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|"How dare you speak to me like this? Insubordination! I wield the power of the Eternal Conflagration! My will is law! I am the Lord of Fire! The Scion of the Sun!"|
|— Sozin, to Kuzon, in battle with him|
Sozin was the first son of Fire Lord and her husband Jiroh, and was the elder brother of Kuzon. Sozin came to power following the , when the production of resources in the Fire Nation had declined sharply and starvation was rampant. The desperate state of his nation drove him to launch his war, which began with the massacre of the Air Nomads. His younger brother Kuzon, though he was one of Sozin's officers, had a falling out with Sozin over this and went on to join the surviving Air Nomads in rebellion against Sozin's war. Sozin returned to the Fire Nation and continued his rule. Despite marrying and giving birth to a son, Azulon, Sozin carried a deep emotional scar over his brother's betrayal. Kuzon was once captured and returned to the Fire Nation, but Sozin sentenced him to execution despite their relationship. Kuzon's airbender compatriots helped him escape, but he had one last confrontation with Sozin in which offered Sozin his personal forgiveness if Sozin would end the war. Sozin refused, attacking Kuzon. Kuzon escaped, leaving Sozin with his anger and inevitable place in history.
While Sozin was still unborn, his mother Kuzon's birth). Around this time Sozin's training for his eventual role as Fire Lord began in earnest, under the supervision of his mother, the current Fire Lord. This would shape Sozin's personality profoundly, since his grandfather 's indecisiveness was considered the cause of the civil war, and consequently Fire Lord was intent on molding Sozin into an iron-willed potentate to avoid another event like the civil war. Soon after, Sozin's mother married the harsh and gruff General , a hero of the civil war, believing the military discipline he imposed on Sozin would make Sozin the strong ruler Izuma wanted. Izuma's career as Fire Lord was consumed with recovery efforts and she had very little time to spend with her sons.took him to have his chi read by Avatar Roku. Roku found an abnormal deficiency of yin energy in the boy, but made little of it until Sozin's brother Kuzon was born. Sozin was born in 25 BG, three months shy of the one-year anniversary of the armistice of the . Presumably the first eight or so years of his life were normal and happy, until Sozin's father Jiroh was killed fighting a remaining secessionist cell (about a year after
Because Sozin was the elder son, and therefore heir, he was treated with much more scrutiny by his mother and endured harsher training by Gizu, although he and Kuzon we ostensibly supposed to receive the same training and education. Sozin's childhood was consumed by these studies, and he grew introverted and began to isolate himself from others. Although a seed of jealousy toward Kuzon and his easygoing attitude began to grow within Sozin, Kuzon was also his only real friend. Kuzon himself had many friends, which only added to Sozin's jealousy.
Sozin was also interested in astronomy from an early age, and had a skylight installed in his room in the palace. This hobby would later help him utilize his eponymous comet's power, and he continued to cultivate it throughout his life.
Becoming Fire Lord
Sozin's mother Civil War. This was in Sozin's 21st year, making him one of the younger Fire Lords known to history. Sozin believed, accurately or inaccurately, that his political enemies would see this as a weakness and attempt to exploit him, and so continued to feel the need to prove himself as a ruler.died of a disease in 4 BG. The herbal ingredients that were normally used to cure this disease were all but destroyed by Kai Hin's policy of salting the earth of conquered areas during the
Starvation was still rampant after the civil war, resulting in widespread poverty due to the need to import food from other nations. Sozin's first decree as Fire Lord, accordingly, was to commission a diplomatic council for the purpose of finding ways the Fire Nation could decrease its dependence on foreign imports. Sozin also commissioned the building of the Royal Observatory, which was built on Mt. Sugin near the capital city.
Sozin's council made only negligible gains in negotiating for resources from other nations. Sozin felt his best option was to attempt to negotiate for Kalden Island, an island in the far southeast of the Fire Nation and the only remaining source of a staple food known as Air Nomads of the Southern Air Temple in exchange for an evacuation airlift to a besieged city during the civil war. Since the island was historically part of the Fire Nation, Sozin believed it should be returned to them as a matter of principle. He sent numerous increasingly forceful missives to the Air Nomads, but was refused at every turn, which he interpreted as an insult to his country and to him personally.. The island had been annexed to the
Sozin began to despair and succumb to self-loathing due to his failure. However, it was not long before Sozin, using his observatory and knowledge of history he remembered that his ancestor, the first Fire Lord of his dynasty, had used the power of a comet to seize the throne. Sozin charted the comet's course and discovered that in four years it would pass lower than during any other known occurrence, granting his Firebending army power no bender had ever known before. Sozin decided that would be the edge his country needed to come back from the brink of collapse. In no time he initiated several programs to prepare the beleaguered Fire Nation to wage global war in just four years.
The first step was to remove a traitorous military engineer named Scholar war machinery. The Fire Nation could no longer rely on the man power of its standing army. Sozin also began programs of increased army recruitment drives, eventually moving to forced conscription. He increased military Firebender training and created a force of secret police to silence dissent, of which his stepfather was leader. Sozin also began construction of steam-powered tanks and warships as per Shunkai's plans, placing the factories on land made barren during the civil war and thereby utilizing the otherwise worthless land to maximum effect. Even after the time of Fire Lord Zuko, when public opinion turned against Sozin, historians often acknowledged the building of these factories and use of land as a great accomplishment on his part. Sozin rewarded Shunkai for his inventions by making him the first War Minister. Sozin also created a propaganda ministry to ensure support for his programs and his war. Because Sozin's plan demanded secrecy, he also issued an edict of isolationism and closed the Fire Nation's borders to all citizens under penalty of execution.from jail. Though Shunkai had served Kai Hin in the civil war, he had invented a method to power machinery by steam and Sozin needed his help in order to build
Attack on the Southern Air Temple
Sozin planned to strike at the Southern Air Temple first. He resented them for withholding Kalden Island from the Fire Nation, but moreover he knew the greatest loose end to his plan for conquest was the Avatar, whom Sozin knew was an Air Nomad. To those privy to his master plan, Sozin claimed he planned to capture the Avatar alive, but it later became apparent that he either lied or subsequently changed his mind. Because he needed the Avatar, it was not enough for Sozin to capture the Air Nomads' territory; he needed the population neutralized. To that end, Sozin invited several monks from he Southern Temple to a conference in the Fire Nation where he said he would conclude their longstanding negotiations. Sozin did indeed conclude the negotiations--he captured the Airbenders, and threatened to torture and execute them unless they agreed to smuggle the flying bison away from the temple for him. All the monks refused outright, except for one named Afiko. Afiko had disagreed with the monks' methods for most of his life and had few qualms about betraying them. He also negotiated with Sozin for the safety of his pupil Taro.
Sozin launched his fleet the next day with himself and Kuzon at the prow of the flagship, and they reached the Southern Air Temple by nightfall. Afiko succeeded in removing the bison from the Air Temple, preventing the Airbenders' escape. Though the airbenders had had a few hours to prepare for battle from the time they had sighted the ships approaching, the attack was largely a surprise. Sozin rode a bison up to the main terrace of the temple with Afiko while Kuzon led a unit of Shunkai's tanks up the side of the mountain. Both forces arrived within moments of the Comet's appearance, giving the Airbenders almost no chance of victory.Still, the battle lasted for approximately three days. A large battle took place the first night on the temple's main terrace, where a majority of the Airbenders were captured or slain. Though the temple was small the Airbenders applied their knowledge of its layout to a guerrilla strategy, hiding in cloisters and alcoves where Fire Nation troops could become clustered, removing their advantage of numbers. But with no means of escape, this effort was ultimately futile.
In accordance with his previous orders, Sozin had most of the Airbenders captured. He began systematically interrogating them, trying to determine where the Avatar was. Sozin announced that his plan for the war had changed, and that he now planned to kill the Avatar repeatedly until he was born into the Fire Nation again, and which point the Sozin could mold the Avatar's mind to serve only the Fire Lord. Afiko had supplied Sozin with the current Avatar's name, Aang, and Sozin told the name to Kuzon in the course of these interrogations. it is believed that this is when Kuzon began to think about stopping his brother. Monk Gyatso was the first victim of Sozin's interrogations. He was the obvious first choice of subjects, given that he had known Aang best. Though Gyatso calmly told Sozin the truth--that he did not know where the Avatar was--Sozin killed him anyway.
About a day after the battle concluded, Kuzon acted on his feelings and attempted to free the Air Nomads. This led to almost a repeat of the first battle a few days earlier, as the Air Nomads clashed with the Fire Nation troops out in the open once more. Sozin himself caught Kuzon in the act of freeing the prisoners, Sozin was livid and felt personally betrayed, not just as Fire Lord, but as Kuzon's brother. He attacked Kuzon, and managed to force his brother to the edge of the terrace. Sozin asked Kuzon to surrender, but Kuzon chose to jump from the ledge instead. Kuzon was luckily caught by Afiko's pupil Taro, who was piloting a bison below at that moment. Sozin saw his brother flying away on the bison and screamed for his men to shoot them down. It is said that Sozin attempted to down the bison himself, and though he missed he created a column of flame so large it could be seen as far away as Kyoshi Island.
Almost all of the remaining Airbenders at the Southern Temple died in that battle. About ten or fifteen escaped with Taro on his bison. Sozin had the rest quickly put to death. Enraged and bitter, he quickly packed up his invasion force and sent them to the other Air Temples. Though Sozin haad always planned to capture the other Air Temples within a few days--before the Comet's power could fade--speed was now even more important because there was a chance the survivors of the Southern Temple could warn the others.
The War ContinuesIt was necessary that Sozin use speed and surprise to attack the remaining air temples and wipe out the Airbenders before word of the attack on the Southern Air Temple reached them. He was largely successful, although Kuzon and Taro managed to reach the temples and evacuate a handful of Airbenders from each, much like at the Southern Air Temple.
Sozin now turned his attention to the Water Tribe and Earth Kingdom. He attacked the Southern Water Tribe first, in retaliation for providing healing and succor to the refugee Airbenders. His fleets of steam-powered ships attacked and reduced the Southern Tribe's metropolis of a capital city to a few scattered villages. Although he was successful in the south, he could not succeed in besieging the Northern Water Tribe, and eventually left them alone.
The focus of the war shifted to the Earth Kingdom, where the bulk of the war was to take place. The war turned into one of slow attrition, but Sozin achieved many victories, such as the famous Battle of Han Tui, that secured the Fire Nation footholds to establish colonies in the Earth Kingdom. Sozin continued to pursue the war in this fashion for 23 years, although he began to step out of a military role over time and grant more autonomy to his generals, as he focused on ruling the Fire Nation. Sozin also married and had a son, Azulon, in the seventh year of the war.
Last Confrontation with Kuzon
When Azulon came of age, Sozin charged him with tracking down the Avatar as a test of his abilities. When he was sixteen, Azulon managed to locate not the Avatar, but his notorious uncle Kuzon. Deciding Kuzon was as much of a prize as the Avatar, Azulon captured him with the help of Lo and Li, and brought him back to the Fire Nation in chains to face trial. Sozin threw Kuzon in jail to await execution, but Taro and Kunchen stole into the prison and freed him. While attempting to escape the Fire Nation Capital via an underground tunnel beneath the Royal Palace, Kuzon felt compelled to confront Sozin in the throne room and ask him to stop the war. Kuzon explained that he had to ask this of Sozin and offer him at least a chance for forgiveness. Sozin refused outright, but expressed regret that he now had to kill his brother. Kuzon beat Sozin back and managed to escape the palace, leaving behind his dao sword. Sozin placed the sword in a scabbard with his own, but then put the blades into storage in a nondescript closet in the back of the palace, wishing never to see them again.
Later Life, Death, and Legacy
At some point after this Sozin started the tradition of hunting dragons for glory. This may have begun as an outlet for Sozin's rage.
Sozin continued to pursue his war, but rarely left the palace as he grew older. He left most of the logistics to his loyal generals and was only consulted for very large-scale strategic decisions. By most accounts, his rule became even more autocratic as he got older, perhaps due to his mental degradation.
In 53 AG, at the age of 78, Sozin died peacefully in his sleep. As is taught in Fire Nation schools, he was a very old and "successful" man.
PersonalitySozin's nature was a product of the times into which he was born. The Fire Nation had just endured a horriffic civil war and his mother, Fire Lady , stressed to Sozin that the war had been caused by her father's indecision as a ruler. Izuma trained Sozin to be strong, in body, in intellect, and in will, and Sozin did all he could to please her. Like Azula, Sozin pushed himself to achieve his idea of perfection, but unlike Azula he felt that he could not achieve it no matter what he did, and so became bitter and angry with himself. Sozin never felt like he was good enough for his mother, and after she died he continued to push himself to be the strongest, most powerful ruler he could. As time went on this desire to be "strong" turned into dictatorial domestic laws and brutal warmongering. Sozin became increasingly demented over the years as his self-loathing and bitterness grew within him.
In childhood, Sozin isolated himself from his peers in order to train as hard as possible to become ruler one day. His only friend was his brother Kuzon, which is why Kuzon's betrayal at the Southern Air Temple felt so personal to Sozin. Eventually Sozin lost the ability to make friends or socialize normally, which expedited his decline into insanity.
Sozin might have been the most violent, ruthless sovereign in history. In all likelihood, he is responsible for more deaths than any other individual ever to live. But for all the destruction he wreaked and people he killed, he hated no one more than himself.
Sozin acquired many skills through the rigorous training he endured in preparation for his role as Fire Lord. As a member of the Royal Family, Sozin was very naturally talented at Firebending. He made it a point to train hard in order to develop his Firebending further, and had probably achieved at least rote mastery of the art by the time he became Fire Lord at age 21. Sozin is never shown using blue fire or lighting, although it is likely he could use these. All sources indicate that Sozin was much better at Firebending than Kuzon, although Kuzon was probably better at improvisation, swordplay, and was perhaps a better overall fighter. Sozin was also given a dao sword by Avatar Roku as a boy and learned to use it well. He became an excellent swordsman and the dao was his weapon of choice, other than Firebending.
Sozin was also a very capable strategist, and it is likely he would have had formal lessons in combat strategy as a boy. On many occasions Sozin successfully exploited opportunities for his overall military campaign, such as the use of surprise in his attack on the Air Temples, or his use of geography and environmental conditions in the Battle of Han Tui. Without making a decisive strike while the Comet's power was available to him, Sozin would never have been able to launch a war effort on his limited resources. Sozin also demonstrated an understanding of total military strategy, knowing the importance of such aspects of war as military engineering and logistics.
Sozin looked more like his grandson Ozai as a young man. His hair was poker-straight and he grew it long. Sometime after the attack on the Southern Air Temple he cut his hair shorter and grew a beard. Sozin always dressed well, making sure the cut and fit of his robes was perfect. As with himself in general, Sozin demanded perfection from his appearance. Like his descendant Azula, he became enraged when he found even a single hair or thread out of place on his person. This probably began when Sozin was a child and would attempt to gain his mother's approval with his neat and regal appearance. Eventually it grew into something bordering on obsession. It is well known that as Fire Lord Sozin employed a servant whose only job was to groom Sozin's beard.
Like his descendants, Sozin had black hair and gold-colored eyes.
Differences with Canonical Sozin
Because The Avatar and the Fire Lord was, most of the information about Sozin presented in the story is not canonical. Perhaps most importantly, Sozin did not have a brother in the actual series, and he certainly was not Aang's friend Kuzon, although the role of Avatar Roku in that episode is similar to Kuzon's role in the story in some respects. Roku is also much older than Sozin in the story, although in fact everyone's ages in Enemies and Traitors are incorrect because Aang's freezing occurs four years before Sozin's Comet arrives in 0 BG, which throws off the entire dating convention. Sozin's motivations were starting The War were also different. In the story, the Fire Nation has just endured a civil war and is starved for resources, whereas in the episode Sozin himself says the Fire Nation is enjoying a period of unprecedented peace and prosperity, and he wants to spread that civilization to the world. Sozin also appears to be more outgoing, gregarious, and generally less troubled in the television show than in the story.was released almost a year before
Behind the Scenes
Certain aspects of Sozin's war policy and historical context are loosely based on those of Adolf Hitler, such as the desire to reclaim land that he believed was "historically part of" his country, and ruling with a policy of extreme nationalism following an economic catastrophe.
|Preceded by||Fire Lord (Enemies and Traitors continuity)|
4 BG - 53 AG
| Succeeded by|
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