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The real reason Zhao let himself die
Two theories, actually.

Zuko already knew that he was the descendant of Avatar Roku.
And he hates to be reminded of this fact since he grew up learning that the Avatar was his nation's greatest threat. If you watch the scene in which this is revealed to the audience, when Iroh tells Zuko this, he dose not seem surprised in the least, just really, really pissed off. I don't know about any of you, but if I saw a certain figure as the enemy of the nation I would someday rule, searched for and chased him all over the world for about three years only to encounter failure after failure at the hands of him and his friends, and had a more-of-less antagonistic relationship with him on a personal level, I would be shocked to discover that this person is essentially my own ancestor.

It is entirely possible that Ursa or Iroh could have told Zuko this in his childhood. When Ursa left, she told Zuko to never forget who he was. By this, she may have meant the descendant of an Avatar.

  • He doesn't seem surprised in the least? What show were you watching?
    • I kinda agree. He seemed more angry about being reminded of his ancestry than he was surprised. But maybe it was just the animation.

Zuko blamed Iroh for his banishment.
This is the main reason for Zuko's harsh treatment of his uncle who is nothing but kind and supportive of him. Zuko blamed Iroh because it was he who ultimately allowed Zuko into the war-room in the first place. Zuko appears to convince himself of a lot of things, such as his father allowing him home and everything going back to the way they were before, and even has a dream in which having his honor back somehow gets rid of his scar.

It's not too far out there to think that Zuko would cling to Iroh's role in the incident and ignore his own wrongdoings, to relieve himself of that responsibility and deny the reality that what happened to him was his own fault.

  • I think Iroh blames himself more for Zuko's banishment then Zuko blames him.
  • Zuko always seemed to be obsessed with what he could do to regain his father's respect, which says that he blames himself more than anyone else. Rather than actually being angry with his uncle, I think that he took his inner turmoil out on Iroh because Zuko felt safe with him. This is in stark contrast to his behavior with Ozai, where he knew that one wrong move could get him burned and was accordingly submissive.

Zhao actually admired Iroh
Zhao notably acts a little nicer around the old man than his usual smarmy self and even invites him on his Northern siege. Not to mention they share an interest in the spirit world. Maybe when he was a brash youth, he looked up to Iroh in the academy as a big brother or even father figure, and Iroh in turn started his interest in the Spirit world. It'd make an even bigger parallel between him and Zuko, since Zhao is another young man under Iroh's tutelage, one who lost sight of his honor completely.

Ursa, Azula and Zuko's mother, is in the Spirit Realm
Ozai says he 'banished' her. Considering the only trace we have of her is Azula's 'hallucination' in front of a mirror, and that Zuko while searching for the Avatar apparently never heard any mention of her, it would seem that she's probably not in the physical world. Being related to a former Avatar, she may have known about the spirit world and some way to access it.
  • It is a big world he certainly isnt going to hear about many women named Ursa and she wouldn't be stupid, she would change her name and appearance.
    • Except that Zuko was traveling all around the world asking about the Avatar, clearly making no effort to hide his identity, and undoubtedly the story of his "dishonor" and his search would have spread to the Earth Kingdom colonies, and from there to the Earth Kingdom citizens, and eventually Ursa would have found out and tried to seek him out. And really, following the trail of a scar faced Fire Nation prince? Not that hard.
  • This theory could prove to be true. The upcoming sequel to Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Promise, subtitled The Search, deals with Zuko and Azula's search for Ursa. In an interview one of the creators mentioned the book will deal more with the "spiritual side" of the Avatar world. Take that how you will.
    • According to The Promise, even June and her shirshu couldn't find Ursa. Remember what was going on the last time that happened?
    • Jossed by The Search. She was living in the physical world the whole time, just with a different face and identity.

Ursa is imprisoned in Sozin's comet
As stated above, Zuko never heard even a rumor of her in all his travels, and the Gaangs travels, over nearly every known patch and corner of the world map, some places twice, others discovered by them. If Aang can preserve himself in a ball of ice, Ursa may well be exerting all her possible bending ability in surviving in outer space. As to how Ozai got her up there, well, war advances technology like nothing else.
  • Their tech isn't that advanced.
    • And a wise warlord should have their enemies presume exactly that.
    • Powerful firebenders can propel themselves even when there is no comet. Maybe a firebender is powerful enough to actually fly to the tip of the atmosphere (it doesn't seem like the comet was in outer space) and plant her there.
      • Where else would a Comet be? Also, this was its first return since Sozin's time.

Azula's hallucination of her mother was no hallucination at all.
There may have been a legitimate reason that Azula's confrontation with her mother was not directly anchored to her line of sight. When confronting Ursa, Azula violently turns away from the mirror when Ursa mentions Mai and Ty Lee, but Ursa's reflection still remains in the mirror, and continues to do so until Azula destroys the piece her mother's reflection appears in. If what Azula saw was real, this has two major ramifications for the series: Azula's sanity was shattered completely not by a mere hallucination, but by her inability to comprehend that the real Ursa loved her despite Azula's sociopathic behavior, and was telling her so to her face. This goes a long way toward explaining why Zuko seemed so happy at the tail end of the series: In addition to Ursa's current location, Ozai may have known that Ursa invited herself to Azula's coronation.

Chit Sang is Combustion Man's Brother
They used to work together until Chit Sang got caught. How else do you explain the both being so freaking huge.
  • By the fact that, oh I don't know, they work out?
    • Working out doesn't make you seven feet tall.
  • For added craziness, Chit Sang and/or Combustion Man are descendants of Avatar Kyoshi, who was also like seven feet tall.
    • Chit Sang and Combustion Man are both Fire Nation. Kyoshi was born in the Earth Kingdom. It's not impossible though.
    • I don't know about Combustion Man, but Chit Sang notably has green eyes, implying he does have some Earth Kingdom ancestry.

Iroh is Zuko's real father.
Ozai named his daughter, not his first-born son, after his father. In "The Avatar State," Iroh ominously tells Zuko, "In our family, things are not always what they seem," and in "Siege of the North," "I think of you as my own."
  • Alternate alternate theory: Iroh is Zuko's father, and Ozai didn't know until recently. When Ozai found out, he was so upset that he became evil enough to engineer the exits of Iroh, Zuko and Ursa.
  • Way alternate theory: Zuko was named after Ursa's father as is customary in the Fire Nation. Note that Iroh (first-born) was not only not named after his father (Azulon) or his grandfather (Sozin) but their names are phonetically dissimilar. Ozai (second-born) is much closer phonetically. This might be because the Fire Nation is matriarchal in their naming practices.
    • This theory has some interesting implications for Aang's Fire Nation friend Kuzon...
    • Worth noting: Iroh is somewhat similar to Ilah, his mother's name. Piece that into the theory however you will.
  • Alternating alternate explanation: Zuko is Iroh's father. Just look how childish Iroh acts at times (so-called "wisdom") in comparison to the relatively level headed Zuko. Zuko simply imagines Iroh as a father figure in order to escape his dark past and align his own moral compass. Additionally, Iroh's bald/balding head further presses home the image of a young, naive boy (see Aang) tagging along with his stern, emotional father.
    • ...There's one crucial flaw in that theory.
    • In support of this idea, it could be that "Iroh" is in fact the royal family's last name, and "Uncle" is Iroh's first name. Zuko, being Iroh's father, is used to calling his son by his first name, even if it happens to be the quirky name "Uncle." Other people, however, find it a little awkward addressing him that way, so they call him by his last name instead. (Everyone else in the royal family goes by a title or by their first name, so there's no confusion when a single member of the family is frequently addressed by the last name.)

It's practically Word of God: the creators included a slide in their panel at Comic Con 2006 Shipping Azula with Zuko's Secret Identity, the Blue Spirit. It's already been established that Azula's evil, sick, and crazy; nothing, no matter how sick and wrong, would be out of the question for this character. But she's also no fool, certainly not Genre Blind enough to keep her rival alive and mess with his head when she could just kill him... unless she has some ulterior motive. She becomes the proverbial Temptress when she lures Zuko back to her side in "Crossroads of Destiny." Face it — Azula gets off on being deceptive and manipulative in general, and Zuko's an easy target. She's throughly enjoying his budding romance with Mai, which she instigated, as if using Mai as her proxy. She calls him by a loathed, embarrassing nickname. And then there's that scene in her bedroom... This sort of thing isn't exactly unusual among royalty. Also, considering Zuko is the only person besides her who could assume the throne, it makes sense that she would see it as an opportunity to guarantee her ascension to power. That doesn't make it any less gross though...
  • Evidence in the finale: she, like half of the fandom, thought that Katara had replaced Mai in Zuko's affections - they arrived together and fought together. Now that even her proxy relationship through Mai has failed, she takes it out by aiming at Katara - she wins whomever she hits. However, Katara then defeats her and runs to Zuko's side. Azula has not stopped them, and hence her final collapse. (She never saw the Kataang potential, after all.)
  • Alternatively, Azula is a Psycho Lesbian. Mai and Ty Lee are both in abusive relationship with her and cope with the trauma through their respective personalities. And let's not even consider what this could mean for Suki, Azula's "favorite prisoner."
    • That might also explain why Ty Lee ran away to join the circus. And why Azula's reaction was to endanger said circus goers until Ty Lee returned.
  • Alternatively, Azula is just a Psycho-uberdom who wants everyone in the worst way, so long as she's on top.
  • Alternatively, Azula seduced Zuko just to control him. Actually, seeing the Comic Con and the infamous bed scene, the creators would probably have implied that if the show was for an older audience. But Azula would probably never sleep with Zuko, rather teasing him and never offering herself, just to drive him mad of desire.
  • The Blue Spirit was revealed in School Time Shipping, the prequel Zuko's Story, and The Search to be an independent alter-ego that Zuko and others have assumed over time. School Time Shipping, in particular, showed the Blue Spirit existing independently of Zuko, so it's entirely possible that Bryke was toying with the prospect of shipping Azula with the identity itself, rather than her brother; given the target audience of the show, the former is arguably more likely.

Zuko betrayed Azula first.
At least that's how Azula feels about it. After Zuko joined Azula and helped in the fight against the Avatar, as far as she was concerned, they had declared a truce. There wasn't any conflict between them anymore. And they were fairly friendly with one another after that.

And then Zuko lied to her. He told her that the Avatar was certainly dead when he knew there was a chance he could have been saved. That's not a small thing; she had already reported the Avatar's death. So it was her ass on the line. All Zuko had to do was tell the truth; let her know about the Spirit Water. And then the two of them could have come up with a plan to resolve the whole thing.

But no. He lied to her. He betrayed her. And, because she's not stupid, she saw through his lie. So she gave him his just rewards.

  • I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels that way. Furthermore, I think Zuko joining the Avatar was devastating to her, and that's when she started to slip into insanity. Hint: watch the boiling rock episode. Notice how Azula is already making some fairly psychotic faces. Furthermore, she doesn't talk to him at all, except to evilly say "Goodbye Zuko" and leave him to die. Normally, they have at least some spicy dialogue. Add to that the fact that I detect a hint of anger at betrayal when she says goodbye to him. I think it's evident he meant quite a bit to her, and his leaving her was the start of her fall...

  • I agree! I think it's more of the fact that Zuko betrayed the Fire Nation (and as a result, abandoned her), drove her insanity and anger. In the beginning of season three (and even in moments of their childhood flashbacks), Azula is shown to genuinely care about Zuko.

  • I think it makes perfect sense. Loyalty to her father is Azula's most fundamental value and she stands by it all along. Her problem with Zuko is not that he is her path, her problem with Zuko is that he has betrayed his nation and his father (which happens to be a genocidal maniac, but well, nobody's perfect).
  • I agree. Think about it: Azula offered to bring Zuko home long before she was aware that she would actually need his help ( He did help her win the fight, but she seemed so surprised when Katara started beating her that she probably didn't think she needed him beforehand). Zuko is the proper heir to the throne ( unless Azula was already declared heir, but Zuko is referred to as the crown prince when he goes home) , bringing him home actively hurts her, unless she loves Zuko deep down ( not Sister incest, and really did miss him and wanted him home. Just think about how lonely she is: her father is cold and unfeeling, and I feel like the only reason she looked please when Ozai burned Zuko's face is because she used to resent him because Ursa favored him, which I think deteriorated after their mother left. She turned the Avatar alive thing on him because Zuko lied to Azula first. And when Zuko betrayed the fire nation, she felt personally betrayed, like " I brought you home and you turn against me" , which is why she tried to kill him later; it was out of this pain.
Ozai did love Zuko deep down
Much like the relationship between Tidus and Jecht, he didn't know how to show it.
  • Or he had a twisted way of showing it due to his psychotic nature, and believed that he was motivating his son by acting aloof and abusing him.

Similar to the theory above...
Ozai exiled Ursa because he didn't want her to get executed.

Jeong Jeong is the guy who Zuko spoke out against.
They look alike, except for the scar on Jeong Jeong which could have been sustained after Zuko's fateful duel with his father. Given the change in lifestyle, it could account for the minor differences in appearance. When Jeong Jeong meets up with the group, it could cause Zuko to lose it for a few minutes and revelation for the Gaang about his past and see how it has affected members of the Fire Nation.
  • Give credence by the fact that this could very well be why Jeong Jeong is a deserter. He refused to follow a man who would attack his own son. Also explains why he ONLY faced his father, never the person he spoke out against.
  • Except that Zuko meets Jeong Jeong in 'The Old Masters', and they exchange respectful bows with no hint of animosity. Of course it's possible they met and reconciled any differences sometime during Zuko's exile before the start of the series.
  • Um...that guy's name was given as General Bujing by the creators. Besides, I'm fairly certain that Jeong Jeong had abandoned the army long before that incident.

The true reason for Combustion Man's fall? Brain damage.
For goodness sake, his only real weakness is a head injury. And besides, shooting lasers out of one's head can't be too good for the brain cells. Hence, by the time he caught up with the gang one last time, he was too stupid to realize the hit had been called off or that firing immedietly after getting hit in the head by a boomerang was a bad idea.
  • This also explans why he nevers talks. The damage had destoried his ability to speak, and possibly even understand what others were saying seeing as how he didn't stop attacking when Zuko ordered him to.
  • That's a bit...dark for a kid's show, even this one.

Ursa is not Azula's mother
If Zuko's constant internal conflict is because of Avatar Roku being his maternal great-grandfather, then it only makes sense that Azula's utter lack of morality and internal conflict means she has a different mother.
  • Take a look at Iroh. Despite lacking the Avatar bloodline, he turned out to be quite a decent fella. Certainly nothing like his brother or niece. So it was perfectly possible for Azula to become an evil bastard despite being related to Roku.
    • This troper was always under the Impression that Azula did have the conflict, somewhere, but turned the conflict inwards and repressed it, feeding her insanity by mommy issues.
  • Let's take it a step further: Azula is really the daughter of The Joker and Harley Quinn, who was kidnapped from BTAS and universe-hopped into ATLA. It would explain her maniacal tendencies, her social awkwardness, her evil laugh, her slow descent into madness, just about everything. BTAS-Joker has black hair, Harley has golden eyes, they're both psychotic. I rest my case.
    • But... The Joker has green hair and Harley's eyes are green/blue, depending on the canon. Um, no.
      • But if green hair is genetic at all, then it's a recessive trait, so Azula wouldn't have inherited it. Also, shouldn't you be poking holes in the logical ramifications of Batman characters with universe-hopping powers, rather than the questionable genetics?
  • This troper figures that Azula is Ursa's daughter... with Iroh. Take That to the "good people have good children" theory!
    • This troper likes the idea that Azula is Ursa's kid with Iroh, but rather thinks it fits rather nicely with the "good people have good children" theory, as good people don't cheat on their husbands/brothers.
      • I think the poor guys deserve a break - it would take a veritable saint to not cheat on a horrible, most likely abusive husband and terrible father.
      • This was the plot of a fanfic [1] long ago.
  • Or Ozai did have an affair that resulted in Azula which caused Ursa to seek comfort from Iroh which in turn resulted in her pregnancy with Zuko.
    • This troper thought that Zuko was older than Azula by at least three years, though... Unless Ozai's affair ended in a miscarriage, but Ursa found out (or something like that).
      • He is only one year older.
      • It could be that Ozai had an ongoing affair that eventually resulted in Azula - Ursa found out about it years before Azula was born, but didn't have enough sociopolitical power in her own right to have any real recourse besides the aforementioned seeking comfort from Iroh.
  • Azula was a result of an affair between Ozai and another woman. This is why she favoured Zuko, and caused her originally loving relationship between Ozai and her to become meaningless and loveless.
    • That' falls apart ; Azula looks just like her mother, and Word of God says that Zuko looks just like Ozai. Also, in the comics Zuko is one year older, but in the show, he is two years older.
      • Azula bears a much stronger resemblance to Ozai over Ursa: she shares his hairline, eyebrows, eye shape, and angular profile. She has very little in common with Ursa apart from being female and being drawn with a female character template. Based on physical attributes alone, this theory would still be valid.

Combustion Man is Zhao's brother
This would explain why he refused to stop attacking the Gaang - he was never in it for the money, rather revenge on the people he believes to be responsible for his brother's death.
  • Alternatively, he IS Zhao, with l33t firebending powers caused by his return from the brink of death because the Ocean spirit spat him out again.
  • Alternately, Combustion Man is future Aang. You can tell that they're the same person because they're both bald.
    • Sokka winds up killing Aang? That's actually pretty compelling. Also, this gives us the interesting idea that Aang effectively prevents another Avatar from being born, since Future Aang comes to the present and dies while Present Aang is still alive. That'd be a cool consequence.
  • Alternatively, he refused to stop attacking the Gaang because he was pissed they found out his weakness (or discovered a weakness he didn't know about), and either wanted to silence them or just wanted to kill them for revenge.

There's another secret society besides the White Lotus.
And they were behind combustion man. The symbol on his forehead looked suspiciously formal; it may be the focus for his weird powers, but if so, there must be some tradition that taught it to him. And he didn't seem the type of man to live a luxurious or sociable lifestyle, so why does he need the lucrative income of assassination work, if not to help finance something big? That's also why he doesn't speak; he can't! As the relatively public face of a secret organisation, some mojo that prevents him talking too much makes sense. And the possibilities for a secret war between them and the White Lotus makes for tempting imagery.
  • While I'm not disagreeing with the wild mass guess itself, I do take issue at one point; Combustion Man obviously isn't an assassin because he needs/wants the money, but because he likes it.
  • If there's a group, they probably spread across the world and Combustion Man was the only one who stayed behind in the Fire Nation, or else we definitely would have seen them during Sozin's Comet. They were probably using their tremendous skills to conquer parts of the world during the comet; they're just doing this in places very distant from the Fire Nation, so Zuko & pals don't find out about this until shortly after the series is over.

Mai is a smoker.
Her voice is so scratchy, and it wouldn't exactly be an unlikely thing for her to do.

Azula is a shipper.
Of course, her favorite ships (Zuko/Mai, Sokka/Suki) are the ones that she can manipulate. Also, she shot Aang in the Crossroads Of Destiny because she was angry about the apparent Ship Sinking of Aang/Katara.

Azula isn't actually a prodigy.
She just pushes herself harder than anyone else in order to look like she does everything effortlessly. When she is shown practicing early on, she performs the whole routine flawlessly, except for one strand of hair out of place. She insists on doing it again.

When giving Long Feng a Reason You Suck Speech, she mocks him for being born with nothing and clawing his way up the heap and claims that The divine right to rule is something one is born with, even though her own father actually usurped the throne, and her brother would have been in line for it before her.Azula likes the idea of being inherently superior to other people, so she works extra hard to make herself appear that way.

She's so dedicated to the idea of appearing to be perfect that when the Dai Li abduct her at a late hour, she's even wearing her makeup (which she would have had to reapply after removing the Kyoshi Warrior face paint) when they take her to Long Feng in prison. It makes me laugh to think of Azula making herself up and then pretending to sleep so that she has a flawless face when the Dai Li "kidnap" her.

All prodigies also work incredibly hard. Mozart for example put in just about the exact same amount of hours of practice and training as an adult master musician/composer, he just started earlier and packed it all in before he was 13. The myth of the natural genius who excels on whim without trying is just that, a myth.

  • About Azula's mocking of Long Feng, she may have been mocked his lack of Mandate of Heaven, a Chinese philosophical concept according to which Heaven gives the right of ruling to the one who would do the job best. That would both explain why she pushed herself so hard (the Mandate was given at birth but could be revoked at any moment, should the ruler prove unworthy) and justify her speech to Long Feng: a good look at the city under his regime proved to her that not him nor the Earth King had the Mandate (or the city wouldn't have been so bad), and the very fact she was there in position to take over meant she had it. Also, she probably justified Ozai's usurpation with Iroh's Mandate being revoked after he became too weak and Ozai's latent one being activated with immediate effect.

Iroh has a grandson/daughter
To be honest, Lu Ten was the son of soon-to-be Firelord, he would have had to have a wife or fiancee... and judging by his picture in Tales of Ba Sing Se, and how.. old Iroh is, he was maybe, what, twenty? twenty-five, maybe? It's not impossible. And what happened to Iroh's wife?
  • This troper has a slight idea; Lu Ten's death was mourned by Iroh very deeply. However, in the real world, a person who has lost a spouse and a child even at different times mourns both. Now, the reason Lu Ten is even mentioned is because of Zuko. Iroh would probably mention a wife had he met a significant other, but still why would he never mention a deceased wife along with a deceased son? Chances are, Iroh's wife probably left when Lu Ten was a kid, leaving Iroh to raise Lu Ten all by himself. This could also explain the close relationship between Lu Ten and Iroh.
    • Or Iroh's marriage could have been an arranged marriage like Word of God says Ozai and Ursa's was, and they had Lu Ten early in the marriage and she died soon after, before Iroh really had a chance to get to know her... Also, Iroh mentions Lu Ten with a certain amount of infrequency. It makes sense he wouldn't mention his other losses frequently either.
  • In "Zuko Alone", Ozai explicitly states that Iroh's bloodline ended with the death of Lu Ten.
  • Alternatively, Lu Ten may have had a relationship with some girl in Ba Sing Se that may have resulted in a child. Ozai wouldn't know, and Iroh may or may not - though he does have that one song that actually sparked the idea in this troper's mind: "The girls in the city, they look so pretty... and they kiss so sweet, you really have to meet the girls from Ba Sing Se!" (It's fanfic fodder, if nothing else!)

Ty Lee had access to proto-spirit bending.
She was able to take away people's bending (albeit temporarily). Aang's version is pretty much what she did on steroids. Alternatively, what she does is like the technological equivalent (so, you can create massive fans to blow away someone, or set something on fire).
  • Nah, she just did the same thing physically what Aang did spiritually. Her way was like pulling the plug out of a computer, while his was like formatting its hard drive. Or something.
  • In order to use bending, you have to be able to move. Even Bumi, the champion of bending minimalism, at least needs to move his face. So if you get punched in a pressure point that physically paralyzes you, you temporarily lose your bending ability for reasons entirely unrelated to spiritbending.
    • But Ty Lee was able to block Katara's bending without incapacitating her ability to move. It's probably her hitting some pressure points that block chi. Kind of like Neji in Naruto.
      • Every other time Ty Lee hits someone, they fall over paralyzed or their limb turns completely limp. I think that one time with Katara was a fluke, especially since it was the first time.

Fire Lord Zuko is still on the Marriage Market.
Yes, we know whatever deal concerning the bethroal of Prince Zuko and his sister's Lady in Waiting was almost certainly reenstated upon his return from exile his mission. Problem is that said engagement would have been certainly made void when said prince comitted blatant High Treason and ran away to help overthrow Ozai. Now in all the reconstruction/Truth&Reconciliation-Commission/Loyalist-hunting/rewriting-law-codes and all, getting a new engagement/marriage contract written up and announced may be low on both Zuko's and Mai's priority list at first. Taking that as given how many provincial grandees operating under partial information, or even people around court thinking "he cannot be attached to that dour stick," will start throwing buxom doe-eyed daughters of their houses at him at the first opportunity?
  • The real question is if Mai twists Zuko's arm to make things official after the few women tried to corner the guy or watch him run away from debutants for entertainment.
  • Its instructive to note that Mai's social status is actually quite high — her father is a provincial governor. So she'd be on the marriage market right alongside the rest of them anyway, and since that she obviously already has the favor of (as well as the virginity of) the Fire Lord, it would take a seriously over-optimistic challenger to think they actually had a chance.
  • Wait, where was it said/implied that Mai/Zuko lost their virginity? To each other?
    • In "Nightmares and Daydreams".
  • Trying to read Mai is like trying to read a stone wall most of the time and Zuko hardly seems the suave, experienced type.
    • Think it through from the POV of someone outside of Court. Mai was Azula's lady in waiting (the whole Boiling Rock thing was kept rather quiet), her family was in close with Ozai's expansionist party (the "province" they held was the one Bumi retook, and it was the first one they had), and once they come to the capital Mai could be seen at first glace as more of a bodyguard as anything (it is not like he would not need a few, or that she would not be more capable than most). The more superficial will also hold the whole scrawny and hatchet-faced thing against her, expecting the young monarch to toss her aside for a better model even if he is opportunistic enough to bed her.
    • Really kinda irrelevant... people from outside of Court circles aren't getting anywhere near this marriage market. Also, Zuko & Mai's relationship is the worst-kept secret in town — its not like every servant in the palace doesn't know that he's regularly been visiting her quarters and vice versa. Good Lord, her last scene in the finale was her helping Zuko dress. They act like they're already married. And finally... 'scrawny' and 'hatchet-faced'? Um, no. Just no.
      • There is going to be an unavoidable bit of shuffing between who is In Good With The Throne (and spending most of their free time at the Palace) and who is Not So Much (staying out of sight at the country estates if they know what is good for them). The observent will pick things up quickly if not blinded by hope/avarice/lust, however there will the unobservant and the ones leaping at the chance of a royal grandkid. As to the last point, compare this to the one on the right ^_-
    • This troper sees an outgoingly beautiful girl in a picture specifically selected to show her at her best (you picked one with Bishie Sparkle for heaven's sake!) and a girl who is also attractive in a more unique, proud, hard to define way. Katara and Ty Lee are cute; Azula is fetish material; but Mai looks like a queen. And definitely not scrawny. She's not large breasted, but neither is Katara, and I wouldn't call Mai flat chested.
  • As an aside, once it becomes undeniable who the Fire Lord favors expect nasty rumors about him and/or her to circulate. He was on that boat with nothing but men for much of his adolescence after all...
    • So was the Dragon of the West, and nobody's going to say that about him. * g*
      • He has not robbed anyone of a consortship....
  • Most of the points above are moot if someone gets the idea of sealing one of the upcoming treaties with a state wedding to the Fire Lord, problem is that just about such match would be a loveless sham even under the best situations. Zuko is not likely to touch the new consort more than needed to get the heir&spare out (if there is a means of artificial insemenation he may not even do that much), and Mai is almost certain end up with a position (and quarters) in or near the Palace as a fig leaf to avoid embarassing everyone with official concubinage. Zuko is a decent enough sort to make things as tolerable as possible (up to and including actively covering for her own lovers), but life as a Queen under such circumstances would have to blow chunks.
  • Before anyone asks Katara is certain to not be on the list. She would pitch a fit, the Avatar may express reluctance, Zuko would be even more loathe to subject two of his best friends to this than he would a hopefully unattached stranger, and it is doubtful that Hakoda would be willing to strongarm her into such a match (assuming he could) even if he were not on good terms with the new Fire Lord despite all the SWT had suffered. The most likely choice would be a Earth Kingdom noblewoman, preferably one with a claim to the oldest Fire Nation Colonies.
    • Do keep in mind though, that despite what Zuko has always called her, Katara is not a "water peasant". Her father Hakoda is chief of the Southern Water Tribe. While the tribe is ostensibly patriarchal, that still leaves her as one day being the sister of the Southern Water Chief (which could probably giver her some serious pull), with extremely strong ties to the powerful Northern Water Tribe, the Avatar, the Kyoshi warriors...basically every hero/warrior/scientist/ruler on the planet, the freaking MOON, and all the sane, decent, peace-loving citizens of the Fire Nation and the other nations of the world who were sucked into a century-long war that Katara helped to end. She is also a supremely powerful bender, and a marriage between a Firebender and a Waterbender would be massively symbolic of the reunification of the world. Less significantly, the two of them are clearly in lurve.
      • The last bit is actually extremely significant, as they are both in love with third parties and even if Mai can be shoved aside in the interest of State one Simply Does Not oblige the Avatar to break up with his squeeze. The fact that they are all but adoptive siblings at this point would make this both harder to force then to swallow and less needed on the whole political tie bit.
  • I very much doubt that anyone has the balls to try and tell Zuko who to marry considering that he and his friends have just beaten down the previous rulers, and his friends and allies are among the most powerful people in the world one way or another, and his existing love interest is no pushover either.
    • Screw that; I doubt anyone has the balls to stand up to a woman who, without any bending whatsoever, stood up to Princess Azula and dared to defy her. Zuko, even shared rulership of the Fire Nation, isn't worth pissing a woman like that off for.
      • Though I'd be willing to bet there was at least one young hopeful who arrived into the capital to try anyway and woke up the next morning with throwing knives lovingly braided into her hair.

Iroh is constantly high on weed.
Think about it. How can one person be so chill all the time?
  • He doesn't care about anything since his son has died.
  • Weed tea?
    • Note: Weed tea does, in fact, exist. No seriously.
      • So does pot soda
  • What?! No!!
  • Well, he's never short of a lighter... (makes one wonder what other substances people abuse in Avatar-land)
    • Cactus Juice, for sure.

Ty Lee and Azula are a couple.
...this one is practically canon.
  • The last time they were seen together, Ty Lee had physically disabled Azula because she was about to murder her (other) best friend. Azula then vindictively had them both tossed in jail and showed no remorse over it whatsoever. If there ever was a chance of this, it's long since over.
    • Nobody claimed they were a healthy couple....
    • I think Ty Lee and pretty much everyone is a couple.
      • That's not true! She only had a crush on Sokka! Well...and Aang, and the King, and everyone at the beach, and the Kyoshi warriors, and Mai. Then she flirted with a bear. You' know what? You're probably right on this.

Iroh has a stomach prproblem that require him to drink a lot a specific sort of tea, or his insides will melt. Or something less drastic, but still fatal.
However, since it tastes awful, he has to mix it with other teas, and if he can find tea weed (an easier-to-steep version of a plant that exists in our world, which he usually keeps on his person if an above guess which I'm completely in support of and thought of already as a half-joke years ago is correct) or the incredibly rare white dragon plant (which perfectly cancels out the taste of the tea he drinks for his stomach, and makes it taste wonderful... or does it cause an allergic reaction which could easily kill any human in only a few minutes? no harm in a quick taste test in case it's not the poisonous white jade bush...), he uses it just to get out of having to taste that disgusting stuff, since it can ruin even the best tea with its obtrusive flavor and "mlacky" texture. Thus, he became even more of a connoisseur of teas than he was in his youth (unless he had the problem his whole life), to the point where he would bend fire in the middle of an unoccupied Earth Kingdom city just to heat up a cheap cup of all-day-brew tea.
  • It'd probably make sense, as some herbs that are supposed to help to soothe gastritis make rather bitter teas.

Zuko's cockblocking in S3 is caused by his being away from Mai
If he's not gettin nookie, then no one else is either!
  • I'm sorry, what's WILD about this?

Zuko is the reincarnation of Sozin.
After re-watching the series, I couldn't help but notice how much the world has it out for Zuko. Perhaps Zuko was being punished for his actions in a previous life? What if Sozin was not in fact a Karma Houdini? What if his actions were so evil that Sozin had to receive his "karmic backlash" in the next life? This would explain all the unpleasantness Zuko had to put up with and it would also make his eventual friendship with the Avatar that much more touching. Where once Sozin and the Avatar began the war as enemies, they end the war as friends.
  • Evidence for this could be in "The Avatar and the Fire Lord"; it's shown that Roku had been good friends with Gyatso, which prompts Roku to tell Aang that sometimes friendships transcend lifetimes. Sozin and Roku had at one point been best friends, and only later became enemies because of the war. Perhaps Aang and Zuko started out as enemies because that was where they had left off in their past lives, and them eventually becoming friends was the end of their 100 year feud.
  • It's possible. Interestingly, someone on the Legend of Korra WMG page suggested that Asami was the one who was Sozin's reincarnation. Although Zuko's the better match , both still work given how they amend or strengthen their relationship with the Avatar.
Iroh was adopted
That would certainly explain why he doesn't look like anybody else in his family, or why his temperament seems to be so wildly different.
  • Or maybe he got traits from his mother, who wasn't mentioned on-screen.
  • Iroh does look a lot like Sozin, however, whom Azulon resembles very little. Genetic throwbacks do happen, and Iroh could only have inherited Sozin's features through his father. Both Iroh and Sozin are short and stout, while Azulon and Ozai are tall and lean.

Tom-Tom isn't Mai's brother
There is a thirteen year age gap between Mai and Tom-Tom, in a world without fertility treatments.Zuko and Mai have been sweet on each other since childhood and when their relationship picks up in season 3 it is very physical. Tom-Tom is two in 'Return to Omashu' and two episodes earlier Zuko mentioned it had been three years since he was banished. Mai and Zuko were between Aang and Katara's ages (both of whom are shown with sexual feelings and desires) when Zuko was banished and had been messing around with each other. Mai's parents are horrified by their daughter being knocked up with the bastard child of the exiled (underage) prince and claim the baby to protect their own social position, never allowing Mai to interact with her son. This leads to Mai repressing even more and being apathetic towards Tom-Tom.
  • Tom-Tom is not two. Given his development and the fact that he is still alternating between crawling and walking, he's probably right around the twelve months mark.
  • That is a very fine specimen of a Poison Oak Epileptic Tree. Now, we shall never speak of this again.
    • Then you'll appreciate this more Truth in Television interpretation: Mai and Tom-Tom are half-siblings, because Mai's father is very likely to take a second wife that could produce a male heir especially in this traditional Chinese-inspired environment. Mai's mother becomes The Unperson while Mai gets a break as merely The Un-Favourite.
      • Mai is never depicted as The Unfavorite. Tom-Tom is neglected physically and emotionally onscreen, which is what gives him the opportunity to wander off, and this neglect gives creedence to Mai's descriptions of emotional neglect. Her parents aren't playing favorites. They're just neglectful of both their children.

Connected to the above, Mai has almost complete faith in Azula's Magnificent Bastard skills during the Tom-Tom for King Bumi exchange.
Its not Mai that is heartless or merciless, she is capable of loving Zuko and makes the effort to only pin Firenation prison guards instead of simply killing them where they stood, so its possible she actually does value her little brother at least a little.
  • Having grown up with Azula, Mai probably knows (or even was rehearsed beforehand) Azula's ploys to pull when the opportunity to turn a simple hostage exchange into a rescue and capture mission and her role in it.
    • Given that she likely has schooling similar to a Fire Nation Princess it seems very probably that the offer to exchange Tom-Tom for King Bumi was far too ridiculous (by cut-throat Fire Nation Politics standards to be believed), and the best bet for a happy outcome was NOT to follow whatever trap the kidnappers were trying to lure them into by Take a Third Option.
      • There's also the fact that loosing a valuable political prisoner is not something the higher ups will approve of. Even if Mai believed Azula would understand and be merciful (Mai is skilled enough for Azula to recruit personally and harming her family isn't going to help in that area and there's that fact they're clearly well off and probably put quite a bit of cash in the Fire lord's coffers), there's still OZAI to deal with when he finds out. Smart thing was to go along with Azula and trust her to play it off to her father as a trap to take down some rebels. Much safer for everyone. Besides, Tom-Tom isn't hurt and even seems to like the kidnappers so they have clearly been taking good care of him.
  • There's also the possibility that she was much more worried about what Azula would do to Tom-Tom if Mai let her down, and thought that it was a safer bet to leave him with the group who hadn't harmed him during the day or so that they'd had him than to take the risk of finding out what an angry Azula was capable of doing in retribution. We already know that Ozai has no qualms about harming children, and I have no doubt that Azula is also capable of using that threat to keep her subordinates in line.
    • This is probably the interpretation the show creators intended, given the reactions of surprise and distress by Mai and Ty Lee when Azula announces Mai will be taking over the hostage exchange, which means Azula will in fact be taking over the exchange.
  • Yet another possibility is that, again, Mai saw the baby had not been harmed by his 'captors'. The instant he was in even potential peril, her older-sib instincts kicked in, yet she had a problem. She knows Azula will ride her or play with her if she showed any affection for the kid. So she's doubly nonchalant, to avoid giving an employer she fears any more ammo against her.

Iroh's trip to the spirit world was a failed suicide attempt
As the bridge between worlds or whatever it makes sense that Aang can aome and go from the spirit world as he pleases. Iroh, badass that he is, does not have that luxury. Furthermore, it is established that he did so shortly after his son died.
  • Maybe Iroh decided to Take a Third Option and enter the Spirit World to give his last goodbyes to his deceased son, as it is hinted that mortals may go to the spirit world when they die. That or Iroh thought he could convince a Spirit entity to bring forth his son's spirit so he could have a final talk with him...
    • but how did he find the entrance or the nice spirit entity?
Zuko's ponytail/shaved head combo is a mark of disgrace.
Before his banishment and after he returns to the Fire Nation, he has a full head of hair in addition to his ponytail. In his flashback in "The Western Air Temple," we see that his head is shaved just a week after he is banished, and he keeps it that way until he and Iroh defect from the Fire Nation.
  • Makes sense. Shaving part or all of the hair is usually done for humiliation. Would also explain why Zuko kept it up for three years (he still felt guilty and wanted to reclaim his honor).
  • Notice that Sokka, a member of one of the Water tribes, has a ponytail/shaved head combo. This hairstyle is probably associated with the Water people. For someone of the Fire Nation, who believe themselves to be superior to the Water people, this may be why it is so humiliating for them.
  • I figured half was shaved to keep it out of the wound and the other half was because he didn’t want half a head of hair but the ponytail is a symbol of status in the fire nation so he kept that. And just never grew it back out later because he was used to it by then or something.
  • Confirmed by The Shadow of Kyoshi; a shaved-head is the mark of defeat in an Agni Kai.

Combustion Man is mute.
He never speaks, and Zuko chooses him as an assassin partially because "he's good at keeping secrets. Who would be better at keeping secrets than someone who can't speak?
  • Combustion Man grunts a couple of times, so I'm pretty sure this is Jossed.
    • Um, what? Mute just means he can't talk, not that he can't make noise. If his muteness was caused by a psychological issue or by trauma to the mouth (for instance, a severely damaged or missing tongue), his vocal chords could well be functional enough to produce unintelligible sounds.

Azula is paranoid schizophrenic.
The combined trauma of her mother's (implied) death and the betrayal of her friends has left her destitute and with paranoid delusions, manifested in the banishment of the Dai Li and all of her servants.
  • ...How is this WMG? Isn't this blatantly obvious in the last couple episodes?
    • It's only blatantly obvious that she has paranoid delusions and hallucinations. The schizophrenic part's up for debate. There are other kinds of psychosis. Also, as an organically caused disorder, in which the brain deteriorates, schizophrenia can't be triggered by life tragedies (though psychotic breaks associated with schizophrenia can be) and doesn't usually come on that fast.
      • She's probably not schizophrenic. Plenty of non-chemical causes can make one see hallucinations and become paranoid. Azula doesn't need to have a chemical problem to be unbalanced, she just needs to grow up in an abusive household like the Fire Lord's palace and have way too much forced on her at a young age. Remember, in the show she's about fourteen to fifteen years old (Zuko is sixteen, she's younger than he is). There is no possible way that conquering nations can be in any way conducive to her mental health, not to mention living with Fire Lord Ozai.

Zuko's mom actually did die in childbirth.
That is, Ursa is actually his stepmom, but he doesn't know this for whatever reason. Ursa loved him as if he was her own son, but Ozai hates Zuko because it's Zuko's "fault" that his first wife died. This is also why Azula didn't have the good versus evil inner conflict that came from being descended from both Sozin and Roku, because she isn't descended from Roku.
  • The possibility is there, however, it does not explain Azula's lack of conflict. Given as Zuko, at least, believed that Ursa was his true mother, he still would have looked up his great grandfather on her side-which is Avatar Roku. If Ursa is only Azula's mother, and not Zuko's, this means that Azula is the only one descended from avatar Roku.
  • In addition to Iroh playing up the inner conflict angle, Zuko holds a tangible resemblance to both Ursa and Roku.

Ursa had problems in childbirth with Zuko.
He says he was ''lucky’’ to be born. In a world of simple medicine childbirth would be difficult for those who had a problem in birth.
  • This could be why she favours him - after he only just survived childbirth, she feels overprotective of her son. This resulted in Azula being shut out and spending more time with her psycho-daddy than her mother...
  • I rather like this theory, and this doesn’t discount it by any means, but I think that line—which he was quoting from his father—was not meant to imply actual difficulties Ursa experienced in childbirth, but rather meant to show us Ozai’s blatant favoritism towards Azula and the extreme dysfunction their family went through.

Going to Ember Island was a double date
Or it turned into one. Mai with Zuko and Ty Lee with Azula.
  • You're not supposed to put canon on this page.

Iroh and Ozai are only a few years apart in age.
Even though Iroh looks like he's seriously about thirty years older than his brother, they're both old. Ozai just uses Sexyfine to retain his youth and good looks.
  • Alternatively, fighting in so many wars and battles to be promoted to General has aged Iroh considerably.
    • Not to mention losing his only son in a futile war (and presumably his wife at some point), being declared a traitor by his father, being disinherited in favor of his cruel younger brother, and watching his nephew whom he loves like a son being cruelly abused and neglected by that same brother. Iroh’s dealt with a lot more emotional grief and physical hardship than Ozai. I’ve always assumed they were closer in age than they appear.
    • I've always assumed this myself. I always assumed that Iroh was around 53-58 and Ozai was around 45-50.
  • Word of Saint Paul is that Iroh is indeed at least 20 years older than Ozai.
    • Is that technically considered canon?

Ursa was in...
The Water Nation, it is the only place the Fire Nation doesn't have colonies, going to the Earth Nation would basically be suicide what with all the Fire Nation colonies and the Northern tribe doesn't seem like it is attacked much. It also has powerful benders so it is one of the least likely to be conquered, the Fire Nation doesn't have that much surveillance near the poles, if any. This seems one of the most likely places she would be
  • Makes sense as far as it goes, but even if she had an alias One would think that someone would mention the immigrant/refugee/defector that looked like someone from the Fire Nation upper classes would have at least been mentioned during a full-blown invasion of the NWT.
  • The SWT had broken up into villages by this point, so she may have lived incognito at one.
  1. The Air Temples: The Air Temples are hardly ever raided, but she probably does not know how to live alone (and by alone I mean make her own clothes, food, etc.) However since no one knew the Mechanist was working with the Fire Nation, she may have thought it was safe to live there.
  • Might work, but the only occupied one is even smaller than the NWT and run by someone living in real fear of the Fire Nation. Still, it would have been amusing if Aang, Sokka, and Katara found her living as a hermit in the SAT in episode 1.03.
    Ursa: I was once a princess you know.
    Sokka: Sure you were, sure you were.
  1. The Spirit World very unlikely, but the Fire Nation can't conquer it.
  2. The Fire Nation and Earth Kingdoms are the least likely places she would hide, with the presence of the Fire Nation Armies.
  • Actually, these seem the most likely.
    • The Earth Kingdom is huge and has a lot of refugees moving from place to place. Using her own indentity is a good way to get lynched unless she went the high-end defector route (in which case she would have been in a position to track down Iroh and Zuko). However if she has to explain her eyes a story about being some half-breed would suffice, and she may even get away with admitting that she fled the Fire Nation ahead of a noose after killing an important man to save her son.
    • As for the Fire Nation, there is the Siberian Option. Imprisonment at the Boiling Rock or anywhere near the Capital is too high profile; but there are any number of cells, fortresses, remote islands, and even manors suitable for those of noble rank where someone officially nameless can be stored away.
  • The Si Wong Desert would be an excellent place to hide as only a couple of Sandtribes and traders live there. She could be with the Fung, the member of the White Lotus group or with the Sandbenders.

The most likely place Ursa was in is:The Water Nation, maybe she knew a certain moon or maybe she knew a certain last Southern waterbender and that guy.

  • My rebuttal is noted above.

Combustion Man was an Airbender
We never actually saw him bend fire. My theory is what he was doing was hyper-compressing air, possibly taking in pure oxygen or other flammable gas which exploded on impact. He didn't realize he was an airbender because he was an orphan and airbenders that survived the massacre kept a low profile. If this is true, it was a sad day when the only other airbender died because of a misunderstanding of the source of his powers.
  • Yes. It was truly tragic when the hitman targetting children who were the world's best hope, and continuing to target them after his employer offered to pay him twice as much to stop, died. If only they had known he was an airbender.
  • I'm sorry. What I meant was how tragic that the last vestiges of the airbenders (besides Aang) survived in a sociopathic hitman who didn't understand his powers and was unknowingly working for the murderous regime responsible for the genocide of his people and culture. Considering how Ax-Crazy he was near the end, I doubt he would have cared. Again, I'm really sorry. I didn't mean to sound like a Draco in Leather Pants fangirl. Which actually made me develop another theory...

Combustion Man is descended from a group of traitorous Airbenders
More specifically, airbenders who rejected the pacifist and spiritual ideals of their culture. They desired a more militaristic path for their people and either left the temples or were banished. Like the Dai Li after them, they allied with the Fire Nation and give them crucial information about airbending society in exchange for placing them as leaders of airbending society. While working for the Fire Nation, they developed aggressive, lethal techniques that normal airbenders would never touch (which includes the Made of Explodium technique of Combustion Man). When the massacres were carried out, the Fire Nation turned on the traitors and exterminated them too. Their children and grandchildren were raised believing themselves to be Firebenders and were taught the "combustion attack". This worked because their airbending philosophy was as ruthless as the current Fire Nation firebending philosophy. Over time, the fact that they were airbenders was forgotten and instead they were viewed as "special firebenders." In the future, Aang will discover the truth about these "special firebenders" and be faced with the reality that even his own people were not exempt from corruption and tyranny.

Combustion Man is the spirit of the sun
I only noticed this while rewatching book 2: the fire nation royal guard has a third eye on their helmets. And the boiling rock guards as well. It seems that the third eye is an elite status (royal guard, guard of the most famous prison in the world). The combustion Man seems to be unique, yet he has the same symbol that the elite guards do and even has associated powers. Now what would be the highest ceremonial symbol a firebender could get? A dragon would seem obvious at first, but those were already used for a special, now unobtainable rank. The next logical thing would be the sun itself, which fits with the power of combustion man: He projects small suns. Zuko is the only one who knows of him because his uncle met the sun spirit on his travels through the spirit world.
  • That would make some degree of sense if it weren't for one thing: remember when the moon spirit was taken out of the pond, and waterbenders immediately lost their power? Even if you prefer to assume Combustion Man was merely incapacitated, his being the sun spirit at that time would still cause firebenders to lose their power, which they quite clearly didn't (Zuko's Heel–Face Turn issues notwithstanding).
    • What about this: The third eye symbol is a symbol in the Avatar-verse that represents the sun. this could be why several people of elite status have that symbol. Instead of CM being a/the sun spirit, he was raised in a temple (or something), and so got a tattoo of the sun symbol signifying his elite status. (Did that make any sense...?)
    • So Combustion Man is a Warrior Monk, and while most bending is powered by faith and controlled by mindset, he has attained the ability to use one of the few truly Holy Hand Grenades? Cool. And the moon spirit was in a different situation, person two levels above, so the original theory could still hold. It was half of its component self and lived in a mystical spring, but the sun spirit could not Walk The Earth if it was unable to move beyond a small physical pattern of space.

Aang's old friend Kuzon was Roku's son/Ursa's father.
There's no real evidence to the contrary, and we all know the creators have an intimate relationship with the Rule Of Irony (which isn't a trope, but should be).
  • Jossed in "The Search". Ursa's father's name was Jinzuk and her mother was Roku's daughter.
    • Only half jossed. He could still be Roku's son and Ursa's uncle.

Ozai was The Unfavorite because...
  • Iroh was Azulon's only son for a long time before Ozai came along, giving them many years to form a close bond. (Iroh definitely looks at least twenty years older. This may also explain his significantly superior fathering skills.)
  • Ozai's mother died giving birth to him. (Yes, the idea was sparked by one of the Fanfic Recs, but it sure seems to fit nicely here.)
  • Ozai was a Creepy Child. We've seen itty-bitty Azula, and most of her personality clearly comes from daddy. (And depending on what the heck Ursa's deal was, there could be some interesting parallels to explore.)
  • Ozai was an illegitimate son whom Azulon felt no affection or connection for. He was just something that happened. In this case, the Firelord's wife Ilah would be Iroh's mother but not Ozai's.
    • Alternatively, Ilah was unfaithful and Ozai is hers, but not Azulon's. Hence the lack of paternal affection. To take it a step further, he may even resent Ozai for being the product of his wife's affair. Either way, though, it was all kept under wraps from the country, and only Azulon and Ilah knew that Ozai wasn't legitimate. (Otherwise there would have been a huge scandal, which would most likely result in a) Ozai not being accepted as Fire Lord due to not being of royal blood and b) Ilah being banished or worse, in which case she probably wouldn't have been mentioned at Azulon's funeral.)
    • Except Ozai resembles Azulon. They have the same cheekbones and similar jawlines. Unless Ilah was messing around with his brother or cousin or someone else in the family, it doesn't seem likely (Then again, given how screwed up the Fire Nation Royals tend to be...)
  • Azulon wanted fulfill the Fire Sage prophecy of uniting Roku/Sozin's bloodine together and couldn't do it Iroh because he's either already married or proposed to another woman. Not willing to strain his relationship with his only favorite son, Azulon decided to have another child to ensure a line of powerful fire bending heirs. The result gave him Ozai, and Azulon decided to raise him within the safety of walls instead of having go to war, pampering him for his intended destiny. This treatment made Ozai spoiled but also neglected emotionally since Azulon only sees him a ticket to having powerful grandchildren and nothing more.

Zuko was the The Unfavorite because...
  • Ozai decided to project his daddy issues and brother issues on his own kids. He treated his first born Zuko harshly because Iroh was Azulon's favorite. He downright prized Azula because he wanted the second born to come out on top.
  • Zuko looked just like Iroh did as a child, and Ozai resented that.
  • This is answered in The Search. Prior to her arranged marriage to Ozai, Ursa was in love with another man named Ikem. Even though Zuko was biologically Ozai's son, she fondly thought of him as being her child with Ikem and continued to send letters to him in spite of Ozai's orders to cut all ties to her old life. When Ozai confronted her she expressed a wish that Zuko turn out nothing like him, to which Ozai replied that if that was what she wanted, he would treat Zuko as the "son of a traitorous dog" because doing so would "only be fulfilling his mother's wish." Which makes Ozai's treatment of Zuko all the more horrible in hindsight: he knew that Zuko was his son, and only treated him horribly to spite his mother.

Read at your own risk!
Zucest is canon. However, [it ain't pretty. Zuko was a victim of sexual abuse by his sister Azula, and her Villainous Breakdown is the result of an accidental pregnancy.

Jeong Jeong and Piandao Served Under Iroh In The War
They are 3 great Fire Nation officers who all left the military and became members of The Order of the White Lotus. Iroh was the crowned prince so the other two knew of him and he had great respect prior to leaving the Siege at Ba Sing Se. When Ozai usurped Iroh's rightful place as heir, they left in protest.

Zuko and Mai are an official couple due to Azula.
Zutarians are probably going to disagree with me when I say this, but what the Hell: based simply on their psychological state Zuko and Mai are only compatible to each other. Why? Well, this is where Azula comes in: Azula had psychological control over quite a few characters, but the people who took the greatest impact from it were Zuko and Mai (due to their home lives sucking royally and their proximity to her). Those who have read the Fridge Brilliance page under literature may remember reading about a tropers revelation that Miss Havisham psychologically messed up both Pip and Estella to the point that the main thing that keeps them together is their mutual understanding of their past. Now imagine Miss Havisham in Azula's body, Estella in Mai's and Pip in Zuko's. This turns every romantic encounter with each other into a massive tearjerker for those who believe this guess. However, this means almost certainly that their relationship didn't end, if that's any consolation.
  • There’s no denying that Azula is essentially the only reason they were together again in the Fire Nation; Azula used Mai as bait so she could set up Zuko for ultimate humiliation and defeat. It’s not really possible to confirm this theory, but this troper doesn’t doubt that Azula’s abuse/crazy plotting at least played into getting them together and possibly keeping them together.

Zuko is blind in his burned eye.
More because I don't think there's anything to contradict it. A lot of people have pointed out how to have a burn that bad on his left eye, it would likely have rendered him blind. Well why not? Maybe his father even did it deliberately. 'If thine right eye offend me' and all that, (I know they don't have the bible in Avatar world but I'm sure the sentiment exists in some way)
  • While it’s certainly a plausible theory, I think Zuko’s skill as a warrior contradicts it. If you’re blind in one eye, you lose depth perception. Depth perception would be an absolutely vital skill to have in any kind of combat, and especially to be as good as Zuko is at infiltration, acrobatics, small-scale firebending, and certainly wielding twin swords.
    • And before you say anything, Toph was an extreme exception, who can get by because of her Disability Superpower, which allows her to tell how far away her enemies are.
      • Depth perception lost is due to the fact you're used to using both eyes to measure the distance and stuff. In time, Zuko would have adjusted to the loss of sight in his eye and managed just fine. The only problem he would have would be quiet attacks and stuff coming from that side.
  • Jossed by Word of God.

Most of the world thinks Zuko is a Magnificent Bastard
From the outside, it looks like Zuko, after having found the Avatar and helped his sister take over Ba Sing Se and the Earth Kingdom and finding out that the Avatar he thought he killed was alive, jumped ship before his daddy could find out and punish him for the deception, and then joined up with the Avatar because he figured it was a better bet. And he was right. He became Firelord a few months later, didn't he the slimy usurping bastard.
  • Technically he didn't usurp the throne, he restored the succession, since Ozai already usurped it (Iroh would have been the legitimate successor) and Iroh sort of adopts Zuko (and to make this legal is just a formality).
    • Zuko was already the legitimate heir. Iroh's only son, Lu Ten, died childless. So, even if Iroh had taken the throne, his successor would then be either his brother, Ozai, or his nephew, Zuko, depending on timeline. After neutralizing Ozai the usurper, Iroh abdicated his claim to the throne, and so next in line for the throne is Zuko.
  • First his father banishes him. Then he scours the globe for the one person powerful enough to stop his father. He finds the Avatar and just a few months later they overthrow his father together and Zuko ends up on the throne. Clearly he's been planning his rise to power since he was 13. He even got his father to finance the search for his own doom! The boy is a master tactician I tell you, watch out.

If given the time, Zuko would have bonded with Hakoda.
Zuko is in desperate need of a father figure that doesn't want to burn half his face. During the time he would have been with Hakoda, Iroh wasn't there. As such, Zuko would have sought comfort with the only adult man there. Hakoda would have sensed Zuko needed a father and have excepted him, because he's a nice guy.
  • Given the contrasts between their two families, sons and fathers, it would have been appropriate and nice to see some interaction between the two.
  • "Zuko would have sought comfort" Annnnnnnd my inner shipper immediately latched onto that.

Zuko is a ninja.
Hell, between the Blue Spirit and "The Southern Raiders", this is pretty much canon.
  • It's been confirmed that Zuko is trained in the Japanese art of ninjutsu, which is stealth, espionage, and infiltration.

All Fire Nation heirs are trained in the ancient art of Cock Blocking.
  • Azula: Cock Blocks Zuko and Mai.
  • Zuko: Cock Blocks Aang and Katara.
    • And we all know Zuko's The Un-Favourite because he tried and failed with Sokka and Suki.
  • Who do Ozai and Iroh Cock Block?

Sozin was Yandere for Roku
He didn't just kill off the Air Nomads because they'd produce the next Avatar and because a bunch of people who can manipulate oxygen could, in theory, be a real impediment to efforts to take over the world by setting things on fire. He was also jealous of Roku's (real or imagined) fling with Gyatso during his airbending training.
  • Except when Roku returned after this training there wasn't a trace of jealousy about their travels, there's no evidence that Sozin ever knew of Gyatso's particular existence, their falling-out was completely initiated by Roku's refusal to accept Sozin's world domination plans, and Sozin abandoned Roku to die in favor of his vision.

Jeong Jeong is fully aware that his Firebending is corrupted, he just refuses to learn the true Firebending.
He's part of the Order of the White Lotus, and they have to know what happened to Firebending and the location of the Sun Warriors. And Jeong Jeong clearly hates his bending, even wishing he could be a waterbender. So why not go the Dragons and learn from them? Because Jeong feels he is unworthy to even step foot in their city, and this is his self-imposed punishment for helping the Fire Nation war effort. This is also part of the reason he didn't want to teach Aang: why teach The Chosen One something you know is bad?
  • The dragons are a secret. Iroh swore to them that he wouldn't tell anyone. Jeong Jeong doesn't know about them.

Iroh x June will become a canon couple.
Because weirder couples have happened.

Ozai was a coffee addict.
It would explain his contempt and rivalry with tea-loving Iroh. In my mind, at least.

Kuzon was descended from Sun Warriors.
Well... Doesn't anyone else think he kinda looks like one of them? My guess is that as a baby, he found himself in the care of a modern middle-class Fire Nation family who decided to raise him as their own.

Mai could make a fortune playing Poker
So could have pre-break down Azula.

Part of the reason Azula lost her Agni Kai against Zuko during the finale and ended up chained was because like Zuko before her, she felt that she "Won", and thus paradoxically, lost her focus, which led to her defeat despite being such an Unbeatable Opponent before.
Evidenced by what happened to Zuko's firebending when he joined the Avatar. For so long, capturing the Avatar was driving his driving ambition and once he didn't need to catch the Avatar any more, he lost much of his Firebending.
  • Azula's goal (possibly since Childhood) was likely the Top Spot in the Fire Nation. Once she had that....
    • The fact that "minor" irritants were dealt harshly was probably her way of lashing out at the emptiness of her life.
      • Not even her brother charging in dramatically to challenge her was enough, after all, it was just Zuzu and some water peasant.
      • Azula might not have noticed her Fire Bending diminished because of Sozin's Comet enhancing what little was left, and thus, her anticipated "easy" fight ended anti-climatically in her capture. Had she known what she was in for, she would probably have retreated, took the time needed to regain her focus, and crush all who stood against her once and for all!

Azula and Ozai had a secret incest relationship after Ursa was banished
Hey, both of them were pretty messed in the head. Ozai needed SOMEBODY to be really close with after Ursa was gone. And it could explain why Azula creepily loves and respects her father so much and became a psycho in the end.

Mai and June are sisters, separated at birth.
Or perhaps June ran away. They look very similar, have similar cool-cat attitudes, and their names?

Ozai drove Azula mad as a form of control

HE had two plans for his children. Azula would be his winning piece, the one willing to fight the war and do anything that was needed to win. So he worker her hard, and intentionally turned her into Captain Crazy Pants. Zuko, however, was meant to be the administrator, the one who would actually run the world after everything is all said and done, somebody who would care about the world and the people they now control, so he turned him into Mr. Empathy. Zukos nature became to strong, and appeared to early, while Azula's nature made her into a monster, who fell into the Abyss at the first thing out of line.

Ilah died giving birth to Ozai

At his funeral, Azulon is only mentioned as having had one wife, so Iroh and Ozai presumably had the same mother. Given the considerable age gap between the two, she would have to have been fairly old when she had Ozai, thereby increasing the chance of something going wrong. This might explain why Azulon seems to have favoured Iroh and disliked Ozai so much (granted, he only had one scene, but you don't order your son to murder HIS son unless there are already some serious issues there). It also might explain some of the fundamental differences between the two brothers; perhaps Iroh, like Zuko, grew up with a loving mother figure in his life, turning him into the deeply compassionate individual that he is, while Ozai was raised by bitter, resentful, abusive, warmongering Azulon as a single father. Plus, Iroh was probably off fighting the war and whatnot throughout most of Ozai's childhood, causing Ozai to resent his brother for leaving him alone with "daddy", contributing to the deep enmity between the two.

Iroh’s trip to the spirit world earned him a place there after he dies

Under normal circumstances, only the Avatar can enter the spirit realm. When a normal human attempts this, their efforts are rewarded and they earn a place there after death. Entrance to the spirit realm by a normal human can only be done by achieving enlightenment. Iroh goes into a deep meditation after Lu Ten’s death to try and clear his mind, and does this accidentally. While in the spirit realm, he meets a one spirit in particular, the tree spirit, who lives just outside of Ba Sing Se, who told Iroh that his son was safe. Once returning to the mortal realm, Iroh has a clear mind, but he still misses his son terribly. If Korra were to enter the Spirit realm, she might find Iroh, under the same tree, playing with his young son.

Zuko is braver than we thought.

Zuko and Aang's clashes are pretty cool, but also quite lighthearted for most of season one. However If you think about WHO Zuko thought he was going to face in the second episode: a fully realized avatar. We can assume, as a prince, he would have a fair idea of just what the avatar can do when really riled up. He still tried to find and capture the Avatar alive, something that he thought would almost certainly mean his death. But he still preferred that to living without any honour.

Azula became the 53rd Earth King
Under the first part of Kuei's reign, life in Ba Sing Se was crap because of Long Feng. Then Azula took over, and, after the initial scare of being conquered by the Fire Nation, life improved. When Kuei returned to be the 52nd Earth King, he still had little idea on how to rule, and in The Promise almost restarted the War, even if the Fire Nation remains by far the greatest military power, while Azula, in the meantime, recovered her sanity. Do you need more for causing a city-wide insurrection deposing Kuei and inviting Azula to the throne?

Azulon ordered Ozai to kill Azula.
Think about it: the old man could have easily seen how Ozai viewed the kids, respectively. If he'd ordered Ozai to kill Zuko, Azulon knew the response would have been:

"Give me two minutes."
[leaves; offscreen explosion; Ozai returns]
"Okay, so I can be Fire Lord, then?"

No, Azulon wanted his son to know the feeling of loss; for that, Ozai would have to lose an offspring he cared about (And yes, we all know that Ozai was almost as sociopathic as his daughter, but he still would have viewed her as a valuable asset), not one he viewed as a disappointment. So that meant Azulon would have ordered Ozai to kill his daughter.

As a side effect, this means that Ursa really did love her daughter after all.

  • Jossed. Azulon wanted poetic eye for an eye. As Iroh lost his first born, Ozai would've lost his first born. And Ozai would not have thought twice about killing his daughter if that was the order. Ursa DID indeed love her daugher and would have struck the same deal to spare her life if that was the case.

Zuko takes after Ozai, while Azula takes after Ursa.
Ursa is clearly more calm and will think before she acts, while Ozai is brash and quick to the draw. It is implied she was able to manipulate circumstances to give her a chance to kill Fire Lord Azulon to protect Zuko quickly, because she certainly couldn't just walk in and murder the Fire Lord just like that. As soon as news of Lu Ten's dead arrived, Ozai made a quick fairly unplanned grab for the crown. Azula can lie and manipulate like a champ, while Zuko jumps into situations without thought. Azula is more like Ursa and Zuko is more like Ozai. The difference between all of them is who is backing them. Azula and Ozai generally succeed because they have a whole army at their disposal while Ursa and Zuko had only themselves.

Iroh wasn't involved with OWL untill Lu Ten died.
However, Iroh's mother, wife and son were. If Ilah died in childbirth with Ozai, and was involved with Iroh's upbringing, it could explain so much about the difference between Ozai and Iroh. She raised Iroh to understand balance and fairness, but couldn't teach Ozai the same. Ozai was then left with Azulon as his only influence. In addition if Ilah was a part of OWL, it would make sense for her to arrange her son's marriage with the daughter of another trusted member. Iroh's wife could even be an official part of OWL. Iroh would not know because the Crown Prince of a potential enemy nation knowing about a secret organization is simply not a good idea. Then Iroh's wife could tell Lu Ten about it. But then she died and so did Lu Ten. And Iroh was left with a white lotus Pai Sho tile.

Koh stole Lu Ten's Face...and it was Iroh's fault.
We know Iroh went to the spirit world. This troper theorizes that Iroh went seeking guidance on how to finally conquer Ba Sing Se and he took his son with him. Somehow while they were there, Koh got a hold of Lu Ten and added his face to his sick little collection.. Unable to save him, Iroh escaped, but the tragedy and guilt were enough to change him and kill any hunger for power he might've once held. To cover up what happened, it was reported that Lu Ten died on the front lines. It would also explain why he told Zhao not to tamper with the spirits. He has personal experience in the matter because one took his kid.
  • Interesting theory, but the image you linked to looks nothing like the image of Lu Ten we see at his grave. The eyes, eyebrows and hair are different, Lu Ten has no beard while the face stolen by Koh has one, and in general the stolen face looks like that of a middle-aged man. As seen in the flashback in "The Beach", Lu Ten was only 10 or so years older than Zuko, so he was still a young man when he died.
  • Maybe the face in the episode wasn't Lu Ten's, but the theory still makes a lot of sense. A line in the "Zuko Alone" flashback makes it seem like Iroh wasn't heading right back to the Fire Nation after his defeat at Ba Sing Se. It's possible that Lu Ten went into the Spirit World alone to try and find a way to win the battle and impress his father, but got lost or killed. Iroh spent years after his defeat going in and out of the spirit world, trying to find his son and never succeeding, while constantly blaming himself for giving Lu Ten the idea in the first place. It would also explain why he spends so much of his time convincing Zuko that winning his father's love via heroic deeds isn't the answer. Maybe if Iroh had told that to Lu Ten, he would still be alive.

Combustion man is Aang from an alternate future.
In his timeline, ozai was defeated, but everyone Aang ever knew and loved was killed in the process, and he was rendered mute. He's severely traumatized by these events- so traumatized, in fact, that he travels back in time to kill his younger self because he would prefer death to all the pain he has endured. Alternatively, Combustion man travels from timeline to timeline, killing various young Aangs, because he assumes that his future is the only possible one, and that it would be merciful to kill Aang rather than putting him through years of misery. It would certainly explain why he didn't stop when the hit was called off.
  • Maybe he's like Jet Li from The One, killing his past doubles to make himself more powerful.
  • We see adult Aang in The Legend of Korra, and he looks nothing like the Combustion Man. Also, the discussion Zuko has with him when he hires him implies Combustion Man is already a well known hitman before he takes the Aang job. If Combustion Man only cares about killing Aang, why does he work as a general hitman? And why does he wait until Zuko comes to hire him to go after Aang? Also, if Combustion Man is Aang, why doesn't he have Aang's tattoos? I don't think laser removal surgery is available in the Avatar world.

Lieutenant Jee is army, not navy.
This would explain why he readily took Iroh's suggestion to head for the eye of the cyclone—something every mariner knows not to do. This is plausible, since Zuko's ship is operated by a ragtag crew of misfits, including himself and Iroh, neither of whom are navy. Perhaps if Jeong Jeong, a former admiral, had found his way into the crew they wouldn't have been so foolish as to sail into the most dangerous part of a tropical cyclone at sea. And he would've given Iroh a good lecture about it later, which would've been quite entertaining.

Lu Ten is actually a non-bender and Iroh's wife was executed as a result
Lu Ten was born a non-bender to two fire benders, which was a scandal that rocked the royal family. They chose to act as if Lu Ten was a firebender (they would tell others that Lu Ten's firebending was extremely powerful that its mere usage could wipe out an entire acre of land), to keep up appearances and acted as if Lu Ten's mother (and Iroh's wife) died in childbirth. However, the truth was once it was discovered via the Fire Lord (thanks to Ozai of course), Iroh's wife was executed. Lu Ten was supposed to be executed but Iroh stepped in and offered his own life up to save his son. Azulon, who favored Iroh over Ozai, spared Lu Ten under the condition that he trains with the finest swordsman in town when he's old enough (Piandao) and he enlists in the Fire Nation Army as soon as he's old enough. During the training, Piandao began to instill a love for peace and let Lu Ten in on what the war was really doing to others. Lu Ten had tried to back out and didn't want to fight, but Iroh's hands were tied. It was part of the deal of his life being spared. And any hope of Lu Ten being able to back out was dashed the moment he questioned the war's motives to Azulon's face.

His death is why Iroh feels so guilty because if Iroh had half the honor and courage that his son had, he could've helped him defect and escape. He could've saved him.

Azulon was the most powerful Fire Lord
  • He is said to be a prodigy in his youth, and he was a feared general who does not seem at all battle-scarred. Also notice that he's the only character who Ozai has ever submitted to? He apparently ordered Ozai to kill his own son and he was going to do it despite the fact that Azulon pretty much told him that he would never revoke Iroh's birthright. This man must've been seriously powerful.

Lu Ten was like an older brother to Zuko
  • Look at the way Zuko immediately flashed back to hearing the news of his death when Lee's brother was captured and very possibly killed by the Fire Nation. Also in said flashback Zuko looked like he was on the verge of tears when he heard of Lu Ten's death and later when he was talking to Azula about it. Zuko also immediately softens whenever Iroh brings him up.

Both Sozin and Azulon could bend lightning
  • Both seem powerful enough to do it.

Azula, Mai and Ty Lee are evil, alternate universe Powerpuff Girls.
  • Seriously. This is most likely Jossed, but Azula is very much a "commander and the leader", Ty Lee just screams Bubbles, and Mai, while not quite being Buttercup, is still a grumpy girl. They might have spilt up later in their lives, after all, the little!Fire Nation trio from Zuko Alone are still older than the current!Powerpuff Girls, so they might have gotten into a fight and didn't consider themselves "sisters" anymore. Either that, or in this universe, they're not siblings. Also, Blossom has shown signs of being a Broken Ace, and maybe that took over her and she became Azula. It would also explain Azula's [spoiler: breakdown at the end.] Buttercup may have become less tomboyish and more "meh" over time, especially after she fell in love with Zuko. Also, both characters have quite a raspy voice, even at 5, in Buttercup's case. Bubbles kept her personality, however, when she became Ty Lee. Also, keep in mind that all three Powerpuffs can make lightning by clapping their hands, and part of Azula's blue fire is almost the exact same shade of blue as both Blossom's ice breath and Bubbles' blue in general. Maybe Blossom was the only one born with powers in this universe, and only some, at that.

Azula got trapped in the Fog of Lost Souls (from The Legend of Korra) when she was little
  • And that's why she's such a psycho. (she escaped obviously)

There is a secret colony of Air Nation Survivers

Ty Lee has some Air Nomad blood in her
There's a surprising amount of evidence pointing to her being descended from Air Nomads. Let's take a look, shall we?
  • She has brown hair and gray eyes, unlike most Fire Nation people, who have black hair and yellow eyes. On the other hand, this coloring seems to have been common among the Air Nomads.
  • Her face is very round, similar to Aang's. Looking at other Air Nomads, it seems to be a common feature.
  • Her personality matches Aang's so well she almost comes off like a Gender Flipped version of him. Both are very excitable, care-free, happy, outgoing, and social. Not to mention, they both smile a lot.
  • Ty Lee is incredibly quick, agile, flexible, fast, and capable of jumping very high. Much like Air Nomads.
  • The Air Nomads were, obviously, nomads who didn't settle in one place for too long. Ty Lee moved from home, and then from the circus, very quickly.
  • Her fighting style appears to minimize the amount of pain she deals to an opponent, much like how the Air Nomads fought.
  • Here's a trivial bit of evidence. In "The Beach", Ty Lee is the only one of the four teenagers who wears a white swimsuit. Perhaps Zuko, Mai, and Azula wore red to show their pride in the Fire Nation and Ty Lee wore white in respect to the Air Nomads?
  • This one is very peculiar. Ty Lee is spiritually aware with her ability to see auras and feel the energies (recall her negative energy reference). The Air Nomads were incredibly spiritual as well. I believe Guru Pathik and Iroh may have been the only other characters who can say the same.

Ozai's punishment
  • After Ozai tried to convince Azulon to betray Iroh's birthright, the punishment Azula overheard was that Ozai was going to be sent to the front lines, where the fighting at the time was thickest. Azulon was trying to punish his son for his insolence by separating him from his children and making him go through what Iroh had been going through for 600 days. Azula completely made up the "dad's going to kill you" story that she taunted Zuko with, just trying to push his buttons with the one thing she knew he was insecure about, She also told Ursa about it when she came in, not out of character for her to want to push her mom's buttons too. Ursa immediately asked Ozai about it, and Ozai kept up the pretense, seeing a way to usurp the throne and avoid having to go into battle all in one fell swoop. Azula saw this as a great opportunity for her and her father, so she never told anyone about the incident, though she obviously figured out what had happened after the fact.
    • Jossed. The Search made it clear as day that Ozai was going to kill him. Ozai said as much during day of black sun part 2 as well.

Iroh wasn't right
  • At least not completely. Most of his interactions with Zuko in season two revolve around convincing Zuko that he can have a fulfilling life away from the fire nation and away from his family. Iroh had turned his back on his family a long time ago, and hoped that Zuko could follow him, which he nearly did in Ba Sing Se. The problem is that Iroh didn't understand how loyal Zuko was to his nation. He would never be truly happy separated from his people, even if he could have lived a peaceful life. So when Azula offered any hope of returning home again, he took it, because Iroh's solution would never have worked. Iroh was right in his conviction that his family was corrupt, but he chose to turn his back on the entire fire nation and leave it in his brother's hands. Zuko wanted what was best for his nation, not just for himself.

Iroh was the in-universe inspiration for Fire Nation Man
They look similar, and the Earth Kingdom has some pretty compelling reasons to despise Iroh in particular.

Azulon actually ordered Zuko to be adopted by Iroh
  • Fire Lord Azulon named Zuko Iroh's heir. This is what he meant when he said Ozai "must know the pain of losing a first-born son by sacrificing your own." Azula simply misunderstood the situation and when she told Ursa and Ursa confronted Ozai, Ozai saw a chance to prevent this from happening.
    • Firstly, killing Zuko is the waste of a perfectly useful fire nation prince, at a time when fire nation princes are dying in war.
    • Secondly, Iroh needs an heir as firelord, and shows no inclination to remarry.
    • Thirdly, killing a child will make Azulon look like a monster at a time when he needs to look benevolent (people gotta believe you're fighting this war for good reasons).
    • Fourthly, it's a perfect punishment for Ozai. He is punished for trying to put himself first in line of succession by being further moved down the succession - and assuming Zuko has children, permanently losing the chance to be firelord.
    • It also explains why Ozai acted the way he did at the Agni Kai. He still had a chip on his shoulder about the fact that his father had tried to put Zuko ahead of him in the line of succession, and seeing Zuko speak out made him decide Zuko had to be disposed of then and there - not quietly in another 5 years or so by sticking him on the front lines somewhere.
Iroh knew exactly what the white dragon/jade bush was, and it was neither
  • Iroh knows far too much about tea to make a mistake about identifying a tea plant.
  • Iroh also knows that tea leaves have to be dried and cured before drinking, so he wouldn't have been able to drink it right away anyway.
  • He drinks a bush that will give him mild rashes (nothing too serious) because he needs an excuse to make Zuko go to the earth nation for help.

Zhao is a member of the Royal family, though is a distant one
Zhao is shown in the audience of nobles and military personnel to Zuko’s Agni Kai against the Firelord, 2-3 years before the series start. But in the first season, he’s only recently been promoted to commander from Captain. It seems unlikely that a simple captain of a ship would attend the Firelords’ Agni Kai in the capitol where only the Fire Nation elite dwells. He also seems very happy that Zuko is scared and banished. Initially this seems as mere sadism, but there might be more to it than that. Similarly, his backstory mentions that he has risen swiftly in the ranks and he enjoys the Firelords personal attention, getting a promotion from Commander to High Admiral midseason, without significant accomplishments.

Explanation: Zhao’s a distant relative of the Fire Nation royal family.

Further theories that expands on the matter:

  • Azolon is specifically stated to be the oldest of Sozins’ sons, but another son is never introduced, nor is his family. Zhao could possibly be a descendant of this second son.
    • Ozai might have sought out this distant family as a political ally early in his reign as a way of strengthening his rule, by empowering potential assets/relatives with promotions that ultimately serves Ozai himself. A similar situation occurs when Ozai later plans to have Azula crowned as Firerlord while he himself becomes Phoenix King. Zhao would have benefitted from the promotions and been more loyal to Ozai as a result.
  • Being related to the royal family could explain Zhaos ambitious nature, as he’s bent on attaining glory and power, as exemplified in his grandstanding while he’s captured the Moonspirit. Zhao is trying to measure up to the reputation of his distant relatives in the royal family (or possibly outshine them).
  • Zhao’s glee at seeing Zuko get burnt might also be related to his ambitious nature, with Zuko out of the way, there’s one less heir to the throne. Which makes Zhao all the more useful to the Firelord if something were to happen to Azula as well. It might even make him eligible as Firelord in the future. A longshot, it’s true, But Zhao has proven very willing to take crazy chances to achieve his “destiny” so to shoot for the position of Firelord might not be that big a leap.

There is another reason that Fire Lord Azulon didn't seem impressed by Azula and Zuko's demonstrations other than because he doesn't like them.
  • It's also because he knew the whole thing was a sham from the beginning. I mean his firstborn's own son is killed in the War and Iroh has yet to return to the palace. Instead of mourning or grieving, Ozai instead decides to play an equivalent to a Family Trivia Night and show off his children as if nothing ever happened. Is it any surprise why Azulon sees all of it as a waste of time? Get to the point Ozai.

Azula didn't actually want to kill Zuko, only disrespect him.
There are a couple of points that support this hypothesis.
  • When Azula has the chance to aim lightning at Zuko, she decides to attack Katara when she pops into view. The obvious explanation for this is that Azula wants to devastate Zuko's feelings by attacking the water tribe "peasant" as she would declare. However, in a similar scenario from Book II, she attacks Iroh with normal fire so she can escape when she could have easily used lightning to catch him by surprise. This proposes the possibility that while she hates weak and inferior people she has at least some respect for family and high ranking authority. She may still see Zuko as family, and even Iroh to an extent.
  • She also may have thought that Zuko was bluffing about lightning redirection, something that she has never heard about, deciding to attack Katara so that she could humiliate Zuko without killing him. If she killed him, that would be going too far. She does mention to Katara that she would like the "family physician" to look after Zuko because she only wants him removed from power not killed outright. For all we know, she might have been totally fine with letting Zuko live so long as he didn't get in her way. During her short time with being Fire Lord she doesn't actually go through with killing anybody, instead banishing and condemning them.
  • It's entirely possible that Azula was realizing that the game was up with Ozai and that the way to secure power was to eliminate him as soon as the comet passed. Once that occured, they would be on an even playing field in her cracked mind and as such could be betrayed. She might have decided that Ozai was the only person she needed to kill, as everybody else could be locked up or banished. Attacking Zuko might have been a means to ensure that he, and the other heroes, didn't get in the way when she tried to attack Ozai and seize control. Now as for whether or not that could have worked...that's debatable.

Azula got the lion's share of Avatar genes whereas Zuko wasn't so lucky and didn't receive the bending potential from Roku's bloodline.
Since it was revealed in The Search that Ursa's marriage to Ozai was a eugenics experiment, it would stand to reason that it succeeded on some level, but moreso with Azula than Zuko. It would explain why Azula's firebending produced blue flames when no other firebender either in the original series or The Legend of Korra could do so. And it also explains why in some instances, Azula is able to break the laws of bending physics by being able to produce lightning in a crazed state when it was established before that one needed a calm, tranquil state of mind to be able to bend lightning. And since genetics are just funny sometimes, Zuko didn't receive the more potent Avatar genes from Roku but Azula did, hence why she's seen as a prodigy by her father and many Fire Nation officials.

Most of the time, Azula prefers to use violence only when necessary.
As odd as it may seem, when accomplishing a task Azula will often take a nonviolent solution over a violent one.

Some examples:

  • Instead of capturing Zuko and Iroh, she tries to get them on her ship calmly and willingly by telling them Ozai welcomed them back. It would have worked if the ship captain didn’t let slip that they were prisoners.
  • Her coup of Ba Sing Se was completely bloodless and relied on infiltration and manipulation rather than force.
  • She refuses Zuko’s Agni Kai and just has the Dai Li throw him in the crystal dungeon.
  • She stops the Boiling Rock warden from interrogating (and potentially torturing) an innocent guard.

There are some instances where she takes a violent option, but this is only when she clearly has no other choice (“The Chase”, for example). The fact that she’s very willing to use violence in "The Southern Raiders" and "Sozin’s Comet" is the result of her Villainous Breakdown.

The one notable exception to this rule is "The Beach". Azula didn’t have to destroy that party, but she did it to make herself feel better. She also seemingly developed this tendency somewhat recently if her behavior in flashbacks is anything to go by. (Throwing things at turtleducks won't accomplish anything.)

That being said, Azula is perfectly willing to use the threat of violence to force people into compliance. She has threatened the lives of several people (Ty Lee, Tom Tom, the Earth King, etc.) knowing very well that people will give in to her demands and she won’t actually kill them.

Why was Azulon born the same year the war started?
It would be rather foolish of Sozin to wait until he was in his eighties to have an heir (and somewhat Out of Character for a guy who planned for events more than a decade in advance), so I’m offering two theories to explain this (which admittedly is the result of a Retcon):
  • Azulon had older siblings, but he was chosen to inherit the crown because he was the strongest firebender.
  • Sozin’s original heir was killed while leading one of the initial attacks on the Air Temples (we know some of the airbenders fought back), forcing Sozin to father another child in his old age.

Sozin criminalized same-sex relationships specifically to spite his sister.
The Avatar Legends roleplaying game reveals Sozin had a younger sister named Zeisan who was bisexual. Sozin and Zeisan had a good amount of Sibling Rivalry, so it's possible his ban was an extension of that.