For a while, I've been wondering: Why did Azula go mad?
Was is bad blood? (Personally, I think that could be a legitimate reason, considering her ancestry). Was she simply crazy since the beginning? Was it the fact that she just could not handle the power she was given?
Those are all good ideas, in my opinion. But when I got to thinking, perhaps there is another reason, that caused her to appear stable in the beginning, and go mad around the end. What actually caused her to cross the edge?
Think. Did she appear insane when we first saw her? No. She seemed evil, and more than once we may have called her crazy, but she really hadn't gone insane yet. She didn't go insane until the end of the series.
What event happened towards the end of the series? Where Azula not only lost, but was betrayed? The Boiling Rock. My theory starts from there:
I believe Azula was always walking a fine line between sanity and insanity. What person in their right mind would smile at being given the job to capture her brother? But how was she pushed over the edge? What made her banish her servants, mentor, and protector?
At the Boiling Rock, Azula lost. Zuko suceeded in escaping her and stealing her airship. Azula was very used to winning, so that easily could have done it. I think that just contributed to her crossing over into madness. I think that the real event was Mai and Tylee's betrayal. It defied everything Azula knew about them. If she couldn't control her friends, how could she comtrol others? It made her doubt herself for the first time. It was too much for her. Eventually, the madness won.
Azula actually did mention Mai and Tylee's betrayal during the series finale, which helped my theory. No doubt the sudden increase of power and other things contributed, too.
I just can't help but wonder: If Mai and Tylee had never betrayed Azula, would Azula have gone mad? She may have, but would she have gone as far as she did? What if Azula had joined Team Avatar? Would she have gone mad, experienced weaker firebending, or simply stay unchanged?
What do you think caused Azula to go crazy?