes, I know the "obvious" answer might be because she's crazy, but given how focused she is on revenge, you'd think she'd realize that freeing all of her tribe members would be perfect revenge. Then she could also pass bloodbending on to them instead of just getting lucky and meeting Katara later. Plus, even if she doesn't teach them bloodbending, the Southern Tribe gets its waterbenders back, they're better able to defend themselves again, families get reunited, and everyone's happy. So what gives, Hama?
    • Fridge Horror comes in here: Remember that Hama was the last of the Southern Tribe waterbenders. All the others had been captured years, or decades before. It's entirely possible that by the time she escaped, Hama was one of the last, if not the last, southern waterbenders still alive.
    • Also, most other people consider bloodbenders to be evil freaks of nature. It's entirely possible that she thought they wouldn't understand.
  • Exactly how old is Jeong-Jeong? We see in a flashback that he's old enough to know Avatar Roku, and he still looked pretty old there. He makes Bumi seem young in comparison!
    • There is no such flashback. What was there was Roku manifesting and yelling at Jeong Jeong in the present.
    • Roku is the previous avatar, and a Fire person to boot. No wonder Jeong Jeong recognizes him straight away, even if they never met.
     Knowledge of Bumi's kingship 
  • How come Aang didn't know about Bumi being King before going to Omashu? Assuming the title is hereditary, you'd think someone would've mentioned it to Aang at some point before he got frozen.
    • "Assuming the title is hereditary," Well, there's your problem.
    • Even if it is hereditary, it's still been 100 years since the last time Aang could have been there. Maybe he assumed that Bumi had died since then?
    • Even if it's hereditary, a lot could have happened in these 100 years. Dynasties come and go. Maybe the previous king/queen died without leaving a heir, and the citizens elected Bumi for his achievements or something.
    • It's likely that Bumi didn't come to rule Omashu through blood, based on 2 pieces of circumstantial evidence. 1) In flashbacks, Bumi is never addressed as a royal (though this could be for the viewer's surprise later) nor does he wear elegant clothes. Even a kid as eccentric as Bumi would probably be forced to wear royal clothes 24/7. 2) Though the audience knows very little of what happened to Bumi in the 100 years that passed, it is very apparent that there is no royal family nor any successors to the throne. Even a man like Bumi, as the king, would be still be interested in continuing the royal bloodline. This may suggest that there isn't one. Or that could be entirely wrong.
     Two sets of Ty Lee's Groups 
  • If Ty Lee's big goal was to set herself apart from the rest of her sister, why did she join a group where everybody looks the same?
    • Because she's still valued as an individual despite the fact that they're part of the same group.
     Azula's "empathy" for Zuko 
  • So does Azula actually care about Zuko? In the Season 2 finale, she humbly asked Zuko to join her so he can reclaim his honor. That sounds like nothing Azula would do unless it was a plan to ruin her brother, which it wasn't until she had a hunch Zuko knew Aang was alive in the beginning of Season 3. Also, through out Season 3 she seemed to wanted to support Zuko as prince without anything in return until he betrayed her in the second half.
    • For all that Azula is a self described "monster" she is human too. She does care about Zuko, and while she messes with his head, insults him, and sets him up for pranks, like when she got him and Mai together, she wouldn't try to hurt him or betray him unless she had to.
    • It also fit with Azula's personality. She later uses him as a shield against Ozai by letting him take credit for killing Aang. I don't think it's unreasonable that at the point during the finale fight, she realized she might lose and appealed to Zuko as a means of backup.
    • Azula herself answers this question. She tells Zuko, at one point, "The only way we win, is together." So she manipulates him in a way she knows he can't refuse, to ensure he joins her. If he were to join the Gaang, she'd be toast.
    • She does but she is complicated. To begin, no matter what she did, Zuko got what mattered: the knife, the love of the mother, actual trust in friends like Mai, and that made Azula furiously jealous at him. She was also VERY heavily influenced by Ozai his teachings along with Firebender "culture" such as the might makes right horseshit Sozin and Azulon perpetuated (Azula doesn't realize as of yet that Ozai's teachings and philosophies were what set the groundwork for her mental break). Also, because of her issues with their mother (in that Ursa neglected Azula but not for the reasons Azula thinks she did), she still does harbor some anger and jealousy against Zuko. Azula has a very corroded spirit because of the neglect. It's complicated; especially as the comics continue on. It's like, Zuko better understands what went wrong and is trying to rebuild or make a genuine bond with Azula. But, Azula is fucking broken at this point (even her return in "Smoke and Shadows" highly implies she traded off one psychosis for another) and it's difficult to determine what of Azula is her actual sisterly concern (such as we see before Zuko defects to join the Avatar) and which of her is her jealousy talking. At day's end; She does love Zuko, but for every bit of love she could have for him, there's an equal amount of jealousy.
     Mai and Tom Tom 
  • Unless Mai just straight up does not care about her baby brother (which is possible, I suppose), why would she agree to back down on the Bumi/Tom-Tom trade unless she thought they could get a better deal?
    • She might have just been following Azula's lead. You don't argue with the Fire Princess in the middle of a negotiation, after all, and she probably assumed (rightly or wrongly) that Azula had a plan that would include keeping her baby brother safe.
      • You don't cross the princess, as Azula showed she would torture Ty Lee until she agreed to join her crusade. Plus, Mai saw that Tom-Tom was happily giggling in the arms of his "captors," a boy and girl her age who are struggling to hold him. He was perfectly safe. Mai trusted that the same people who saved her from an assassination attempt Wouldn't Hurt a Child.
    • She probably wasn't very fond of her brother either, judging from the favoritism her parents showed to him.
    • What favoritism? They blatantly neglect him onscreen, mirroring what Mai says about her own childhood. Her parents are terrible to both their children.
    • She knows Azula well enough to know that she will do anything to enforce her will including killing Tom-Tom so he can't be used as hostage.
      • Mai and Ty Lee are both visibly distressed when Azula announces Mai will be in (nominal) charge of the exchange. This possibility is probably why.
    • The comic story Rebound shows that Mai DOES care about Tom-Tom: After her breakup with Zuko in The Promise, Mai is working with her Aunt in her flower shop. A boy name Kei-Lo successfully asks her out on a date. Kei-Lo takes her to where the New Ozai Society is meeting to try to overthrow Zuko. Her father is leading this group. Mai is already displeased at the fact that he is being petty (He refused a desk job Zuko offered him). Mai is angry when she sees Tom-Tom in a place that is preparing for war. She promptly picks Tom-Tom up, ties him to her back, and tells her father that she and Tom-Tom are leaving. Just before this, the two siblings greet each other by hugging each other. Mai then proceeds to fight off the New Ozai Society members, and takes Tom-Tom to her Aunt's flower shop.
      • That was very out-of-character for Mai. She never showed any care towards her brother in the series but then suddenly decides to protect him in the comics.
      • That's just it; showed. That doesn't mean she doesn't care about him at all.
      • And there's also a thing called Character Development.
      • And there's the blink-and-you'll miss it reaction of shock and upset from Mai and Ty Lee when Azula makes it clear she will be interfering in the hostage exchange. Mai would have known just jow dangerous it was for Azula to know she cared about her brother, and indeed, when Azula wants to hurt her in Smoke and Shadow, she does so by going after Tom-Tom.
     Karma Houdinis against Azula 
  • Mai and Ty Lee get off ridiculously easy for their role in Azula's exploits. While you could argue they were helping out of fear, especially Ty Lee, they still had little problem helping the Fire Nation score one of their biggest victories, and got the Kyoshi Warriors thrown in an Alcatraz-like prison. What's more, Mai doesn't really indicate that she fears Azula that much. She was throwing knives at the heroes before Azula came along, even saying "She can throw as much lightning as she wants at me, I am not going in there." Wouldn't they at least have to pay off a debt to the Earth Kingdom before they can try to join the Gaang?
    • Mai doesn't fear Azula in a straight fight. What she does fear at the time is the risk of being the cause of destruction for her family's political power. Remember "The Beach", when Mai was allowed freedom so long as she never got out of line with her parents who were at the time, grasping at Ozai's coattails of power. Mai turning against her at that point would've ruined her family and it would've been revealed as her fault. Ty Lee probably revealed to the Kyoshi Warriors at prison that she was an abuse victim just as much as Mai was. All she'd have to say is "Azula recruited me by setting my circus on fire", and you'd have a sympathetic ear. Did they get off light? Perhaps. Duress is a common legal argument of our time, maybe not theirs, but when your orders are "do or die", you're bound to get an ear.
    • Fwiw, Sokka and some of the Kyoshi warriors aren't comfortable with accepting someone into their fold who impersonated them. He reacts with a Jaw Drop, and two of them that she hugs have The Unsmile. Ty Lee earned her way into the Kyoshi Warriors by teaching them chi-blocking, and Suki made the call to accept her on seeing how valuable that would be. Presumably, the other Warriors are keeping an eye on Ty Lee to make sure she doesn't get up to any monkey business and ensure that she does right by their reputation. As for Mai? She'll only have to pay the debt if she ever returns to the Earth Kingdom. For now, she's focused on staying where it's safe for her to never confornt the consequences of her actions.
     Inconsistencies of Blows 
  • In "The Runaway", Sokka receives an uppercut from a large mountain-like rock formation and it's Played for Laughs. So why is it when Jet receives a similar blow from a significantly smaller rock formation in "Lake Laogai", it kills him?
    • Because not all attacks are exactly the same. The blow Jet took was clearly intended to kill. The one Sokka took clearly wasn't. You might as well ask, "Apollo Creed was killed by a punch to the head. So how would anyone survive a friendly punch on the shoulder from Rocky?"
    • But then how would an Earth bender be able to control the impact? Especially if the formation pops out of the ground at such a quick speed. You can throw a rock at me as fast as you want, but even with a light throw intended to peg, it's going to hurt. A pebble on the other hand, would not.
    • How would someone who is using a fighting style that amounts to "control Earth" control the impact of the earth that they're controlling for the attack? Is that what you're asking?
    • What I'm saying is watching both scenes, both formations make an impact at a great speed. How can it be said that a bigger formation going around the same speed as a smaller formation will do less damage. Maybe I don't understand the concept of controlling the impact of Earth, not Earth itself. For example, an archer maybe able to control where an arrow goes, but if he launches an arrow at someone without intending to kill, it wouldn't matter.
      • It's not like loosing an arrow at all. It's like throwing a punch. Long Feng was throwing a punch intending to kill, Aang is throwing a punch clearly not intending to kill. They're martial artists, meaning they train to have extremely good control over what they're doing. What you're asking amounts to, "Why did Jet die when someone was deliberately trying to kill him, but Sokka didn't when the person hitting him was clearly not intending to kill him?"
    • In "Lake Laogai," Long Feng (presumably) shot the rock right at Jet in the chest. In "The Runaway," Aang raised up a giant rock that Sokka then ran into. Maybe Sokka should have really gotten a broken nose out
of the deal, but as Jet wasn't moving at the time, it's safe to assume Long Feng did not raise a rock in front of him and let him run into it the way Aang did with Sokka.
  • Word of God says to kill someone with bending you have to have to bend with intent to kill. Simple.
     Sozin's Motivations for the War 
  • Why did Sozin start the war in the first place. From the flashback he doesn't seem to be insane, he seems to be a rather nice fellow all things said and his stated goal was "I have all this wealth and I want to share it with the world." Sure it might ultimately have lead to an expansion of the Fire Kingdom but it seems to me that he has a very funny way of showing his desire to make the world a better place.
    • All we see is, that he is nice towards his friends. Even horrible people have friends. Since he clearly views Fire Nation as superior to other countries, he thinks that by forcing their way of life on others, everyone will be happy in the end. Or maybe he's just Affably evil.
    • If Avatar Roku had supported him, Sozin might have done just what he said he'd do. Instead, Roku opposed him and single-handedly stopped his grand plans. Sozin grew bitter and decided that no-one would stand in his way ever again, even if he had to kill every bender in the world to ensure it; hence the brutal oppression.
      • There's a theory that the Fire Nation was getting seriously overpopulated (look at how many Fire Nation people we see for such a small landmass, and that's after a hundred years of war), so Sozin had to conquer some more land just to give his people room to live.
    • Also, Sozin's only confirmed casualties were those from the Air nomad genocides, which he did specifically to ensure that the Avatar wouldn't get in his way again. He spent the rest of his life searching for Aang, and it was his son Azulon who started attacking the Water Tribes and suppressing other benders.
     How did Azula's offer work? 
  • So, irrespective of why Azula simply knew Zuko joining her was gonna be essential, and Zuko actually thinking that trusting Azula was worth selling out his uncle, why did it work?? First of all, Zuko was banished until he captured the Avatar. He still didn't have the Avatar. Secondly, he USED to be banished until he captured the Avatar. As of Season 2 he was declared an outlaw for his and Iroh's treason at the North. Why was that never an issue again. Is it another of those "he's still family" things. It's hardly implied that Ozai had a masterplan involving Zuko like Azula and Ozai Zuko still totally down with murdering in Season 3.
    • Even if he didn't capture the Avatar, he (apparently) helped kill him, and helped capture the only major remaining Earth Kingdom stronghold that had been resisting the Fire Nation.
    • So? That still isn't what he was asked to do, he was asked to restore his honor, not help Azula. The Avatar is still gonna reborn during Ozai's reign, he's if anything more of problem then when he sent Zuko away. And Zuko was still guilty of repeated treasonous acts by the time he finally joined back up with Azula.
    • The Avatar might be reborn, but won't be a threat to anyone for a decade or more, during which Ozai controls the Earth Kingdom the Avatar will be born in. Zuko can easily be pardoned for the treason when he makes up for it by single-handedly ending the war in Ozai's favor. Just because that isn't what he was "asked" to do is utterly irrelevant at that point.
      • Again, he didn't do it singlehandedly. It was 90% Azula, maybe 10% Zuko. And that was in version that Azula sold to Ozai after she suspected the Avatar was still alive. That's not even what happened and they were long since back from banishment before he learnt about that.

        It's like...if you sent your kid out to get groceries, but instead they come back with a winning lottery ticket for $10,000, are you really going to hold it against them that they technically didn't do what you asked them to?
      • "during which Ozai controls the Earth Kingdom the Avatar will be born in" — Um, no. The whole point of keeping Aang alive was that if he died, the next Avatar would be born in the Water Tribe — likely the impenetrable Northern, given that the Southern was almost extinct.
    • He technically is held responsible for the death of an Admiral and the failure to conquer the Northern Watertribe along with his uncle. It's not a minor bobo.
      • Considering he didn't actually do either of those things, you don't think the dictator of the country can change the story? You know, like the Fire Nation is shown doing over and over during the series?
      • I'm sure Ozai could, but why would he want to? He sent Azula out to capture Zuko and Iroh as prisoners, she decides of her own accord to go in another direction and pardon Zuko instead and what Ozai has to say doesn't figure into it all? I mean, when they get back she decided to give him credit for killing the Avatar, cause she guessed from her conversatioon with him that the Avatar might have survived but that was long after they were on a boat back to the place he was banished from even before he was branded criminal. It's a rather jarring change from S1 where Zhao was pretty sure he could kill Zuko without any reprecusions whatsoever. And most of Zuko's Season 2 character arc was about accepting that capturing the Avatar would no longer solve his problem. Iroh pretty much stated this word for word.
      • As for Zhao, he also thought he could get away with killing the moon without any ill effects. Zhao is mistaken about a lot of things. And, on some level, Ozai probably still cared about Zuko—and finding out that his son and heir not only succeeded in removing the Avatar, but also helped hand him the last remaining stronghold against him and end the war, would trump whatever he felt previously. Part of the reason Zuko accepted not capturing the Avatar is he didn't have see any opportunity for it to do him any good—but then in comes Azula offering to give him back everything he had lost and thought he had wanted.
      • So at the end of the day, Iroh was just plain wrong and the only real reason Zuko was allowed to go back is because both his sister and father did care for him and valued his company regardless of his accomplishments. Cause you know, he did absolutely nothing towards capturing Ba Sing Se or Iroh. It was all the Dai Lee, as far as we know.
      • No, not at all. Are you even listening? Zuko turns the fight around—if he's not there, Aang and Katara kick the crap out of Azula. Hell, Katara alone was beating Azula. The only reason they're able to take Ba Sing Se is because Azula killed Aang, and Azula was only able to do that because Zuko sided with her. Taking Ba Sing Se is very much thanks to Zuko.
      • Isn't it equally as possible that Azula only made amends with him because if she didn't she'd die? Then Ozai allowed him back into the country half because Azula vouched for him, half because he trusted Azula was up to something, and half because he's an asshole? Knowing what we know about Ozai and Azula, I always assumed Zuko was allowed back into the Fire Nation because they both knew that somehow, someway, it was all gonna blow up in Zuko's face. Fucking over their relatives is an honored pastime in the royal family so how they personally felt about Zuko doesn't really matter so much.
    • Azula was going to hand Zuko everything he thinks he ever wanted on a silver platter: A chance to return home and be loved by his family. "The enemy of my enemy is my friend." Sure, we know that Azula was going to have a card up her sleeve about that; but to Zuko, a man desperate to return home, that was a risk he was going to take.
     Zuko and the Fleet 
  • During the Siege of the North, why didn't Zuko take Aang back to the Fire Nation fleet? It would have been dangerous because of the fighting, but definitely no more dangerous than wandering around in a blizzard. He couldn't have been worried about a second attempt by Zhao, it's one thing to insult a disgraced prince and one thing (one very crazy thing) to try to assassinate a disgraced prince. But trying to kill that prince just as he's accomplished his mission and is in front of thousands of very patriotic soldiers who probably still have a great deal of respect for Iroh? Even Zhao wouldn't be that idiotic.
    • Zuko wanted to bring the Avatar to the Fire Nation on his own. In his mind, if he just brought it to the Fleet, then it didn't count—not to mention that Zhao would do his damnedest to take the credit for it.
    • Zhao wouldn't need to assassinate Zuko, he'd just imprison him and take the Avatar from him.
      • If Zhao can't kill him we have no reason to think he can imprison him.
      • Zhao had, you know, a whole fleet of ships. That kinda would have helped.
      • Zhao had all that before. He still had to hire pirates to blow up Zuko's ship for him and he couldn't openly admit to planning the attempted assassination. If he couldn't do that when Zuko was just a disgraced prince how exactly would Zhao suddenly have the ability to openly imprison or murder him when Zuko's caught the Avatar? We have no reason to think that Zhao's soldiers are anything other than loyal, patriotic citizens of the Fire Nation who would presumably see Zuko's victory as a good thing.
      • Zhao is an ADMIRAL, he has the right to detain Zuko if he wants too. Hell, he had that right as a Commander in episode 3, he didn't have too agree to the Agni Kai. And whose talking about openly. Are they gonna spent every second of the return home in front of the entire shippersonel? No. They are however gonna spend the entire trip home on Zhao's ship, under Zhao command, with Aang in Zhao's cells. And really, it's too hard too imagine that in a fleet of hundreds/thousands, Zhao can put together a couple of thuggish Fire Nation soldiers?
      • He hired pirates because he wanted his involvement in the assassination covered up, not because Zhao couldn't touch him.
      • Also, Zuko Didn't Think This Through. Even if going to Zhao was an option, he was going to wait out an ice storm and succumb to hypothermia.
     Nice Job Breaking It Iroh 
  • Is nearly everything that happens in the story Iroh's fault? Think about it: up until Azulon's death, Iroh was the Crown Prince and the next Fire Lord. In a case of extremely bad timing, Ozai pulled his coup right after the death of Iroh's son, which had triggered Iroh's transformation into the man we see him as in the show. Iroh, seeing little he wanted in the throne, therefore did not contest it when Ozai claimed it for his own under extremely suspicious circumstances. All through the show Iroh tries to tell Zuko that destiny isn't a big thing, and what really matters is what the individual wants. However the show never addresses the cost of this philosophy: by following what he wanted to do, Iroh handed the throne of a militaristic industrial powerhouse over to a warmongering psychopath. Ironically, he leaves it to his student, Zuko, to clean up his mess.
    • To put it bluntly, that's not true. Considering Ozai apparently made the Fire Nation at large think that Azulon had revoked Iroh's birthright before he died, not that he'd simply taken the throne by force, Iroh could've figured that his failure at Ba Sing Se and the loss of his only son was enough to disgrace himself in his father's eyes, and that trying to stake his claim to the throne against Ozai would only make him seem like a traitor. So he didn't hand the throne to Ozai - it was probably already done by the time he made it back to the Fire Nation. There was nothing he could do.
      • Dynastic rights are a huge deal in monarchies, so it's unlikely people would just take it on face value that Iroh had been disinherited in favor of Ozai right before dying, especially since it was Ozai, the sole benefactor, who was saying it. That's about as suspicious as my house going up in flames the day after I bought an insurance policy on it. And that leaves aside Iroh himself simply letting it pass rather than investigating the matter, despite knowing what kind of a person his brother is: would Zuko have trusted Azula, in similar circumstances? One can guess that Iroh let the matter slide rather than risk a civil war, but the show never addresses that possibility.
      • They seemed to take it at face value when Ozai stripped Zuko of his birthright and banished him for speaking out of turn - it doesn't seem like things would've been any different for Iroh, especially with Ozai taking anyone who may've questioned his rule out of the picture. Iroh especially wouldn't have had any grounds on which to object, since Azulon had died by an untraceable poison, meaning there's nothing to suggest foul play - not to mention he was getting on in age and without an heir. The war had already been going on for several decades at this point, and even if he had managed to take his rightful place on the throne, it would've only been a temporary fix.
      • You also assume that Iroh underwent a Heel–Face Turn the moment he found out his son had died, or anytime soon afterward. Odds are, like Zuko, he underwent a lot of emotional turmoil before adopting his new lifestyle, during which time he would've been in no shape to rule over a nation that was in wartime. Remember how Zuko lost his firebending after switching to Aang's side? The same thing probably happened to Iroh when he lost his drive to fight, stripping him of anything he could've used to try and challenge Ozai.
     Teo's Bandages 
  • Are Teo's bandages there to cover a bunch of pressure sores, or do they have some other purpose?
    • Probably in order to keep his legs from dangling all over the place, since its heavily implied his limbs are now useless. I'd expect, flying through the air and in a wheelchair where your legs are sticking out in front of you, one would tie the legs down in order to keep them out of the way.
     Zuko's Hair 
  • What's up with Zuko's hairstyle during Book One? The standard hairstyle among the Fire Nation elite seems to be a longish hair tied to knot at the top of the head, but we never see anyone besides Zuko whould combine the top knot with the sides of the head shaved bald. In the flashbacks to Zuko's pre-banishment life, we see that he has the standard hair (top knot, no shaved sides), and when he returns to the Fire Nation in Book Three he has it again, so it's only in Book One where his head is shaved. Does the shaved hair have something to do with the banishment? Is it a symbol of his shame or something?
    • Possibly. A few different East Asian traditions say cutting your hair is an affront to your parents. Your body is a gift from your parents and it's rude if not outright dishonorable to refuse or alter that gift, basically saying it's not good enough. Being a disgraced Prince he might have been forced, or at least urged strongly, to shave his head to show the disconnect between him and his family. Or we're overthinking this, and long hair just isn't that great when you're in combat. Nobles have long hair but we haven't seen any soldiers with any.
  • another (relatively minor) one about Zuko's hair: in The Search, he's drawn with uniformly short hair, but still manages to wear the traditional Fire Nation topknot at times, which would require the crown section of his hair to be much longer. Could be hand waved that he prefers a short hairstyle, but wears a fake topknot as part of the royal regalia, but one scene shows him holding his metal band and flame-pin in one panel (no fake hair in sight), and in the next panel with he's got his hair in a topknot. That would require his hair to grow at least four inches between panels.
     Azula's Punishment (Or Lack Thereof) 
  • So in "The Eclipse", Ozai learns that Azula A) failed to kill the Avatar, B) lied about it, and C) brought Zuko back to the Fire Nation and tricked Ozai into reinstating him under false pretenses. There is no indication whatsoever that she was ever punished for any of it. But this is a man who previously challenged his son to a duel for speaking out of turn and then burnt half his face off for not putting up enough of a fight. Is he really going to let all that go? The whole reason Azula gave Zuko the credit in the first place is that she was afraid of what Ozai might do if the Avatar turned up alive again, and that was without all the lies on top of it.
    • It's because he just straight up hates Zuko and favors Azula, simple as that.
    • Also with Zuko switching sides, that makes Azula his only available heir so Ozai cant just imprison, banish or execute her.
    • Well, he basically treats her like dirt in the series finale and leaves her with a worthless position, so while for the above reasons he didn't see fit to scar or banish her, her failure and deception obviously lost her a lot of points with Daddy.
    • Ozai is a psychological abuser just as much as a physical one. To a young girl so desperate for attention and love, shunning and discarding her just like he did Zuko was outright DEVASTATING to her. Odds are good that sick sonofabitch went and deliberately gave her that power knowing full well it would break her.
     Fake Kyoshi Stupidity 
  • The whole "fake Kyoshi Warriors" plot in the season 2 finale depends on no one recognizing Azula, Ty Lee, and Mai. They manage to pull it off because Aang, Sokka, and Toph happened to leave just before they arrived, and Katara was occupied elsewhere – but Azula & co. couldn't have known that. Based on what happens in The Drill, they know the Gaang is in Ba Sing Se, so it wouldn't be a particularly wild guess to presume the Avatar is staying as the Earth King's guest. Azula should have known that their whole cover would be blown if anyone from the Gaang happened to see them, and even these three girls aren't powerful enough to fight all the troops in the palace. (It's true that the Gaang managed to get inside the palace by force, but they had three master benders and Appa as means of escape.) So Azula is taking a huge risk, and it pays off only because she got extremely lucky, but it doesn't really fit with her chessmaster type of personality to make a plan that depends on luck.
    • 1: Their Kyoshi Warrior disguises are a lot better than any other disguise we see in the series. If they ran into the Gaang they can just pretend they're not the two or three lead Kyoshi Warriors they're probably more familiar with, say they're new recruits or something. 2: The fact she didn't need a backup plan is by no means indication she didn't have one. Dressing as the Kyoshi Warriors may have only been the first step in the plan, meant to get them to the palace and nothing else. They weren't relying on luck so much as taking advantage of it once it arose. 3: Sokka opened his mouth when he heard that three Kyoshi Warriors had arrived and were deemed trustworthy on hearing the name "Kyoshi Warriors", causing the Earth King to trust in them immediately, with Sokka none the wiser that they weren't imposters.
      • What could that backup plan have been? As mentioned above, if any members of the Gaang had met them in the palace, they might've been recognized, and then they would've had to face all the palace troops plus the Gaang, in the middle of enemy territory with no one there to help them. What kind of a backup could they have had for situation like that? So yeah, Azula's plan definitely depended on them being lucky enough not to encounter the Gaang.
      • You're forgetting how huge Ba Sing Se is. Azula and her friends did get lucky in not running into any of the team when they got into the city, but even if they had, they still made it into the city. Considering how well the past encounters with them have fared, I've no doubt that the three of them could've escaped and gone into hiding before the authorities had a chance to capture them. It might not have been as beneficial as gaining the loyalty of the Dai Li, but there's still damage they could've done once they were within the walls.
     Why Wan Shi Tong let Zhao In 
  • When talking about his plan to destroy the moon, Zhao mentions having discovered the information to do so from a hidden library. Later, in season 2 the gang hides the same library, which is owned by a human distrusting spirit named Wan Shi Tong who forbids the gang from using the library unless they produce an item of scholastic value. Now I'm just wondering how Zhao was able to enter and gain information from the library, considering he hardly fits the scholarly nor spiritual type and with his attitude, Wa Shi Tong would have killed him on the spot and he'd never make it to the library to burn off the section focusing on the Fire Nation, so how was he able to make off with the information on the moon spirit?
    • Wan Shi Tong distrusts humans because of Zhao. He was presumably more open about letting the occasional person in before someone went and burned a section down.
    • Not being a scholar means Zhao doesn't have access to books? Even if he's not super spiritual, spirits are a fact of the Avatar universe. If he was able to find out about the library he definitely had the means to find out about the "bring me some knowledge" rule, so he brought a history text with him and just pretended not to be interested in torching the place until after he was inside.
    • If Sokka showing a knot counts, you don't think that Zhao's knowledge of military tactics and history would count?
     Momo's Survival 
  • How was Momo alive after a hundred years?
    • He wasn't. Where are you getting the idea that he was?
      • Probably from the fact that the Fire Nation, I don't know... Wiped out all of the Airbenders and the Sky Bisons a hundred years ago? And you expect me to believe they spared the sky lemurs if they didn't even spare the bisons? And also the fact that he was completely alone in the Air Temple with no hint of having any living parents mentioned.
    • Think about it, the Sky Bison were large and very easy to find. Plus, they gave the Air Nomads a great advantage due their use as transportation, which was a good reason to eliminate them. The flying lemurs were very small and could hide easily, and their extinction wouldn’t give the Fire Nation any advantage. It would be like attempting to hunt down every rat in existence.
     Ozai's Priorities 
  • Ozai sends Azula to capture Iroh and Zuko. Wouldn't it make more sense for Ozai to have her focus on the rebels' (aka the Gaang's) capture? I mean, they've been regularly skirmishing local Fire Nation forces in the Earth Kingdom, and then there's the loss of half the Fire Nation's fleet and Zhao's death. None of that would EVER go unnoticed by high-ranking officials and the Fire Lord. Knowing Ozai, he would not stand for this. Realistically, he should've had Azula drop the hammer in the Earth Kingdom. The Gaang's actions may as well have inspired unrest and uprisings. Ozai's priorities were ''really'' skewed here. The only reason Azula wanted to capture Aang was because she wanted the Avatar's head on a trophy wall.
    • This presumes that nobody knew that the Avatar created a giant sea monster to wipe out the fleet. Why the fuck would he go out there and fight THAT!?! He knew to bide his time until Sozin's Comet, when his firebending would be enough to wipe out an Earth Kingdom and the Avatar in the same vein. Odds are good he knew exactly what the Avatar was capable of; so why send Azula? Well, in case you really missed the subtext in the story, Ozai does not give a solitary fuck about his children. Azula, gifted as she was, is nothing more to him than a weapon. Azula wanted the Avatar not just as a trophy mount. As a girl desiring love and affection, she thought the Avatar's head as a present would have pleased him and on a petty level, it's one more thing she can leverage over Zuko as a victory.
     The Dai Li's Plan 
  • What exactly was the Dai Li's plan for Aang when he first comes to Ba Singh Se? They have Appa, and there's a scene where they say that Aang's search for Appa is creating a lot of risk for them. Why do they keep Appa then? I would think they'd want the avatar out of there as soon as possible, so why do they keep him hidden and risk the avatar turning on them? I would think the best thing for them to do would be to give Aang Appa, pretend to help him plan the black sun attack, and send him on his way. The motivations don't make much sense to me here.
    • The idea was to kidnap Appa and make Aang think he was somewhere far away so he'd leave Ba Sing Se looking for him. They didn't want to openly threaten the Avatar, or accept his aid, or pretend to, or do anything that might cause a scene or put Aang into contact with people who might actually listen to him. They were just trying to get him out of the city as quickly as possible. Now whether that was the smartest plan is certainly debatable, but that was their line of thinking.
    • They probably thought that the Gaang might try using Appa to storm the palace and speak to the Earth King, like they eventually ended up doing.
    • Upon rewatching that batch of episodes, the Dai Li's problem with the Gaang was that they kept inquiring about the war plans, not about Appa's whereabouts. When they meet Long Feng, he threatens them by telling them that if they continue mentioning the war to the other townspeople, he'll have them expelled from the city and they won't be able to continue looking for Appa there - they don't find out that the Dai Li are holding Appa themselves until they meet up with brainwashed-Jet.
     Lame Story 
  • How did Ozai ever manage to become the Fire Lord? From what I understand, Iroh, as the firstborn, was set to inherit the throne from Azulon, who seemed like he was against revoking his birthright like Ozai had proposed. So why wasn't Iroh given the title after Ursa killed Azulon?
    • Ozai basically took the throne by force. The show doesn't elaborate on how he did it, but with Azulon out of the way he declared himself Firelord, probably by spreading some lie about Azulon making Ozai his heir instead of Iroh. Iroh himself, having become disillusioned with war after losing his son, probably didn't even bother to contest the claim. With no alternative and Ozai likely killing anyone who spoke out against him, everyone just went along with it.
     When did Iroh turn good 
  • How long before the series started was Iroh's Heel–Face Turn? Throughout the show, we're led to believe that it was kickstarted by the death of his sun, as we see him laughing over the prospect of burning Ba Sing Se to the ground in "Zuko Alone"...However, when Aang and Zuko go looking for the ancient Sun Warriors, Zuko tells of how Iroh killed the last of the dragons, long before Zuko was born. We find out later in the episode that he actually lied about killing them to keep the existence of the Sun Warriors a secret, so why would he lie to keep them safe if he was still pro-Fire Nation at that point in his life?
    • He could still have been pro-Fire Nation in general, but against the practice of hunting and killing dragons. It doesn't seem like there was one single event which caused Iroh's Heel–Face Turn, it was more like a long and gradual disillusionment with the Fire Nation's policies. His son's death certainly made him more disillusioned, but during season 1 he's still working for the benefit of the Fire Nation and Ozai. Even his attack on Zhao is not really a betrayal of the Fire Nation rather than a move against a lunatic who wants to kill the Moon. It's not until the season 2 finale that his Heel Face Turn is finalised and he's actually working for the Avatar.
    • I think you're a bit mistaken. Iroh's actions during the first part of the series were largely in support of Zuko's endeavors, not strictly the Fire Nation's, and he'd been a member of the Order of the White Lotus from the very beginning (he calls them his "old friends"), a society that strives for similar goals as the Avatar does. He directly opposed the Fire Nation as early as the start of season 2, and clearly didn't have any plans for returning at any time after that.
     Jet's Lie 
  • How could Jet conceivably have lied when he told Katara he would be alright after Long Feng wounded him? How did he knew that his wounds were fatal and couldn't be healed?
    • Same way a friend lies to you when he/she says "there's nothing wrong" when they're obviously troubled by something: To put their problems out of your mind. Jet knew his wounds were fatal but with Long Feng and by extent the Dai Li approaching too quickly, he knew there wasn't going to be enough time. Also, I think the writers planned ahead with Aang getting shot by lightning by Azula to cap off the season and thus couldn't extend the special healing water plot device for both him and Aang.
    • Alternatively, Katara simply didn’t want to use the Spirit Oasis Water on Jet. She’s not particularly fond on him. With water healing, she was probably able to see that he was on the brink of death but didn’t want to use it anyways. She might have wanted to use it in a situation where it was more “important”. If true, that would be kind of selfish of her to do, but not unbelievable, especially towards Jet.
    • Jet's been a fighter for a long time. Chances are he's killed before, and that he's been injured before, so he has some sense of how severe a wound could be.
     Mental Shock 
  • For the record, I do not consider it a plot hole or a real irksome issue but something out of curiosity: How did Azula manage to manipulate lightning despite being in the middle of a mental breakdown? Could it have been she really mastered lightning that well or did what we know of it from Iroh end up being either a half-truth or that there is more to the art than he knew?
    • I've seen something suggested elsewhere saying that lightningbending requires a singular thing for you to focus on, and that both hatred and "nothing" can be used for that focus...or something like that. My personal guess is that it's just a sign that Azula is that much of a prodigy, and also serves as foreshadowing of similarly gifted benders in The Legend of Korra. (Like lavabenders, psychic bloodbenders, curveball combustion benders, etc.)
     The Search 
  • There's one part of Ozai and Ursa's deal in "The Search" that I'm trying to make sense of, and that's his use of their two children as "collateral." After Ursa supplies him with the poison that will kill Azulon, he demands that she leave the palace out of fear that she'll use the same poison on him someday, but he makes her leave Azula and Zuko behind, promising that they'll remain alive and safe as long as Ursa obeys his orders. How did he intend to follow through with this, though? What was his thought process? "If you dare manage to poison me someday, Ursa, I'll make sure our children pay for it by killing them...even though I'll already be dead from the poison."
    • It's not conditional on whether Ozai is dead, it's conditional on whether Ursa stays away.
    • In that case, why bother with conditions? Zuko and Azula are the only two reasons Ursa would want to return to the palace. Unless Ozai thinks she wants to poison him for killing Ikem, why insist on keeping the only things from the palace that she's connected to?
    • If he lets her take them with her, then, in his mind, there's absolutely nothing stopping her from either telling people what he did or killing him herself. They're collateral. That's how collateral works.
  • Another question about "The Search" is why Ozai insists on Zuko remaining with him. I can understand Azula - he favors her and she's a firebending prodigy, but he hates Zuko. He thinks he's a weakling, and was intent on killing him before Ursa stepped in. And Ozai threatening Azula would probably be enough for Ursa to remain compliant.
    • Because he's still the heir and he's additional collateral.
    • To elaborate a bit more on the above; two kids means you can lose one and still keep an heir to the throne. Azula's gifted and his (probably) ideal heir, but if she were to god forbid die in combat, then he's out of an successor with Zuko and her gone (unless he has more with another wife, the royal family seems blessed with long lives). Iroh only had one child and thus lost any other way to continue the family bloodline.
  • One last question about The Search. Ozai says that he can't resist Azulon's order to kill Zuko, but that he is a "merciful man" and is waiting until Zuko is asleep so he won't feel a thing...While these were some unique circumstances, doesn't this merciful side to him kind of clash with his character in the series proper? He basically denounced Zuko as his son because of Ursa's lie about Ikem, nearly burned his face off, sent him on a wild goose chase to find the Avatar just because he wanted him out of the way, and tried to kill him with lightning when Zuko turned against him. Would he really be concerned with being merciful in this instance? Or was this part of the story something Ursa sugarcoated a bit when she told it to Zuko, so he wouldn't think his father had actually wanted to kill him as a child?
    • Either way, a kill's a kill so it's not as much merciful as Ozai's making it sound like it is. Perhaps Ursa sugarcoated it a bit; but if I were to put myself in her shoes; it'd be rather hard to tell her son that her father wanted him dead. It would be something a younger Zuko couldn't accept but the older one who already survived a murder attempt or 5 by comics is ready to accept.
    • It'd be more merciful in the sense that he's letting Zuko die without seeing it coming, meaning his last living moments will have been spent sleeping peacefully instead of being confronted with the fact that his own father was forced to strike him down and kill him. (At least that would've been the case if Azula hasn't told him about the death sentence beforehand, but even then, Zuko was still in denial about it.)
    • Not really. That's like saying "Hey sport, we're gonna kill you by lethal injection instead of the electric chair!" The needle's gonna hurt a hell of a lot less, sure, but that's still death.
    • It's really not like that, because Ozai's method of doing it involved not telling Zuko beforehand, so he wouldn't have known it was coming.
    • Not, it's exactly like that. Ozai's still going to murder Zuko. How the hell does the method make it any better?
    • Please don't get so worked up over this. I never said "better", I said "more merciful". One course of action would have Ozai march right up to a fully-conscious and aware Zuko and kill him in a way that Zuko would almost assuredly see coming and be terrified of. Whereas Zuko being killed in his sleep spares him the trauma of knowing his own father wanted him dead. The actual cause of death was not significant; it's the victim's awareness of their impending death that I was referring to.

    Combustion Man trying to kill Aang no matter what 
  • In "The Western Air Temple", when Zuko tells Combustion Man the hit on Aang is off and offers to pay him twice as much as he intially promised, why does Combustion Man still try to kill Aang? Zuko is the person who hired him in the first place, and he has no personal reasons for wanting Aang dead. He's supposed to be a professional hitman, so is there any reason for him to disobey his employer and refuse a larger compensation than what he was originally promised?
    • He's a Fire Nation national, and one that the Prince knows enough about to hire directly. It's possible that he's genuinely loyal to the Fire Nation and its goals, and once he realizes his target is the Fire Nation's single biggest enemy, he wants to do "the right thing" for his country.
    • Then why does he burn the note that would've informed the Fire Nation leadership about the Avatar being alive, instead of letting the messenger hawk carry it to its destination?
    • Maybe he wants to do it himself for the glory and/or honor. Or he won't get paid if someone else gets to the Avatar before him. There's also that he was hired by Zuko to eliminate the Avatar to cover up that Zuko didn't kill him — Zuko might have instructed him to not let anyone else find out the Avatar is alive.
    • Pride. You've got a reputation for being an amazing hitman and you've gotten punked by kids on multiple occasions. After a while, it gets personal.
    • According to the character page, Word of God is that the reason he kept trying to kill Aang after Zuko told him to stop is because he figured Ozai would be willing to pay him more if he went through with it.

    Bumi being royalty 
  • In The King of Omashu, Aang is tasked with figuring out the titular king's name, which he soon realizes his old friend Bumi. But why did he never mention Bumi being a prince growing up to Katara and Sokka?
    • Who said he was born a prince? Umashu might pick its kings a different way.
    • Indeed, given that Bumi is pretty much the strongest earthbender we see in the entire show (not counting Kyoshi), it's possible the king in Omashu is chosen in an earthbending contest or something.

     Ty Lee and auras 
  • Can Ty Lee really see auras or is it just assumptions she makes based on personalities and moods?
    • It's always been a "take my word for it" sort of thing. She says something, the others just roll with it.

     Suki not recognizing Zuko 
  • If Suki and the other Kyoshi Warriors had been working as guards at the Full Moon Bay, how did none of them recognize Zuko, the guy with a large distinctive scar who almost burned their village to the ground, when he and Iroh came through?
    • He's got different hair, different clothing, is behaving differently and she's not that familiar with him, being an Earth Kingdom citizen. His burn scar won't stand out as much in universe as there's been a century long war going on and likely a lot of people have similar scars.

    So the Earth King just does... nothing? 
  • So the Earth King learns that the society he's supposed to be in charge of has been taken over and he just decides to abandon it to go traveling? Sure he's a Non-Action Guy but still, being the Earth King, someone who would likely command a lot of respect and have swathes of supporters around the world, shouldn't he still be able to do something or have some amount of influence to try and save his people? He's the Earth King, the leader of the most powerful civilization that isn't the Fire Nation.
    • And he has no idea how to use that power. The first time he tried to use his authority in Ba Sing Se, he suffered a coup and then a foreign occupation. Not to mention that he only ever gave vague instructions like ordering Long Feng's arrest or committing his army to the invasion plan. He has no idea how to organise his subjects or lead them - which is what he went off to learn. Doing anything like trying to gather the remnants of his army would have just pt a huge target on his back.