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128px-Padlock-olive.svg Fire Nation emblem

Noren, born as Ikem, was a childhood friend and later boyfriend of Ursa. He was her fiancé for less than a day, prior to her forced engagement to Prince Ozai.[2] Afterward, he acquired a new face from the Mother of Faces and took on the identity of Noren, directing the acting troupe in his hometown, Hira'a. After Ursa's banishment from the Fire Nation Royal Palace, Noren reunited with his lover and helped her get a new face and identity as Noriko, and the two married and lived a quiet life in Hira'a with their daughter, Kiyi. After his marriage to Ursa following the latter's banishment, he became the step-father of Zuko and Azula.[1]

History

Life as Ikem

Ikem grew up in the Fire Nation town of Hira'a and was a close friend of Ursa. When they were six years old, Ursa punched him in the stomach and kicked dirt in his face, which ironically led him to fall in love with her.

Ursa and Ikem

Ikem and Ursa kissed after she accepted his marriage proposal.

When the two grew older, they began dating and started an acting career together at the local theater. When he was twenty-one, Ikem was cast for the role as Dragon Emperor and was reciting his lines on an empty stage, when Ursa surprised him, announcing that she would be playing the role of Dragon Empress in Love amongst the Dragons, and he stated that he could finally fulfill his lifelong ambition of kissing Ursa in front of the entire village. Wanting to practice the kissing scene, they each put on their masks and recited their lines. However, when it came to the moment of the kiss, the masks proved to be a hindrance. Although Ursa removed hers, Ikem held her gaze and proposed. Since Ursa was confused at first, wondering if his proposal was part of the script, he removed his mask as well and recalled the childhood memory of the moment he fell in love with her. He repeated his proposal, and this time, Ikem was delighted to receive a confirming answer from Ursa. The two shared a passionate kiss. Later in the night, Ursa left for home to tell her mother of Ikem's proposal.

Devastated Ikem

Ikem was left heartbroken when Ursa departed from his life.

The next day, news of Prince Ozai's engagement to Ursa had reached Ikem, and he blocked the path through which Ursa's carriage was passing. He stood his ground and called out to Fire Lord Azulon, stating that he could not stand by and let his true love be taken away. Guards stepped forth to remove him, though he held his own against them, despite using only wooden theater props as weapons. Ursa stepped out the carriage and told him that there was nothing in his power he could do to undo the decision that had been made. He tried to convince her to stay by saying that they belonged together, though told her that if she could honestly say that Ozai was the person she wanted to marry, he would go home. Ursa did what he asked of her, and Ikem was left devastated by the side of the road as the royal carriage rode away.

After Ursa's departure, Ikem retreated into a forest within Forgetful Valley, mourning the loss of his true love. He built a hut by a river, fashioned a weapon, and began a new life as a hermit. During his self-imposed exile, Ikem witnessed a blue wolf spirit drinking from the water across from where he was sitting.[2]

Life as Noren

Ikem confesses his identity

After reuniting with her, Ikem confessed his identity and feelings to Ursa.

The Mother of Faces emerged from the water and granted Ikem with a new face. He returned to Hira'a, where he took the name Noren, eventually becoming leader of the acting troupe after Grandma Guchi decided to retire. In 95 AG, he took in Ursa after she wandered to the village following her banishment from the Fire Nation Royal Palace, though she did not immediately recognize Noren as Ikem.[3] While the two were eating breakfast the next morning, discussing Love amongst the Dragons, Noren inadvertently said Ursa's name, even though she had not properly introduced herself. As a shocked Ursa began to walk away, Noren retold their life story, enabling Ursa to see that he indeed was her ex-lover. The two made their way to a prop warehouse, where the actor explained how he fell apart mentally following his beloved's departure, and later traveled to Forgetful Valley and received his new face and identity. He offered to take Ursa for the same purpose, to which she agreed, hoping to return to the capital and see her children grow up happy. Noren did not agree with this, wondering why she would just watch them grow up from afar, but Ursa rebutted with saying that being unsure of her children's happiness was torture.

The couple traveled to Forgetful Valley, eventually arriving by a pond from where the Mother of Faces' wolf drank, indicating they were near to the face-bestowing spirit. Noren comforted a saddened Ursa, offering to move her children to Hira'a, but his lover declined this, saying that doing so might put the town in danger. Afterward, the Mother of Faces appeared, granting Ursa a new face and altering her memories, and the two embraced after finding one another. They returned to Hira'a, married, and had a daughter named Kiyi.[1]

As Noren, he kept performing in the Hira'a Acting Troupe as well as directing the company. It was in this capacity that he noticed Zuko asking around for Ursa. In an attempt to preserve their secret identities, he invited Team Avatar back to his family home and off the town's square. In the privacy of their home, he told Team Avatar that Noren had retreated into the Forgetful Valley after Ursa had been ushered away toward the Fire Nation Capital, consequently guiding the team to that place to investigate.[3]

Ikem encouraging Zuko

Aware that he would one day need to tell Ursa about her past, Noren stopped Zuko from leaving and urged him to reveal his identity to his mother.

A day later, while he and his family were eating dinner, Noren met Zuko again, as the Fire Lord returned to their home after learning the truth about his mother's secret identity. Zuko, however, initially chose not to reveal what he had learned out loud, seeing how happy Ursa was with her life as Noriko. Noren, however, stopped his guest from leaving and encouraged him to "do what [he] came to do". The actor continued in saying that he recognized the Fire Lord in the crowd during Love amongst the Dragons because of his scar, and begged forgiveness for not telling the truth about protecting Ursa, whom he had to remind was her former name before the Mother of Faces altered her face and memory. He confessed his former name, to which Zuko said their home was where he belonged, with his mother, sister, and father. Noren stopped Zuko after being called his father, trying to say it was not so, but was interrupted when Azula fell through the ceiling, intent on killing Ursa. Noren tried to help his wife, but Sokka urged him to get himself and Kiyi to safety. The next morning, Noren and his daughter sat at a campfire, preparing a meal while Ursa and Zuko began to talk about the former's past.[1]

Afterward, Noren accompanied his family when they visited the Fire Nation Capital for the first time since Ursa's exile.[4] While on the boat, he came up to Ursa after Zuko had left her and asked if she was okay. When she questioned his concern, he said that her hands were cold, which was something that only happened when she was scared. He recalled how they use to hold hands before performances, and it felt like holding a block of ice. After his wife assured him he would be fine, a panicked Ursa called for Aang to bring her daughter back on the boat, though when she tried to hug Kiyi, the little girl rebelled against the embrace and went up to her father. Noren picked her up and carried her downstairs, per her request.

The next morning on the deck, Noren held his daughter in his arms while he was informed by Zuko that a change in their travel plans had occurred. He was grew amazed when a submarine broke through the surface of the water near the boat and asked what it was. As Zuko explained its design was based on Sokka's design, Noren asked if Sokka was "the funny guy with the boomerang", which Zuko confirmed. After meeting Iroh, who had emerged from the submarine, Noren and the others boarded the vessels while Iroh journeyed on with the ship toward the capital as a decoy. Arriving at a hidden route that lead to the Fire Nation Royal Palace, he carried and placed Kiyi into the carriage before getting in himself. However, the New Ozai Society knew of their arrival and ambushed them. While Zuko and the Kyoshi Warriors fought them off, Noren stayed in the carriage with Ursa and Kiyi.[5]

Personality

Ikem was a playful and somewhat fearful man, though he was capable of doing brave and rash acts if the situation demanded it, such as challenging the prince's guards with fake swords in an attempt to convince Ursa to stay with him, as he loved her since childhood and took their relationship very seriously.[2] He was also shown to be a kind father, sheltering his daughter in his arms from her murderous half-sister, once more showcasing his latent bravery.[1] He also showed himself to be a very warm man, welcoming his step-children and their friends into his home for a meal.[3]

Abilities

Ikem was skilled in wielding dual broadswords to such an extent that he could hold his own against two of Fire Lord Azulon's guards with just wooden dual swords. He was also a skilled survivalist, as he exiled himself into a forest and managed to make himself a home there, constructing a shelter and weapons.[2]

Relatives

Main article: Fire Nation Royal Family
Sozin
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Roku
   
   
Ta Min
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Azulon
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Ilah
   
   
Rina
   
   
Jinzuk
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Iroh
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Ozai
   
   
   
   
   
   
Ursa
   
   
   
   
   
   
Noren
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Lu Ten
   
   
   
   
Unknown
   
   
Zuko
   
   
Azula
   
   
Kiyi
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Izumi
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Iroh
   
   
Izumi's
daughter[6]

Appearances

Graphic novel trilogies

Trivia

  • Even though she was forbidden, Ursa kept writing letters to Ikem, though none of them were ever delivered to him.
  • One of the many additions to the Avatar mythos that Gene Yang conceived for The Search trilogy was Ursa's past romance, which led to the creation of Ikem.[7]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Yang, Gene (writer), Sasaki of Gurihiru (penciling, inking), Kawano of Gurihiru (colorist), Heisler, Michael; Comicraft (letterer). The Search Part 3 (October 30, 2013), Dark Horse Comics.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Yang, Gene (writer), Sasaki of Gurihiru (penciling, inking), Kawano of Gurihiru (colorist), Heisler, Michael; Comicraft (letterer). The Search Part 1 (March 20, 2013), Dark Horse Comics.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Yang, Gene (writer), Sasaki of Gurihiru (penciling, inking), Kawano of Gurihiru (colorist), Heisler, Michael; Comicraft (letterer). The Search Part 2 (July 10, 2013), Dark Horse Comics.
  4. DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Yang, Gene (writer), Sasaki of Gurihiru (penciling, inking), Kawano of Gurihiru (colorist), Heisler, Michael; Comicraft (letterer). The Rift Part 1 (March 5, 2014), Dark Horse Comics.
  5. DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Yang, Gene (writer), Sasaki of Gurihiru (penciling, inking), Kawano of Gurihiru (colorist), Heisler, Michael; Comicraft (letterer). Smoke and Shadow Part 1 (September 23, 2015), Dark Horse Comics.
  6. Joshua Hamilton on the DVD commentary for "The Coronation".
  7. DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Yang, Gene (writer), Sasaki of Gurihiru (penciling, inking), Kawano of Gurihiru (colorist), Heisler, Michael; Comicraft (letterer). The Search Library Edition (February 5, 2014), Dark Horse Comics.

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