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Phraseology of Ursa's Letter: A Theory on Zuko's True Genetics

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We, the members of the wiki have encountered a dilemma. By now, I'm sure at least some of you read The Search Part 1 (myself included) and have either been gasping for air or were exasperated to learn the contents of the letter Zuko took from Azula and read.

SPOILER ALERT

In the letter that Zuko reads, it states:

My dearest Ikem,

It's taken me a long time to admit it, but you were right. I belong with you, and nothing is worth this pain. My one consolation is our son Zuko. When I look into his eyes, it's as if I'm looking into yours. My thoughts are with you always.

Love,

Ursa (Source: Pg.76)

In the last panel, you see Zuko shocked, with the words "our son" in bold.

The question is, does the phrase "our son" denote that Zuko isn't Ozai's son but Ikem's thus serving to legitimize Azula's actual claim to the throne while turning Zuko into a usurper, or is the phrase simply an expression meant to signify Ursa's reminder of Ikem through her son with Ozai?

I plan on trying to postulate answers for both sides, followed by my own opinion on the matter.

Case 1: Zuko is Ikem's son

If the phrase revealed that Zuko's father wasn't Ozai, but rather Ikem, then everything we've heard about Zuko's double-bloodline is a complete fabrication. It would cause a gigantic cluster---- (pardon my French) on the canon and on the wiki, forcing episodes like The Avatar and the Fire Lord to be virtually disregarded as canon on the issue. Additionally, the wiki articles on Zuko and anywhere his bloodline is mentioned would have to be altered as well. In effect, a miniature doomsday will occur.

From a story perspective, several clues would seem to point to this conclusion. The most notable being in Zuko Alone and later elaborated upon in The Day of Black Sun, Part 2: The Eclipse, where Azulon punished his second son for trying to usurp his elder brother's place in line to the throne on the basis that Iroh's son was dead, thus finishing off his bloodline. In the latter episode, Ozai revealed that he had every intention of killing Zuko, only to be stopped by Ursa, who then offered a plan whereby his father would die and Ozai ascended to the throne and she would be banished immediately after by the new Fire Lord. A second clue would be that Ozai always favoured his daughter over his "son".

Case 2: The phrase is just an expression

On the other hand, deciphering the phrase "our son" as nothing more than an expression, it preserves the continuity that we've come to expect from Zuko's bloodline and history. Status quo would prevail. This hypothesis relies on the notion that Ursa merely stated the phrase and explained it with what she said next:"When I look into his eyes, it's as if I'm looking into yours". Interpreting the quote, it could appear that she merely stated how her son reminded her of Ikem, though Zuko is still biologically Ozai and Ursa's son. Given how the series doesn't like to deal with adult situations such as premarital pregnancy via another (especially considering such an act would be considered taboo during the same approximate time period on our Earth), it's unlikely such a scenario would be the case.

Evidence to support this theory in the series includes the fact that Azula has a penchant for lying, and by extension, so does Ozai, but much less so. Both are also very shrewd manipulators and thus could've manufactured the letter in an attempt to throw Zuko off the throne and reinstall Azula there.

My opinion

Although I understand both interpretations and their imminent ramifications, I'm still ambivalent on the issue, though I'm skewed towards the latter theorem. Why, you might ask? Because such an outcome preserves the status quo and effectively the entire history of the series, which would be turned into chaos if the initial theorem was proved correct.

As shocked as I was by this cliffhanger, I think Gene Yang's a genius by the way he constructed it. I'm certain Mike and Bryan still hold the reins on Gene and perhaps they told him to make the outcome frightening to imagine, while knowing that nothing would really change as the actual outcome would be expected. If however the initial hypothesis is proven, while we'd know why Zuko was being treated as badly as he was, it would still force us to rewrite the established canon and cause many to fall out of favour with Bryke for turning their (Mike and Bryan's) backs on them (the users and the millions of fans of both series).

Now that I've said my bit, how do you guys feel about the issue and what do you believe will be the outcome? If you have a different outcome in mind, feel free to share it. H-Man: Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem 03:54, March 21, 2013 (UTC)

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