- This article is about the nation in the series. For the location in the film, see Fire Nation.
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The Fire Nation is the second-largest nation in the Avatar World in terms of population and area, second to the Earth Kingdom. The Fire Nation's economy is the most powerful in the world, with a strong industrial sector and extensive technological developments. It is also known for its large, powerful military.
Regardless of previous boundaries, the Military of the Fire Nation was engaged in an imperialistic century long war with the other three nations during the life of Avatar Aang. The ruler directly after the conclusion of the Hundred Year War, Fire Lord Zuko, used Fire Nation resources to help rebuild the world, start the Harmony Restoration Movement, and eventually create the United Republic of Nations. The Fire Nation Capital is guarded by the Great Gates of Azulon, named after the grandfather of Zuko and Azula, Fire Lord Azulon.
Seventy years after the end of the Hundred Year War, the Fire Nation still plays a role in world affairs. A representative from the Fire Nation holds a position on the United Republic Council that helps govern Republic City and the United Republic in general. They also play a part in the naval defense of the United Forces, with General Iroh leading the first division.
Members of the Fire Nation tend to have black or brown hair, amber, gold, brown, or gray eyes, and pale skin, though exceptions such as Ty Lee, Piandao, Shoji, On Ji, and Hide do exist. Additionally, in terms of facial features, their eyes are often smaller and longer in shape along with higher nose bridges than members of other nations. There is a prevalence of distinct cheekbones among the population as well. However there are also certain individuals with exceptions.
Older men tend to sport large beards, mustaches, and sideburns, while younger men are usually clean-shaven, or wear small mustaches and goatees. Women usually wear their hair back, though for special occasions it may be piled on top of the head, or wrapped around a support. Female members of the aristocracy also tend to have long, pointed, well-manicured finger nails, which resemble the long gold "nails" ancient Chinese empresses wore. Almost all citizens wear top-knots, often held by a decorative top-knot piece indicating their socioeconomic rank. Nobles and politicians tend to ornament their hair with a two pronged, flame-styled piece; Zuko and Azula wear three pronged flames, and the Fire Lord wears a gold, five-pronged piece. A normal citizen might wear a one pronged piece, as shown by Sokka when he wore his disguise. Their hairstyles are fashioned most prominently off of traditional Han Chinese styles.
Members of the army wear red and black uniforms that resemble ancient Chinese plated armor. The armor also may have gold trim or emblems on them. Traditional colors worn throughout the nation range from deep reds to darker browns, grays, and blacks, with occasional white, or pink. Many citizens wear shoulder spikes, the amount designating social standing, ordinary civilians wear one, nobles wear two, and the Fire Lord wears three, though there are exceptions to these rules. It is observed that aesthetically, the clothing, architecture, and general visual style of the Fire Nation resembles that of the Chinese Qin, Tang, and Han dynasty period. There are also hints of feudal Japanese fashion influences.
The national emblem of the Fire Nation is a stylized, teardrop-shaped flame forked into a trident of three tongues that taper upward to a point. The insignia is primarily displayed on its flag, uniforms, on the pennants of Fire Navy warships, the sides of their various vehicles of war, and as marking of Fire Nation territory. It seems that the Fire Nation Royal Family or certain higher members wear the emblem in their top-knots. Princess Azula, Fire Lord Sozin, Fire Lord Azulon, Avatar Roku, Fire Lord Ozai, Fire Lord Zuko, Lu Ten and Ursa have been seen wearing them.
The Fire Nation flag is a triangle-shaped banner with the stylized flame insignia at its center. Six thin stripes extend from the slanted edge.
Fire Nation currency consists of gold, silver, and bronze pieces of varying shapes and sizes used by Fire Nation citizens to purchase goods and services, and are fashioned with the national emblem situated in the center.
Based on the red Fire Lord's seal on all the wanted posters, Fire Nation is written in Chinese as, literally "Raging fire country". Coincidentally, the term "烈火" is the Chinese way of writing "Agni", the Hindu god of fire.
The Fire Nation is located on an archipelago of tropical volcanic islands, many still active, that give the nation an unlimited source of power. Because of a warm and humid climate, the Fire Nation is home to a variety of native flora and fauna, though most of the main islands have been stripped of their forests and now consist of grassy plains. Few travel to the Fire Nation, and no nation has ever mounted an invasion against it, although in the War's later years, the Earth Kingdom planned to do so on the Day of Black Sun, but was stopped by the Fire Nation beforehand due to the fall of Ba Sing Se; a later invasion attempt mounted by the Avatar and a band of supporters failed.
The population of the Fire Nation is mostly concentrated in urban centers, though smaller settlements, villages, and towns dot the landscape as well. The capital city is on the largest island, situated inside the crater of a large volcano. There are also many industrial establishments where weapons, tanks and warships are built to support the war effort. However, it is logical to say that said establishments were dismantled when Zuko was crowned as the new Fire Lord, in order to promote a peaceful healing of the world.
The Fire Nation employs highly skilled metalworkers and blacksmiths who make use of iron and other metals to engender their fortresses and warships. Utilizing coal dug out by prisoners slaving in mines, they are able to power massive furnaces. According to audio commentary, the initial drive for their attempts for expansion was industrializing and having a greater need for resources, in itself a staple of imperialism.
Government system: Autocracy
Head of state: Fire Lord
Religious authority: Great Sage and Council of Fire Sages
The Fire Nation is ruled with a stern and almost terrifying manner by the latest in a long line of firebenders, with the most recent leader being Fire Lord Zuko. The Fire Nation's political system is autocracy, that waged a century-long imperialist war against the other three nations of the world, the stated goal of which was to create a planet-wide empire. They were not above employing genocide to accomplish this goal, as they eliminated the entire nation of Air Nomads, and drove the Southern Water Tribe to the brink of extinction. The idea of an absolute monarchy was reinforced by Azula's statement that "true power, the divine right to rule, [was] something you [were] born with".
However, the Fire Nation was not always the tyrannical, militaristic embodiment it is today. A millennia ago, in its earliest years, a council of sages led the Fire Nation who, among several other national interests, were heavily invested in philosophy and spirituality, much like that of the monastic Air Nomad race. The lead sage was known as the "Fire Lord" due to his high level firebending powers as well as his deep spiritual affinity with the element. Over the years, one lead sage chose to sever ties with the remaining sages and sought to be the sole ruler of the Fire Nation. Now led by the Great Sage, the sages were regulated primarily to spiritual matters but nonetheless still retained some political power over the Nation, with tensions between the two sects increasing with every generation.
The dispute finally reached a state of equilibrium during the course of Sozin's rise to the throne and reign. When still alive during Sozin's rule, the sages remained loyal to Avatar Roku and kept watch over his sanctuary. But following the death of the Avatar, the sages, after three generations, finally submitted under the Fire Lord's rule and were forced to serve only him, counseling him on spiritual affairs.
Now under the servitude of Fire Lord Zuko, the current Fire Sages are the last of their kind, aging remnants of an era long past when spiritual matters were placed in high importance over military ambition.
Following the defeat of Fire Lord Ozai at the hands of Avatar Aang, Fire Lord Zuko rose to power and ended the century-long war. He has dedicated his rule toward rebuilding the four nations in a new era of peace.
- See also: Fire Nation Royal Family tree
In compliance with its former goal of global conquest, the Nation used to be engaged in shipbuilding, shaping metal and manufacturing weapons including arrows, spear, shields, swords and knives. Aside from this cruder range of weaponry, the Fire Nation stands as the most technologically advanced of the nations, as its inherent knowledge of combustion gives them several Industrial-Age technologies such as advanced metallurgy, tanks, rudimentary explosives like "blasting jelly", sophisticated catapults, siege drills, and coal-powered ironclad warships. Some of these innovations were commissioned by extorting an expatriate Earth Kingdom inventor, the mechanist.
The Fire Nation expresses a formal education system which overall is quite similar to real-life school systems. High class public schools can be found on the outer islands, which equate to the upper class suburbs of the Fire Nation. Students in certain schools begin the educational process as soon as they begin firebending, or for non-benders, as soon as they begin walking. Subjects including history, music, etiquette, warfare, and firebending are taught to the students by various teachers. However, the educational system works also as a "mind-molding" process, causing students to develop a strong sense of nationality and loyalty to the Fire Lord. Teachers maintain rigid discipline and order and refuse to teach the students the art of dance or any form of self-expression. In addition, censorship and propaganda can be found in articles within history books e.g. the genocide of the Air Nomads.
The appearance of the Fire Nation is based on fire, naturally. Like the other nations, it is based on its elemental color, in this case, red. The majority of the buildings are made of stone. They also have red pagoda-style roofs favored by the Fire Nation. Fire Nation symbols are often put on important or nice buildings for decoration and inside it is common for a picture of Fire Lord Ozai to be kept in an important, visible place. Roads are well-built, neat ones, mostly straight, heading toward the destination, which suits the Fire Nation's ruler's personality - global domination and striving to do that. They hardly ever have bumps in and are made of neat stone slotted in place.
Children are taught that the Fire Nation is the greatest civilization that has ever existed and that the War is its way of sharing its greatness, and that Fire Lord Ozai and his family are great people who are helping the world out. This has caused a cult of personality to build up around the Fire Lord, military, and aristocracy, who are seen as bringing the benefits of Fire Nation culture to the other nations.
The Fire Nation oath is a characteristic and important cultural element, demonstrated by its teaching to children in schools with demureness, and recited thoughtfully. The oath was written at the beginning of the War, and commissioned by Fire Lord Sozin. It is titled "The March to Civilization".
Many names of Fire Nation citizens utilize harsh consonants like the letter "Z", including Zuko, Ozai, Azula, Sozin, Zhao, Azulon, Kuzon, etc. Though interestingly enough, Piandao does mention to Sokka that there are "a million Lees" when aiding him in choosing an alias.
Fire Nation society places a great emphasis on respect and honor, especially toward the nobility and elders; the concept of the famed Agni Kai stems from these beliefs. Should one be honored enough to be in the presence of a member of the Royal Family, the person needs to prostrate themselves in respect or risk being challenged to an Agni Kai to avenge the disrespected Royal's honor. Upon coming into contact with an elder or superior, it is polite to bow down. Unlike in other parts of the world, this bow consists in placing a hand in a straight fashion with the other placed underneath it vertically. This represents the superior standing with one below him, bowing. Also when receiving an order in the Fire Nation by a superior it is common to not bow, but make the hand symbol. Bowing is required upon greeting to one, when something nice has happened, after business, and leaving. This might be a reference to the practice of unquestionable respect for elders and superiors in India and China.
Likely as a result of the cultural upheavals during the War, women in the Fire Nation are given more freedom than in the other Nations, and are even able and sometimes encouraged to join the police and Homeland Defense Force.
The diet of its citizens consists of noodles, meat, rice, cabbage, tea and leechi nuts. The people are also known for having a taste for foods of a spicier fare, as they enjoy flaming fire flakes, fire gummies, sizzle-crisps, and fire cakes. There are very little vegetarian meals. The tea most commonly drunk in the Fire Nation is spiced tea.
The traveling "Fire Days Festival" is a Fire Nation sponsored event that brings Fire Nation culture to its citizens forced to live away from their homeland. This event travels to Fire Nation occupied areas of the Earth Kingdom, staying for a few weeks at a time at each location. A variety of Fire Nation people attend the festival, from soldiers on leave, to civilians living in occupied territory. Its participants wear stylized hand-carved wooden masks similar to that of Kabuki theater masks, and merchants vendor a wide variety of trinkets and local snacks. The festival's attractions include puppet shows, fireworks, firebending jugglers and magicians, and overall displays of individual or group bending prowess. As illustrated in its cultural festivals, the Fire Nation employs propaganda to indoctrinate a sense of nationalism and loyalty to the Fire Lord, cult of personality, in its citizens from the earliest age possible; a popular attraction cast Ozai as a hero in a children's puppet show. It was during one of these festivals that Team Avatar met Chey, and eventually Jeong Jeong.
During the summer months around August, numerous "Fire Lily Festivals" spring up around the Fire Nation to celebrate the flower's blooms, famed as a symbol of fiery passion, and persist throughout their short blooming season.
Each nation of the four nations is influenced by their own distinct, dominant season. The Fire Nation's season is summer. Firebenders' powers are slightly enhanced due to the increase in temperature. Most firebending children are born during the summer.
- Main article: Military of the Fire Nation
The Fire Nation military is the strongest of the four nations. Using a fiery comet that greatly enhanced their powers, they succeeded in wiping out the Air Nomads early in the War. Though the Fire Nation fought on two fronts against the Water Tribes and the Earth Kingdom, they still maintained the upper hand. As the War dragged on, it became clear that the Fire Nation would eventually win if the Avatar did not intervene. The Water Tribe did not have the military might to directly challenge the Fire Nation, and the vast Earth Kingdom had lost its last great military stronghold to the Fire Nation.
The Fire Nation Army is comprised of both normal foot soldiers, who normally wield spears, swords, and shields, and firebenders. Their cavalry ride komodo rhinos. These creatures are a mix between a large rhinoceros and a komodo dragon, and have three horns like a Triceratops and a long whip-like tail. The Fire Nation also has units of metal tanks. These tanks are heavily armored and equipped with fire ports (to allow the crew to fire projectiles, ranging from fireballs produced by firebending to giant grappling hooks).
The act of dressing up prisoners of war as faux soldiers to provide fodder was a tactic used by the ancient Mongolians and some Chinese warlords. One of the generals suggested sacrificing a novice division of troops to provide a distraction, an act used by various military leaders (from both the West and the East) throughout history.
- Main article: Yuyan Archers
The Yuyan Archers are Colonel Shinu's highly skilled unit of archers, and are, according to Zhao, "capable of pinning a fly to a tree from one hundred yards away without killing it". They are so skilled that they succeeded in overwhelming and capturing Aang, the Avatar, though he subsequently escaped from custody.
The Fire Nation's navy comprises coal-powered ironclad warships. In addition to its sturdy properties, the Fire Nation's use of metallurgy to remove impurities from the metal ensures that earthbenders cannot damage their ships with their powers. These vessels serve many purposes, from ferrying and disembarking troops to providing bombardment with their catapults to creating blockades.
Captured earthbenders were forced into labor to work on a mid-ocean shipyard. Knowing that they could not bend the metal of the rig, many of the captured earthbenders lost their will to fight.
The Fire Nation's navy is very powerful and has no equal; Admiral Zhao laid siege on the Northern Water Tribe with hundreds of ships, and the Fire Nation certainly has many more. However, almost all of that fleet was destroyed when Aang became the physical incarnation of the Ocean Spirit, leaving only a few survivors to retreat.
The shoulder spikes on Fire Navy uniforms were eventually removed due to their tendencies to get stuck on things.
Azula's royal barge
- Main article: Royal barge
Compared to Zuko's ship, Azula's ship is bigger, faster, and newer. Under Azula's command, the ship is guarded by an elite group of firebenders dressed in unique armor serving to protect Azula and hunt down Zuko and Iroh, though they turn out to be no match for either of them. This ship is particularly unique for having a 3-spiked prow, and a pagoda tower. The ship was not seen again after Azula abandoned it to pursue the Avatar on land with Mai and Ty Lee. However, it recently reappeared as Azula and Zuko's means of returning home to the Fire Nation.
The Southern Raiders
- Main article: Southern Raiders
The Southern Raiders are comprised of an elite force of vessels and soldiers tasked with launching the numerous raids on the Southern Water Tribe. Their insignia is a Sea raven and their uniforms are slightly different from conventional Fire Nation armor, as they are mostly black and consist of a helmet with bird-like ornaments. Their flagship is fairly advanced, with an unusually large conning tower. The goal of the Southern Raiders is to eliminate all waterbenders from the Southern Water Tribe, as well as stealing supplies for the Fire Nation. These raiders are presumably the soldiers who captured all of the waterbenders prior to the show's beginning.
The Fire Nation is the only one of the four nations that has developed military flying machines: war balloons and airships. The war balloons are a type of hot air balloon designed by the mechanist, an Earth Kingdom inventor who the Fire Nation had pressed into service designing weapons and technology. They acquired it after losing a battle against the mechanist. As stated by War Minister Qin, "This defeat is the gateway to many victories." The Fire Nation later constructed many more war balloons which were fueled by firebenders. On the Day of Black Sun it was revealed that the Fire Nation had also constructed several massive airships. These airships float using large fuel cells on the bottom of the hull, and have dozens of small platforms from which firebenders launch fire at enemies. Upon the arrival of Sozin's Comet, Phoenix King Ozai had planned to lead a massive fleet of these airships to burn the Earth Kingdom to the ground.
- Main article: Fire Nation drill
This siege engine is a massive drill, designed to breach the Outer Wall of Ba Sing Se. The drill was originally modeled by the mechanist and took over two years to construct. As large as a village, it houses an entire brigade of Fire Nation engineers, who are needed to make repairs and clean out pipelines. The drill is composed of two moving parts which are connected by a series of braces. It works by tearing chunks of stone from structures and grinding them down, dispensing them into water and channeling them out the rear. The drill was successful in breaching the wall, but was stopped when Aang and Katara teamed up to weaken outer layer of braces. Aang then delivered a final blow to the drill from the exterior, causing the structure to fall apart from the inside out.
The drill was also accompanied by a fleet of tanks similar to the tundra tank, only equipped instead with caterpillar treads and catapults, but these were quickly destroyed by Ba Sing Se's Terra Team.
- Black Cliffs
- Boiling Rock prison
- Capital City
- Crescent Island
- Ember Island
- Fire Fountain City
- Fire Nation bazaar
- Hama's village
- Jang Hui
- Roku's island
- Royal Plaza
- Shu Jing
- Avatar Roku
- Fire Lord Sozin
- Fire Lord Azulon
- Fire Lord Ozai
- Fire Lord Zuko
- Princess Azula
- Admiral Zhao
- Jeong Jeong
- Unnamed fire Avatar
- Ty Lee