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This article is about the character in the series. For other similar uses, see Azula (disambiguation).
Azula
Azula
Biographical information
Nationality

Fire Nation Capital, Fire Nation

Ethnicity

Fire Nation

Age
Born

85 AG

Reign

Late spring 100 AG (as Earth Queen)

Predecessor
Successor
Physical description
Gender

Female

Hair color

Black

Personal information
Allies

Ozai, Zuko (formerly), Mai (formerly), Ty Lee (formerly), Lo and Li (formerly), Ursa, the Dai Li (formerly), Fire Nation, Fire Nation military (formerly)

Enemies

Iroh, Zuko, Kuei, Long Feng, Mai, Ty Lee, Ursa, Earth Kingdom, Kyoshi Warriors, Team Avatar, Water Tribe, more ...

Weapon of choice

Fire, lightning

Fighting style(s)

Firebending

Chronological and political information
Position
  • Crown Princess of the Fire Nation (formerly)
  • Firebending master
  • Head of the Dai Li (formerly)
  • Mental health patient (formerly)
  • Princess Regent (overthrown by Zuko before her coronation)
Affiliation
First appearance
Last appearance

The Search Part 3

Voiced by

Grey DeLisle

Azula was the princess of the Fire Nation, daughter of Fire Lord Ozai and Princess Ursa, younger sister of Zuko, and the older half-sister of Kiyi. She was a key adversary of Team Avatar,[4] chasing Avatar Aang and her banished brother far across the Earth Kingdom accompanied by her two best friends Mai and Ty Lee.

A firebending prodigy, Azula was sadistic, manipulative, and obsessed with power. She was a skilled strategist who orchestrated the coup over the Earth Kingdom capital Ba Sing Se,[5][6] and halted the invasion on the Day of Black Sun.[7]

Azula harbored deep mental instabilities, believing her mother loved Zuko more than her.[8] Raised by her father in an environment without a mother-figure, Azula had to be nothing less than perfect in her father's eyes just to earn any affection from him. After the betrayal of her two closest friends Mai and Ty Lee, these instabilities were brought up to the surface.[1] Upon the arrival of Sozin's Comet, Azula was soon to be crowned Fire Lord;[9] however, her defeat at the hands of her brother Zuko and Katara caused her to suffer a complete mental breakdown.[10]

Following her emotional breakdown, she was put in a mental health institution to recover, though eventually joined Team Avatar on their search for Ursa, as part of her secret agenda to betray them and usurp the throne from Zuko.

History

Early life

Early childhood

Princess Azula was born to Prince Ozai and Princess Ursa in 85 AG and was named after her paternal grandfather, Fire Lord Azulon.[11] Azula grew up in the riches, the splendor, and the privileges of royalty in the Fire Nation. Her sharp wits and the fact that she was a firebending prodigy gained her great attention and acclaim, which quickly made her Ozai's favorite child.[12] Her father began raising her as his true heir from an early stage, taking her into his confidence and educating her in politics, while on the other hand neglecting Zuko. She later attended the Royal Fire Academy for Girls, where she met Mai and Ty Lee, two daughters of Fire Nation noblemen.[13]

Nevertheless, when Azula and Zuko were little, cohesion and peace were still strong among the young family. Zuko and Azula often reenacted the final duel of Love amongst the Dragons after watching the play during their frequent vacations at Ember Island. Both siblings happily recalled these memories many years later.[14] However, as they grew older, the siblings eventually grew apart.

Deteriorating relationship with Zuko and Ursa

One reason for this development was jealousy, because while Azula was clearly favored by Ozai, she felt that her mother loved Zuko much more than her. Confronted daily with this mother/son bonding, Azula often attempted to gain Ursa's attention in some way. However, these attempts usually resulted in family quarrels. Around 94 AG, Azula walked together with her mother and brother in the royal garden. Feeling neglected and bored as Ursa only talked with Zuko, Azula ignited a flower, prompting Zuko to tell on her to Ursa. Ursa scolded Azula for disrespecting the royal garden, but the princess just said that the flower "deserved it", as it had not grown to her liking. In retaliation for telling on her, the Fire Nation princess burned Zuko's bottom, calling him a tattletale. However, Ursa promptly sent her to her room. Scowling about this treatment, Azula stormed off.[14] These kinds of scenes happened on regular basis, and due to this, the Fire Princess began to feel increasing hostility toward Zuko and Ursa.

Young Azula and Zuko

Azula smiled triumphantly at her shocked brother while he was reprimanded by Ozai.

Months later, Azula and her family ate together at the palace dining hall. The princess, unsatisfied with the conservative training techniques of her firebending teacher, happily told her father that she set his britches on fire after being lectured by him. Ozai agreed that the teacher sounded like a fool for insisting on specified forms and declared that he would send him to the colonies as punishment. Full of spiteful joy, Azula said that it "serve[d] him right" and called him a "dummy". However, Zuko attempted to defend the tutor, but was promptly silenced by his father. Ozai continued to reprimand his son for his poor firebending skills, comparing him with Azula and her natural talent for the bending art. Revealing that he would have almost discarded Zuko because he thought that he was a nonbender when the prince was born, Azula triumphantly smiled at her shocked brother.[14]

Young Azula

Even as a young child, Azula exhibited a duplicitous and cunning streak, as demonstrated when she manipulated her mother to get her way.

Even though Azula often displayed her natural talents, along with her tendency for malice and perfection, they were especially clear when the princess played with her friends in the royal garden in 95 AG. When Ty Lee succeeded in performing a cartwheel after Azula had failed while attempting to do her own, Azula responded by shoving her friend to the ground, out of jealousy, and laughing gleefully. When she saw ten-year-old Mai attempting to hide her crush on her brother Zuko, Azula used her acting and cunning to convince her mother to make Zuko play with them. During their game, she proceeded to place an apple on Mai's head and set it on fire, forcing Zuko to tackle Mai into a fountain to put out the fire. She found great pleasure in embarrassing the two of them.[11]

Ursa's banishment

A true tactician, Azula desired power from a young age, suggesting that her father would make a better Fire Lord than the heir apparent, her uncle, Iroh. She torched a doll that her uncle had sent her as a gift from the Earth Kingdom, preferring the weapon Zuko had gotten over a simple doll. Not long after this, her cousin Lu Ten was dead, causing Iroh to abandon his legendary six-hundred-day siege at Ba Sing Se, which in turn prompted Azula to call him "a quitter and a loser". She even showed some slight disrespect to her grandfather as when she was told to call him "Fire Lord Azulon", she responded with, "Can't we just call him grandfather? He's not exactly the powerful firebender he used to be".[11]

Azula telling Zuko of Ozai's punishment

Azula told Zuko that their father was going to kill him on Azulon's orders.

Shortly after receiving this news, Azula and the rest of her family went before Fire Lord Azulon, and she put on a spectacular display of her firebending prowess. After her routine, she watched smugly as Zuko tried to copy her performance, but his attempt failed. When Azulon ordered everyone except Ozai out of the room, Azula grabbed her brother and hid behind the curtains. From there, she watched her father request that he be made Fire Lord instead of Iroh. When Zuko fled in fear from the Fire Lord's anger, Azula stayed behind to watch with amusement. She later met her brother back in his room, claiming gleefully that she heard her grandfather sentence him to death. She taunted him about it until their mother angrily pulled her away for a private talk.[11] Under pressure from her mother, Azula confessed what she overheard and was told by her mother to return to her room, which she did while sporting a devious smile.[14] A short time later, Azula played with the knife that Zuko had received from Iroh and coolly announced that their grandfather had passed away and their mother had vanished. Soon after that, she watched her father's coronation with glee.[11] No amicable feelings developed between her and Zuko throughout the next few years, as Ozai apparently began to favor her more and more over her brother during this period.

Rise to Crown Princess

Agni Kai audience

Azula sadistically relished in the sight of her father burning her brother's face during their Agni Kai.

Azula, alongside Iroh and Zhao, watched Zuko's Agni Kai with his father. When Ozai burned her brother's face, she smiled smugly in triumph, along with Zhao.[15] When Zuko was banished from the Fire Nation, Azula officially became Ozai's heir. For the next three years, she would continue her relentless training in firebending, strategy, and combat, until she refined herself enough to serve her father. By this time, her firebending advanced to the level where her fire was blue and she could create lightning thus increasing her overall bending power and intensity, making her a formidable prodigy.

Winter 100 AG

Shortly after Zhao's failed siege on the Northern Water Tribe, Azula was summoned by her father to his throne room. As she knelt before Fire Lord Ozai, he commented that Zuko was a failure and Iroh was a traitor. He charged her with a mission: to find and capture her uncle and brother.[16]

Spring 100 AG

Main article: History of Azula (Spring 100 AG)

Summer 100 AG

Main article: History of Azula (Summer 100 AG)

After the Hundred Year War

Insane Azula

Azula agreed to help Zuko extract information from Ozai.

After her Agni Kai with Zuko and subsequent mental breakdown, Azula was transferred to a mental health facility on a nearby island, where she was continuously monitored.[12] About a year later, she was visited by her brother, who told her that he had consulted with Ozai numerous times and had tried to get information about Ursa's whereabouts, though to no avail. Answering his request for help, Azula said that she needed nothing in return for her assistance, as the mere knowledge of being of service to the Fire Lord would be enough satisfaction, stating that she had been wondering as well what exactly happened to their mother following her disappearance six years earlier.[17]

She was placed in adjoining cells with her father, though they did not speak with each other for half an hour. When Zuko noticed that, he came to bring them tea, in an attempt to make the situation more enjoyable. Azula grabbed hold of the tray with her teeth, however, and subsequently made Zuko fall over. She angrily accused him of wanting to see her lap up the beverage like an animal, since she would not have had any other way to do so while being confined in a straitjacket. Her outburst caused her to be chi blocked by Ty Lee. Upon seeing her old friend, her psychosis made her question the girl as to how "she", referring to Ursa, had managed to overturn the grasp of fear Azula used to have on her. Before the situation could escalate any further, Zuko intervened and stated that he had meant no harm and just wanted to ease the conversation with Ozai along. After having been placed on her chair again, the chi blocked Azula arrogantly stated that if her brother wanted her and their father to have a dignified conversation, he should leave them alone, which he did.[18]

Azula burning Ursa's letters

Azula burned Ursa's letters, much to Zuko's shock and horror.

When Zuko was taking her back to her old quarters in the palace where she would be staying, he asked her whether or not she had been able to coax the needed information about Ursa's whereabouts from Ozai. She dodged the question and asked in return whether or not he had ever experienced the sensation of being chi blocked. When Zuko said he had not, she proceeded to meticulously describe the feeling, mentioning that one becomes extremely flexible right before regaining their full control. To prove her words, she twisted her arm out of her straitjacket and fired a lightning bolt at her brother. In the ensuing skirmish, she managed to free herself entirely and made her way into the nearby building. Via a secret passageway, she went to one of Ozai's secret chambers where she retrieved the stack of letters that Ursa wrote to, though were never delivered to her hometown. Before Zuko could take them from her, she burned them after having read them herself. She concealed one of them, however, though let her brother believe that all had been lost. In return for knowledge about what had been written in the allegedly burned letter, she requested to be allowed to go with him on his search for their mother.[18]

Complying to the request, Zuko released her from the mental hospital and allowed her to accompany him, unbound and with dignity. When she showed herself to Team Avatar, however, she was immediately attacked by Katara. She easily dodged their attacks and proceeded to taunt and insult Sokka. It did not come to a scuffle until the next day, during which Azula disarmed Sokka with a small, non-lethal lightning shock, after he had threatened her with his boomerang. The rest of the team immediately intervened and immobilized her with their bending. Upon her release, she haughtily stated that if they all just stay away from her, they would get along perfectly.[18]

Ursa loves Azula

Azula was unable to cope with the fact that Ursa loved her.

She traveled with Team Avatar on Appa to Hira'a to find her mother, but her mood was erratic, unpredictable, and characterized by symptoms of psychosis, as she constantly asked Team Avatar how "she" had contacted them, referring to her mother. Upon nearing Hira'a, she attempted to escape by jumping off of Appa. Aang swooped down and caught her in free fall, but she set his glider afire, causing him to crash to the ground and securing her getaway. She ran away, but stopped as she neared a stream and heard her mother's voice coming from the water. She argued with the reflection, accusing Ursa of having wanted to ruin her from the day she was born and was the head of a conspiracy to strip her of her power, which she also claimed her mother had been jealous of. However, she triumphantly stated that thanks to Ursa's letter, she now had all the proof she needed to take the throne from Zuko. She thus revealed her own plans to find and kill Ursa herself in order to stop her once and for all. She let out an emotionally toiled scream as the hallucination of her mother confirmed her love for her, prompting Azula to fire a lightning bolt at the mirage, stating the love declaration to be nothing more as Ursa's last treasonous attempt to set her own mind against her.[18]

Azula chases off the moth wasps

Azula saved Team Avatar from a moth wasp attack.

At that point, Zuko showed up and asked to whom she had been talking. Reacting aggressively, she wanted to strike her brother down, but was encased in ice by Katara instead. As the waterbender walked up to her, she blamed the girl of being one of Ursa's co-conspirators, though her rant was interrupted when the wolf spirit showed up and attacked the group. As they were being overpowered by moth wasps coughed up by the spirit, Azula asked Zuko to free her so she could help, convincing him that she could not possibly make things worse for them and stating that if he could not even trust his own family, there was no one left to be trusted. He melted her icy restraints, and keeping true to her word, she created a large lightning bolt and shot it away from the group, drawing the light-oriented moth wasps and wolf spirit with it. That night, Azula was talking in her sleep and shivering from the cold, but received a blanket from Zuko.[18]

The next day began with the princess being awakened by another hallucination of Ursa. Her mother urged Azula to stop doing what she did, as Ursa believed that it was not Azula's destiny. The princess, however, intended to shoot at her mother with lightning, but Ursa only urged Azula to find her true destiny. A panicked Azula's hallucination ended with Katara's hand in her grip. Sokka prepared his boomerang, but Katara calmed the unstable firebender down. Azula found that her brother took the letter elsewhere and threatened the siblings with fire to reveal his location. She burnt down a few of trees and bushes nearby, and she made her way to her brother.[14]

Azula demanding Ursa's letter

Azula demanded Ursa's letter back from Zuko, believing it to be her key to the Fire Nation throne.

Azula found her brother was sitting with Aang at the end of a cliff. Frustrated, she shot fire blasts at Zuko and a duel broke out. Aang ran using his air glider and tried to put the fire out. Azula was grabbed by Zuko and held over the cliff while she accused their mother of tipping him off to the letter's location, before finding out that he had held it all night. Zuko requested to Azula that they stop their fighting, to which Azula agreed, and they both went back to the team. After the rest of the team put out the fires, the entire group continued their journey to Hira'a.[14]

They reached the border of Hira'a and the Team Avatar disguised themselves using the crimson robes. Azula was the only one who still wore her own outfit. The group arrived just as a performance of Love amongst the Dragons was ending. Azula and Zuko recalled the times they used to see the play and how they acted out the battle scene; Azula bragged she made a better Dragon Emperor, which is why she took up the role between the two. The play ended, and Azula followed the others. They met the leader of the Hira'a acting troupe, Noren, who offered them information on Ursa in addition to tea and an invite to his and his wife, Noriko's, home. Azula and Zuko talked to the couple's daughter, Kiyi, about her doll. The princess mentioned she used to give her dolls "headcuts" instead of haircuts, offering one for Kiyi's doll, which scared the young girl and caused Zuko to berate his sister. Afterward, the firebender remarked that she was "tempted to burn the whole place down, but resisted for [Zuko]". The thought drew Katara's ire, causing the two girls to argue. The increasing tensions between Katara and Azula resulted in Zuko declaring that Forgetful Valley would be the last stop for the trip.[14]

Azula saving Sokka

Azula saved Sokka from Misu's plantbending attack.

Upon arrival, Azula attempted to make a path by burning parts of the valley, drawing the fire of the rest of the group once more. When Aang found a flutter bat that brought him to a pond, Azula and the others followed the two there. The Avatar said it was a spiritual place and urged everyone to respect it, but Azula once again saw a hallucination of Ursa urging her to stop the mission. The princess promptly went against Aang's word and blasted the pond with lightning and yelled at Aang that Ursa had told him to bring them there. Katara was about to freeze her in place, but a rain of flower-shaped ice discs began to attack the team and the nearby plants began to pull the team in one by one. Azula saved Sokka from a vine, arguing that the more "peasants" around, the more of a chance she had to survive. Katara countered with plantbending and ordered whomever was attacking to reveal themselves to the team.

Rafa and Misu, brother and sister themselves, arrived and set up camp with the group. Misu warned them that Forgetful Valley's ponds needed to remained undisturbed. She told her and Rafa's story to the team; the sibling bond they had resulted in uncertain looks from Azula and her brother. The princess cut the story short and asked about Ursa, to which Misu replied that neither she nor Rafa had seen her. As Aang prepared to cross into the Spirit World to seek out the wolf spirit, Azula walked away; when confronted by Zuko, she snapped at him, wondering if they were really going to find their mother or help "a couple of vagrants". Zuko said that it was Aang's duty to help people, and Azula accused the Fire Lord of not wanting to hold the throne anymore, instead traveling with Team Avatar to help people. Her mind quickly shifted, again accusing Ursa of orchestrating Rafa and Misu's arrival to throw them off the trail. She prepared to shoot lightning at the siblings, warning her mother that her plans would fail.[14]

Azula breaks in

Azula broke into Noren and Noriko's home through the ceiling after finding out that Noriko was really her mother, Ursa.

Her attack was thwarted by Zuko, however, and she was forced to calm down, awaiting Aang's return. When the Avatar brought the Mother of Faces with him, Azula interrupted Misu's plea to the spirit to grant her brother a new face with a demand to know about Ursa. After learning that the Mother of Faces had given Ursa a new identity as Noriko, Azula promptly took off to Hira'a with her brother and Sokka chasing after her. Barging into Noren and Noriko's house, Azula was finally able to confront her mother, demanding to know if Kiyi was supposed to be her replacement because she was such a monster. Sokka held her off temporarily, but the princess ultimately slammed Ursa to the wall and prepared a ball of fire, intent on killing her. She teared up when her amnesiac mother apologized for not loving her enough, but after being separated by Zuko, she began attacking him.

Azula asked Zuko why he would not allow her to take the throne, saying he would be free of something he did not want, and she of "incessant nagging in [her] head". Told that she was wrong, the firebender protested, reminding him that he had the opportunity to throw her over the cliff and be rid of both her and the letter. Zuko answered that he knew the throne was his destiny and continued to say that, no matter how messy their relationship was, she was still his sister. Azula, shedding tears, burned an opening through a nearby wall and ran outside, dropping the letter in the process. She ran off toward the Forgetful Valley, calling her brother weak when he begged her to stay so that he could help her, before vanishing from sight. Aang, Katara and Sokka noted that they would have to be on guard for when she comes back, but Aang was optimistic that Azula was beginning to change, theorizing that she dropped the letter for Zuko to have again on purpose, though Sokka did not believe this.[19]

Personality

"Almost perfect."
"One hair out of place."
"Almost isn't good enough!
"
Lo and Li talking to Azula about her training.


Born a princess and hailed as a prodigy, Azula grew up to be very narcissistic. She relentlessly drilled herself toward perfection and settled for nothing less from herself or those who serve her.[20] She believed that power and domination are what makes a person strong, and as such will only help others if she has some personal gain at stake. She had absolute confidence in her "divine right to rule" which she believed she was born with.[6] She had neither pity nor mercy toward those she marked as treasonous or inferior. As one who wanted nothing less than absolute control, she likewise had remarkable control of herself, seemingly always able to react to any situation at a moment's notice, never losing her composure.

Azula hanging from a cliff

Even in life-threatening situations, Azula remained focused and deadly.

Azula was marked by a distinct lack of empathy. Even as a child, she reacted with hostility when outdone, such as shoving Ty Lee to the ground after Ty Lee had bested her in gymnastics.[11] This behavior would characterize her relationship with her friends for many years. Although she could show sympathy toward them, she never cared for their feelings and manipulated them as she saw fit, such as when she threatened Ty Lee into leaving the circus and joining her cause.[13]

She was prone to asserting herself and her authority in a grandiose way, such as when she humiliated Long Feng in front of his former henchmen,[6] or when she threatened the captain of her ship.[20] She also showed a need for admiration from her father, whom she emulated to a great degree, and to a lesser extent from everyone else around her. She reacted with despair and rage when she learned her father was going to the Earth Kingdom without her.[9]

Azula was known to have an extremely cruel personality. From a very young age, Azula demonstrated sadistic aggression and a near total lack of remorse to friends, servants, family, and animals. Her own mother, Princess Ursa, once remarked, "What is wrong with that child?" after observing her casual cruelties. Azula's first reaction to hearing of Iroh's son's death was to wonder whether this now made her father the heir to the throne. She later dismissed her uncle as a quitter and a loser when learning he had ended his six hundred day Siege of Ba Sing Se to grieve for Lu Ten.[11] She eagerly watched Azulon proclaim Ozai's punishment for trying to claim the throne and grinned maliciously when Zuko was burned and scarred by their father. She also did not seem to care when her mother disappeared or when her grandfather died.[15] Her cruelty was apparently infamous and extreme; when Iroh accidentally ingested the poisonous white jade flower, both he and Zuko quickly decided that they would rather go seek help from the Earth Kingdom and face certain death than deal with the Fire Nation and be handed over to Azula.[21]

Azula relishes victory

Even in simple games such as kuai ball, Azula thought about nothing less than absolute victory.

Azula's characteristic blue flames symbolized the power she possessed and constantly sought to increase. Her apathy also accounted for her ability to create and direct lightning, the "cold-blooded fire".[20] According to Iroh, the skill required complete control of all emotion, which would not prove difficult for Azula with her one-track mentality.[22] Because of these skills, she was also an excellent tactician, regularly displaying cunning, perception, and resourcefulness that allowed her to take advantage of almost any situation. She possessed good self-control, facing down Long Feng and deceiving him when held captive,[6] and could lie with a straight face and no physical reactions.[7]

Ironically, for all her refinement and self-confidence, Azula did retain some insecurity. As a result of her sequestered life of royalty, she had developed a considerable amount of social ineptitude, particularly in her uncertainty of how to act around boys, and she frequently intimidated them during conversation. Her overly competitive nature surfaced during a kuai ball game, and she later admitted her jealousy over how much attention Ty Lee received from others.[8] Later, Azula began to show signs of a fragile mentality. For all of her self-assurance, she was momentarily driven into rage when Mai betrayed her by helping Zuko to escape and admitted to loving him more than she feared Azula. As Azula moved to strike her down, she was in turn temporarily paralyzed by Ty Lee. After her friends were apprehended, the enraged princess ordered both of them to be locked away and "left to rot".[7] While it was apparent that Azula held herself in high regard above her friends, their sudden betrayal drove her to the edge for an instant, hinting at just how unstable she would later prove to be.[1]

Psychosis

Azula reminisces

For a fleeting moment, Azula opened up and revealed pain and resentment behind her cold-blooded appearance.

Azula's mentality continued to crumble in the final weeks of the War. When she attacked Zuko and the gang at the Western Air Temple, Azula was evidently losing her sanity, as her attacks became far more vicious and she was seemingly obsessed with killing Zuko.[23]

The obvious tipping point occurred during her father's coronation as the Phoenix King, where Azula was told she would not assist in the attack on the Earth Kingdom. Azula seemed distraught at this and took this decision as an offense to her and her honor.[9] For her, Ozai always represented absolute power and perfection, qualities which she desired to acquire. His refusal to bring her along on a mission where the two of them would serve essentially as equals made her realize that her lust for power not only frightened her enemies, but perhaps her father as well. Ozai responded by appointing Azula as the new Fire Lord to govern over the Fire Nation in his absence, temporarily satisfying her desire for power. However, she was unable to cope with the fact that the only human being who may have ever loved her was not only ashamed of her, but also still possessed power over her. Her father was the last person Azula thought she could trust, and Ozai's refusal to include her in his final conquest only served to cause Azula even more inner pain. Knowing that her father would neither submit to her will nor love her, Azula's grip on reality began to steadily plummet.

Angry Azula yells

Azula's flawless demeanor was shattered by the unanticipated betrayal of Mai.

On the day of her coronation, Azula became excessively paranoid and gave into her fear of betrayal and being killed. She accused her servant of purposely leaving a pit in her cherry so that she would choke and got angry at the Dai Li when they arrived five minutes after they had been summoned, suggesting that their laxness could have allowed an assassin to sneak in, kill her, and "be on his merry way". Musing over the possibility that the Dai Li could betray and kill her, the betrayal of Mai and Ty Lee still fresh in memory, she banished them.[1]

It also appeared that she was not sleeping well, as she had dark circles under her eyes. Upon Lo and Li's arrival to counsel her, Azula's fear of disappointing her father was clear. She became so enraged when her old mentors proposed to postpone her coronation, that she momentarily forgot they were not firebenders and ordered them to fight an Agni Kai with each other.[1]

Having sent off her staff, she was left alone to style her own hair for the coronation. Frustrated by her inability to tie up her hair bun, she "fixed" the situation by cutting off a part of her hair, leaving it a tattered mess. Panting in frustration, she saw her mother in her mirror in an apparent hallucination. Ursa complimented her, saying that she always had such beautiful hair, though Azula dismissed the compliment and asked her mother why she was there. When Ursa told her that she would not miss her daughter's coronation, Azula told her not to pretend to act proud, stating that she knew her mother thought she was a monster. The hallucination of her mother refuted that, saying she did not think that, that Azula was just confused, and that she loved her. Azula could not cope with that declaration of love and went deeper into insanity, throwing her brush at the mirror, breaking it, before breaking down crying.[1]

This incident exposed a complex facet to Azula's persona. Although outwardly maintaining a cold and dismissive opinion of her mother, Ursa's banishment ultimately had a devastating impact upon Azula's fragile psyche.[8] As Azula's sanity began slipping away from her, this inability to reconcile her perceived belief that Ursa considered her a monster with the truer (though idealized) maternal feelings of love and support that Ursa demonstrated in the hallucination created an inescapable conflict in Azula's mind that furthered her eventual mental collapse.[1] Another thread of this argument explored the possibility that Azula may have harbored a guilt-ridden conscience, long suppressed or held at bay for many years by her indomitable will. Her conscience, in the form of her mother Ursa (whose love and guidance she secretly longed for but could never have) reared itself stronger than before. Ursa's gentle, motherly concerns over Azula's use of fear and cruelty as her only means of maintaining relationships with friends and family alike induced a violent mental breakdown prior to her coronation; after smashing a mirror, Azula collapsed and sobbed deeply before regaining any semblance of control.[1]

Azula's vision

Visibly unstable, Azula saw a hallucination of her mother as she began to lose her sanity.

Azula showed up at her coronation impatient and with her hair still a mess, though it was interrupted when Katara and Zuko arrived to challenge her. She did not hesitate to challenge her brother to an Agni Kai, though her unstable condition shone through visibly, as Zuko could easily pick up on it. During the battle, Azula constantly provoked and otherwise offended the duo, though her apparent madness interfered with her fighting abilities and Zuko was able to keep even ground and even the upper hand.[1] Azula was eventually defeated and chained to the ground by Katara. The Fire Nation princess screamed in anger and outrage, while breathing fire uncontrollably and furiously struggling to break herself free, falling into complete insanity, sobbing loudly. She dragged herself along the ground helplessly, as Zuko and Katara looked on in pity and horror.[10] This breakdown was the culmination of her failed relationship with her mother and her jealousy toward Zuko for receiving more of their mother's affection,[8] the betrayal she suffered at the hands of Mai and Ty Lee,[24] and finally, her defeat by Zuko and Katara. Azula was admitted into a mental health facility on a nearby island in the Fire Nation, where she was closely monitored and observed.

Azula about to jump

Due to her psychosis, Azula lost her sense of reality, causing her to act recklessly.

A year later, a clearly mentally unstable Azula accepted the task of coaxing Ursa's whereabouts out of Ozai from Zuko, stating that not one day had gone by where she had not wondered what became of their mother.[17] In return, she requested permission to join her brother on his quest and to be allowed to travel unbound and with dignity. The Fire Lord accepted and Azula was released. While she had regained much of her previous demeanor, as she haughtily commanded people to cater to her needs and forcefully reacted to irritating situations, though from time to time, she still suffered from psychotic episodes, thinking that everyone around her was conspiring with her mother in order to bring her down. However, she intended to find and kill Ursa in order to stop her from interfering with her plans to take the throne from Zuko.[18] In the end, however, she abandoned both of these goals once Zuko revealed that he would care for her unconditionally no matter what. Leaving Ursa alive and giving Zuko back the letter that could potentially oust him from the throne, Azula ran off from the remainder of the group.[19]

Abilities

Firebending

Prodigy Azula

Nine-year-old Azula flaunted her prodigious firebending skills before her grandfather.

Azula was one of the most skilled firebenders of her time, recognized as a prodigy by both Ozai[11] and Zuko.[16] The most noticeable feature of Princess Azula's bending was her ability to create her characteristic blue flames, which are much more intense than the red, orange, and yellow fire normally used by firebenders; Azula was only known to have bent normal fire during her childhood.[11] Azula also used her flames in inventive ways, such as jets of flames,[23][24] whirling disks,[13] and blades of fire. She often firebent using only two fingers, rather than with a closed fist or open hand as was commonly used by other firebenders.[4] Also notable was her ability to produce a greater amount of flames than most firebenders without tiring, as she was able to maintain successive assaults for long durations of time.[13]

She also demonstrated the ability to condense her flames, enabling her fire to cut clean through various objects. When formed into fireballs, the flames served to be rather concussive, able to firmly pulverize objects, such as stone. Azula was able to generate powerful shields of swirling flames which could withstand the full force of four simultaneous elemental attacks (and a boomerang).[25] She was even able to charge up her fire before releasing it, something she used during her fight with Aang.[26] Azula was also capable of fighting off and defeating multiple Kyoshi Warriors, using both firebending and hand-to-hand techniques.[27]

Blue fire shield

Azula was well-known for her trademark blue firebending.

The depth of Azula's potential was demonstrated in her use of advanced techniques, such as creating large blasts of flame, evaporating a wave of water that Katara threw at her, using her flames to propel herself forward like a jet, and minutes later producing and guiding lightning.[6] While she used her firebending less after returning home, she did demonstrate her abilities a few times, such as when she used her firebending to give extra propulsion to a kuai ball during a game, creating an explosion.[8] She also used her firebending to break free of her shackles and briefly attacked Sokka, Aang, and Toph.[7] Azula engaged in a pitched battle with Zuko and Sokka, where she was still able to battle on equal footing with them despite her being outnumbered.[24] In addition to creating her usual powerful fire balls, she was able to shoot her flames behind her in order to propel herself through the air onto the gondola.[24]

Azula was one of the most powerful firebenders of her time;[1][10] her firebending powers and prodigious skill allowed her to fend off many attackers with little effort and defeat a single talented bender like Aang.[6]

Azula was proficient in the highly difficult technique of creating and guiding lightning, a sub-skill of firebending, and was the first character within the series to demonstrate the ability.[20] She also displayed more fine control of this skill, performing minute flickers of lightning, which she used to both temporarily blind her brother Zuko and comically disarm Sokka of his boomerang on separate occasions. In turn, she could also produce large, compressed balls of lightning, as exemplified when she created such a ball to send away a swarm of moth wasps, who were attracted by the intense light.[18]

Azula fights Zuko

Azula's firebending became more dangerous under the influence of Sozin's Comet.

As Azula gradually lost her sanity prior to the arrival of Sozin's Comet, her firebending became unfocused and wild, which, combined with the Comet's empowering effects, made her all the more dangerous. However it also resulted in her becoming exhausted more easily than usual. Despite her state of mind, her attacks on Zuko and Katara during her final duel proved ferocious and destructive, and she was still able to fire lightning accurately.[1] However, her mental instability still weakened her battlefield prowess, and this ultimately resulted in her defeat at the hands of Katara. She displayed the ability to breathe fire as she struggled against her chains, but this was only brought about by her madness and rage in her defeat.[10]

Intelligence

Azula was an extremely intelligent and cunning strategist. She was also a highly studious girl. Since childhood, she was well-versed in her nation's military history as she successfully recounting Fire Lord Sozin's strategy in an old battle.[11] She planned a trap for Iroh and Zuko, which was only accidentally foiled by the captain of her ship.[20] She immediately discerned the Avatar's plan to mislead her with a false trail.[25] She also displayed incredible fighting prowess in learning the fighting styles of her foes, such as the sweeping wind kick ability displayed by Aang against her during the battle of the drill. She imitated it in the form of a sweeping fire kick during her battle with the Kyoshi warriors tending to Appa, utilizing that move to end her battle with Suki. With the Kyoshi warriors finally captured, Azula, Ty Lee, and Mai used their robes, stealing their identities to freely enter Ba Sing Se and the Earth King's palace, beginning her coup against the Earth King. This coup was single-handedly orchestrated by her, winning Ba Sing Se for the Fire Nation.[5][6] During the Day of Black Sun, she laid a trap for Aang and his friends using Dai Li agents in the Fire Lord's throne room, ensuring that the eclipse time would be used up.[7] She also displayed the ability to be so extremely capable of lying effectively that even Toph could not sense it regardless of how blatant the lie was, showing that Azula did not feel remorse for lying or many of her other actions.[7] She also displayed an ability to realize whether or not someone was telling the truth, stating simply that she was a "people person".[24]

Even under the effects of her mental illness, her wit and ability to strategize were not completely lost, as she managed to use the after effects of chi blocking, which caused her body joints to become extremely flexible, to free herself from her restraints and from Zuko. On another occasion, she was able to save Team Avatar from a swarm of moth wasps by using a lightning ball to attract them due to the intense light.

Azula's intelligence made her very skillful in manipulating people. She used this skill on many subjects, including her brother Zuko,[6] her mother Ursa,[11] Long Feng,[5][6] the Dai Li,[5][6] Sokka,[7] and even her father to an extent.

Other skills

Azula evades Team Avatar

Azula made up for her handicap with dexterity and agility to evade Aang and Toph.

Azula's high level skill in unarmed combat was displayed several times during the series. She easily avoided Zuko's frenzied knife attacks without the use of firebending, guiding his hands off course.[20] Later, she proceeded to disarm Suki and knocked her off her feet without bending.[27] She also had some skill with hidden weaponry, as she intended on using a shuriken knife during the eclipse.[7] Her acrobatics and use of a hidden shuriken knife were apparently skills she picked up from Ty Lee and Mai, respectively. Azula was very agile as she was able to run up walls and perform mid-air twirls. She dodged Aang and Toph's bending attacks with little to no effort using high jumps like Ty Lee, ultimately making Aang admit she was too fast to hit.[7] Her physical strength was also adept as she could perform a planche, supporting her body in a horizontal position just by using her arms, with little effort.[23][24]

Relationships

Main article: Azula's relationships

Relatives

Main article: Fire Nation Royal Family
Sozin
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Roku
   
   
Ta Min
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Azulon
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Ilah
   
   
Rina
   
   
Jinzuk
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Iroh
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Ozai
   
   
   
   
   
   
Ursa
   
   
Ikem
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Lu Ten
   
   
Unknown
   
   
Zuko
   
   
Azula
   
   
Kiyi
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Zuko's daughter
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Iroh
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

Appearances

Avatar: The Last Airbender

Book One: Water (水)

Book Two: Earth (土)

Book Three: Fire (火)

Avatar comics

Book Two: Earth (土)

Book Three: Fire (火)

Graphic novel trilogies

Trivia

Opening Azula firebending

Azula is the firebender in the opening credits for Avatar: The Last Airbender.

  • Azula was the shadowed firebender in the original series' opening credits. Her bending, however, is orange instead of her trademark blue.
  • When Ozai crowned himself Phoenix King, he deemed Azula as his replacement; however, she was never formally crowned and never actually became Fire Lord. However, if she had been crowned, she would have been the first known female Fire Lord.
  • Despite being younger than her brother, Azula sometimes referred to Zuko as "Little Zuzu" and "Little Brother".
  • Azula was the first known firebender to generate lightning.
  • Azula is also only the second person to be able to lie to Toph without her being able to sense it, the first being Old Sweepy.
  • Forms of the word azul appear in several languages, including Spanish, Filipino, Galician, and Portuguese, all having the meaning of blue, which would match her trademark blue firebending.
    • In Japanese mythology, blue flames are associated with kitsune, fox demons who are infamous for using their magical "fox-fire" for trickery, deceit, and overall malicious behavior.
  • Azula's voice actress, Grey DeLisle, also voiced Ta Min, Roku's wife and Azula's great grandmother.
  • Azula was the only known person to be able to create blue fire.
  • Azula displays symptoms similar to those of paranoid schizophrenia, a mental disorder characterized by delusions and hallucinations with an impending sense of doom and paranoia.
  • If Katara had not managed to revive Aang with spirit water, Azula would have been the first person to have broken the Avatar Cycle.[6]
  • Azula was one of the few characters to have theme music that played when she entered a scene.
  • Although Azula was a prodigy in firebending, her masters, Lo and Li, were not firebenders at all.
  • The only person to whom Azula was ever known to apologize was Ty Lee, after hurting her feelings by calling her a tease.[8]
  • Although she was a usurper and never officially crowned, Azula remains as one of two Earth Queens in history and the only known ruler of the Earth Kingdom without such heritage.
  • Azula was originally supposed to have an arranged marriage in Book Three, but the idea was scrapped.[28]
  • Azula was the only named female firebender seen in the first series, with the exception of the female Avatars.
  • In Zuko's Story, it was revealed that Azula acquired Zuko's ship for him. However, this only occurred in film canon.
  • Azula was born in the Year of the Snake, which seems to suit her personality very well. Those born in the Year of the Snake tend to be "graceful, intelligent, vain, analytical, scheming, and vicious".
  • Azula's firebending contains elements from the chāquán system.[29]
  • Azula is one of only two known female members of the Fire Nation Royal Family by blood, the other being Zuko's daughter.
  • Azula was originally going to wear armor with a heavy phoenix theme, but the idea was scrapped.[30]
Preceded by
Zuko
Heir to the Fire Lord
97 - 100 AG
Succeeded by
Zuko's daughter

Preceded by
52nd Earth King
Earth Queen[nb 1]
Late spring 100 AG
Succeeded by
Interregnum until the return of Earth King Kuei in summer 100 AG[nb 2]

Preceded by
Long Feng
Head of the Dai Li
100 AG
Succeeded by
Dai Li representative

Notes

  1. Avatar Extras for "The Crossroads of Destiny" on Nicktoons Network refers to Azula as "Earth Queen Azula", meaning that she reigned in the nation as ruler beginning from Long Feng's second incarceration and likely until she left Ba Sing Se. However, Azula was never offically crowned, and thus she can only be considered as a usurper.
  2. After Azula left Ba Sing Se, the throne of the Earth King became vacant, while Joo Dee was appointed the de-jure ruler of Ba Sing Se as "Supreme Bureaucratic Administrator" and Fire Lord Ozai became the de-facto ruler of the Earth Kingdom. However, Earth King Kuei eventually returned to his rightful position in summer 100 AG, ending the interregnum.

References

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director). (July 19, 2008). "Sozin's Comet, Part 3: Into the Inferno". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 20. Nickelodeon.
  2. EXCLUSIVE: Yang Continues 'Avatar: The Last Airbender' in The Search. Comic Book Resources. Retrieved on June 25, 2012.
  3. Casey, Dan (2013-03-20). Comic Book Day: Join 'The Search' with Gene Luen Yang. Nerdist. Retrieved on April 27, 2013.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Throughout Avatar: The Last Airbender.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (December 1, 2006). "The Guru". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 19. Nickelodeon.
  6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 Ehasz, Aaron (writer) & DiMartino, Michael Dante (director). (December 1, 2006). "The Crossroads of Destiny". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 20. Nickelodeon.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 7.8 Ehasz, Aaron (writer) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director). (November 30, 2007). "The Day of Black Sun, Part 2: The Eclipse". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 11. Nickelodeon.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 Mattila, Katie (writer) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director). (October 19, 2007). "The Beach". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 5. Nickelodeon.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Spaulding, Ethan (director). (July 19, 2008). "Sozin's Comet, Part 1: The Phoenix King". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 18. Nickelodeon.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director). (July 19, 2008). "Sozin's Comet, Part 4: Avatar Aang". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 21. Nickelodeon.
  11. 11.00 11.01 11.02 11.03 11.04 11.05 11.06 11.07 11.08 11.09 11.10 Ehasz, Elizabeth Welch (writer) & MacMullan, Lauren (director). (May 12, 2006). "Zuko Alone". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 7. Nickelodeon.
  12. 12.0 12.1 From older Avatar: The Last Airbender official site, originally on Nick.com (link). No longer updated.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Ehasz, Elizabeth Welch (writer) & Spaulding, Ethan (director). (April 7, 2006). "Return to Omashu". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 3. Nickelodeon.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 14.5 14.6 14.7 DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Yang, Gene (w), Sasaki of Gurihiru (p, i), Kawano of Gurihiru (col), Heisler, Michael; Comicraft (let). The Search Part 2 (July 10, 2013), Dark Horse Comics.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Ehasz, Aaron (writer) & MacMullan, Lauren (director). (June 3, 2005). "The Storm". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 12. Nickelodeon.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Ehasz, Aaron (writer) & Filoni, Dave (director). (December 2, 2005). "The Siege of the North, Part 2". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 20. Nickelodeon.
  17. 17.0 17.1 DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Yang, Gene (w), Sasaki of Gurihiru (p, i), Kawano of Gurihiru (col), Heisler, Michael; Comicraft (let). The Promise Part 3 (September 26, 2012), Dark Horse Comics.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 18.5 18.6 DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Yang, Gene (w), Sasaki of Gurihiru (p, i), Kawano of Gurihiru (col), Heisler, Michael; Comicraft (let). The Search Part 1 (March 20, 2013), Dark Horse Comics.
  19. 19.0 19.1 DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Yang, Gene (w), Sasaki of Gurihiru (p, i), Kawano of Gurihiru (col), Heisler, Michael; Comicraft (let). The Search Part 3 (October 30, 2013), Dark Horse Comics.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 20.4 20.5 Ehasz, Aaron, Ehasz, Elizabeth Welch, Hedrick, Tim, O'Bryan, John (writers) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (March 17, 2006). "The Avatar State". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 1. Nickelodeon.
  21. Hamilton, Joshua (writer) & MacMullan, Lauren (director). (March 24, 2006). "The Cave of Two Lovers". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 2. Nickelodeon.
  22. Ehasz, Aaron (writer) & Spaulding, Ethan (director). (June 2, 2006). "Bitter Work". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 9. Nickelodeon.
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 Ehasz, Elizabeth Welch (writer) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director). (July 17, 2008). "The Southern Raiders". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 16. Nickelodeon.
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 24.4 24.5 Hamilton, Joshua (writer) & Spaulding, Ethan (director). (July 16, 2008). "The Boiling Rock, Part 2". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 15. Nickelodeon.
  25. 25.0 25.1 Hamilton, Joshua (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (May 26, 2006). "The Chase". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 8. Nickelodeon.
  26. DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (September 15, 2006). "The Drill". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 13. Nickelodeon.
  27. 27.0 27.1 Ehasz, Elizabeth Welch (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (October 13, 2006). "Appa's Lost Days". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 16. Nickelodeon.
  28. An Avatar Spring Break with Mike and Bryan (part 2 of 3). avatarspirit.net (2007-04-06).
  29. Kisu on The Legend of Korra. Retrieved on June 3, 2012.
  30. Avatar: The Last Airbender—The Art of the Animated Series page 87.

Start a Discussion Discussions about Azula

  • Is Azula still alive?

    7 messages
    • Supermensch wrote:I bet Azula still looks good in her old age. But Lo and Li looked good on their younger days also..hahaha
    • AvatarJPT wrote:Supermensch wrote:I bet Azula still looks good in her old age.But Lo and Li looked good on their younger days also..hahaha Peo...
  • Did Zuko Technically Lose the Agni Kai for the Throne?

    6 messages
    • AvatarJinzo wrote:Oh my god not this again. Zuko won that fight, Zuko won because Azula cheated by shooting her lightning at Katara. Azula k...
    • Should it even matter whether he won or lost according to some arbitrary rules? Azula was nuts and a psychopath, so she was unfit to rule on ...

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