- 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 terms of population and area, following the Earth Kingdom. The Fire Nation's economy is one of most powerful in the world; its strong industrial sector and extensive technological developments not only enabled the Fire Nation to create an extremely powerful military, but also initiated the worldwide modernization and globalization. Before the foundation of the United Republic and the following global technological revolution, it was also the strongest and most advanced country of the world.
Regardless of previous boundaries, the military of the Fire Nation was engaged in an imperialistic century long war with the other three nations from 0 to 100 ASC. 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 international military affairs, with General Iroh leading the First Division of the United Forces, the naval defense organization of Republic City.
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.
Members of the military wear red and black uniforms and different types of armor. 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.
National emblem Edit
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 the main islands largely consist of rough, grassy plains bearing little wildlife. Few travel to the Fire Nation, and no invasion had ever been mounted against it until Team Avatar and some of their allies from the Earth Kingdom and Water Tribe attacked the mainland during the Day of Black Sun in 100 ASC.
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.
Natural resources Edit
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 industrial furnaces and war machinery. The initial drive for the nation's attempts for expansion was industrialization and having a greater need for resources, in itself a staple of imperialism.
Government system: Benevolent autocracy
Head of state: Fire Lord
The Fire Nation was ruled with a stern and almost terrifying manner by the latest in a long line of firebenders until Fire Lord Zuko took the throne. The Fire Nation's political system during the Hundred Year War was a despotist autocracy that waged said 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 was during the Hundred Year War. A millennium ago, in its earliest years, a council of sages led the Fire Nation who, among several other national interests, was 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, and was subsequently considered as a benevolent ruler.
- See also: Fire Nation Royal Family tree
In compliance with its war effort, the Fire Nation was heavily engaged in industry during the Hundred Year War. The country's economy was dominated by shipbuilding, metalworking, and manufacturing weapons such as arrows, spears, shields, swords, and knives. Despite a crude range of weaponry, the Fire Nation stood as the most technologically advanced belligerent in the War. Its comprehensive knowledge of combustion allowed them to develop several Industrial-Age technologies including 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 has a formal education system that aims to instill loyalty in its students through political indoctrination, strict discipline, and nationalist teachings. 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 primarily works as a "mind-molding" process, influencing students to develop a strong sense of nationality and loyalty to the Fire Lord. Teachers maintain rigid order and withhold teaching students the art of dance or any other form of self-expression. In addition, censorship and propaganda is used in history books e.g. falsely claiming the Air Nomads used military force to fight the Fire Nation.
The dress code and symbols of the Fire Nation are modeled after fire, naturally. Like the other nations, it is based on its elemental color, in this case, red. The majority of the structures are made of stone. They also have red pagoda-style roofs favored by the country. Fire Nation symbols are often put on important or nice buildings for decoration and inside it was common for a picture of the Fire Lord to be kept in a prominent, visible place.
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 did mention to Sokka that there are "a million Lees" when aiding him in choosing an alias.
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 the Domestic Forces.
General conception of the world Edit
The Fire Nation's worldview upholds that only unity, centralism and strict order can ensure stability and prosperity. However, this does not include restricting freedom and creativity, as these aspects of personal expression are critical to societal development and harmony.
Nevertheless, this original conception was corrupted during the Hundred Year War in order to fit the Fire Lords' ambitions. The idea of a peaceful, harmonious and cooperative world order was changed into an imperialist ideology that propagated global domination and striving to achieve it. Children were taught that the Fire Nation was the greatest civilization that had ever existed, that the war was its way of sharing its greatness, along with the ideology that the Fire Lord and his family were great people who were helping the world out.
This caused a cult of personality to build up around the Fire Lord, military, and aristocracy, who were seen as messengers that could bring the beauty and glory of Fire Nation culture to other lands. According to this belief, the Fire Nation Royal Palace was the center of the world, and the farther away a place was from the palace, the lower were its inhabitants in regard of social status and capabilities. This led to racism; consequently, Fire Nation citizens of the mainland were regarded superior to those of the colonies, while the people of other nations as well as their bending were deemed barbaric and inferior.
However, under Fire Lord Zuko's rule, the original conception of the world was restored and the Fire Nation began once again to cooperate with the other nations to ensure world peace and prosperity. Most significant result of this cooperation is the creation of the United Republic and its capital, Republic City.
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, that 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 being fisted 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.
Gender equality Edit
The Fire Nation is well known for its long tradition of gender equality. There are hardly any occupational boundaries for women, they have full access to higher education, and are equal before the law. Thus women can also become mayors and magistrates, thereby occupying the highest ranking civilian positions in most of the nation. Likewise, a female Crown Princess or Fire Lord is not uncommon, and historical sagas about just as powerful as feared Fire Princesses are well known. Only in the military this equality was limited; as of 100 ASC, a common woman, firebender or not, was only allowed to serve in the Domestic Forces. Nevertheless, exceptions to this rule are known, as women can serve in special front units such as the Yuyan Archers, and it is normal and even expected from an Fire Princess to take an active part as military commander in times of war. Overall, you will be judged on skills and success in the Fire Nation, not on the gender.
Another very important aspect of Fire Nation culture is marriage. Thus, at least among the nobility a wedding is traditionally an extensive celebrated event. This includes formal garments, especially the expensive red-white gowns favored by women, large-scale decoration, for example with lanterns, and a banquet. The wedding itself is presided over by a Fire Sage. At the same time marriage out of love seems to be more common than arranged marriages, as even among the nobility only the royal family is known to conduct political marriage of convenience.
Cult of personality Edit
The Fire Nation is known for its intensive and excessive cult of personality, especially in regard to the Fire Lord. It is common to keep pictures of the Fire Lord clearly visible in schools and public buildings, while massive statues are often erected in honor of the ruler. This is accompanied by strong glorification, although the monarchs are still regarded as humans - unlike the Earth King, who is said to be "an icon, a god to his people".
The diet of its citizens consists of noodles, meat, fish, 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. As the Fire Nation is a hilly island country, pasture is more common than farmland, thus most Fire Nation dishes are rich in meat, while there are very little vegetarian meals. Tea is generally very popular, as there is even a National Tea Appreciation Day. The tea most commonly drunk in the Fire Nation is spiced tea.
Cultural festivals Edit
The traveling "Fire Days Festival", alternatively called simply the "fire festival", was a Fire Nation sponsored event that brought Fire Nation culture to its citizens forced to live away from their homeland. This event traveled 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 attended the festival, from soldiers on leave, to civilians living in occupied territory. Its participants wore stylized hand-carved wooden masks similar to that of Kabuki theater masks, and merchants vended a wide variety of trinkets and local snacks. The festival's attractions included 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 employed 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.
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. 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 soldiers to provide fodder was a tactic employed by the Fire Nation Army during the Hundred Year War. One of the generals suggested sacrificing a novice division of troops to provide a distraction.
Yuyan Archers Edit
- 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 Navy, also called Fire Navy, consists of several fleets with coal-powered ironclad cruisers as basic units. Commanded by admirals, these fleets act rather autonomous, and even though the position of an overall commander does exist, he just controls the largest fleet and does not order other admirals. In addition to its sturdy properties, the Fire Nation's use of metallurgy to remove impurities from the metal ensures that enemy earthbenders cannot damage their ships with their powers. Besides the cruisers, the navy employs many classes which different purposes, from ferrying and disembarking troops to providing bombardment with their trebuchets to creating blockades. The navy is also highly organized and stratified, with a clear hierarchy and efficient bureaucracy. Despite the enormous troop strength of the navy that employs thousands of soldiers, sailors and engineers it is also the only known part of the military which hires mercenaries, if a sudden demand for ships will leave vessels a little short-handed on experienced crew members.
During the Hundred Year War, 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 the largest and most powerful in the world, capable of dispatching over a hundred warships in larger operations, exemplified by Admiral Zhao's siege on the Northern Water Tribe with hundreds of ships.
The Southern Raiders Edit
- 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 and the Southern Earth Kingdom. 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 was to eliminate all waterbenders from the Southern Water Tribe, as well as stealing supplies for the Fire Nation and devastating the coastlines of the South Sea.
Air Force Edit
The Fire Nation is the first country of the world that has established a military air force, before the Earth Kingdom and the United Republic. This air force consists of 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 the Battle for the Northern Air Temple against the defected inventor. Under the direction of War Minister Qin 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 employ multiple propeller sets on the sides of their hulls for propulsion. Armed with bombs that they drop from the hatches on their underbellies, rudimentary cannons, and hundreds of firebending crewmembers who can fire at enemies from dozens of small platforms, these airships are massive aerial warships. 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, however, most of the airships were destroyed during a battle against Team Avatar.
The drill Edit
- 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.
Notable locations Edit
Notable figures Edit
- The terrain of the Fire Nation was based on that of Iceland.
- The overall shape of the Fire Nation resembles a flame burning sideways.
- Additionally, the westernmost islands form a skull-like figure.
- According to Master Piandao and others, the name "Lee" is very popular in the Fire Nation. Indeed, several known characters from the Fire Nation were similarly named: Captain Li of the Fire Navy, Princess Azula's former adviser Li, the circus performer and later Kyoshi Warrior Ty Lee, and Qin Lee, a member of the Royal Procession.