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This article is about the character in the animated series. For the character in Netflix's live-action series, see Azula.

Azula was a princess of the Fire Nation, daughter of Fire Lord Ozai and Ursa, younger sister of Zuko, and older half-sister of Kiyi. She was a key adversary of Team Avatar,[7] chasing Avatar Aang and her banished brother far across the Earth Kingdom accompanied by her then two best friends, Mai and Ty Lee.

A firebending prodigy, Azula was manipulative and obsessed with power. She was a skilled strategist who orchestrated the coup of the Earth Kingdom capital, Ba Sing Se,[8][9] and halted the invasion on the Day of Black Sun.[10]

Azula harbored deep mental instabilities, believing her mother loved Zuko more than her.[11] Raised by her father in an environment without a mother-figure, Azula had to be nothing less than perfect in her father's eyes in order to gain affection and attention from him. After the betrayal of her two closest friends Mai and Ty Lee, these instabilities were brought up to the surface.[1] Upon the arrival of Sozin's Comet, Azula was soon to be crowned Fire Lord;[12] however, her defeat at the hands of her brother Zuko and Katara caused her to suffer a complete mental breakdown.[13]

Following her emotional breakdown, Azula was put in a mental health facility to recover,[14] though she eventually joined Team Avatar on their search for Ursa, as part of her secret agenda to betray them and usurp the throne from Zuko. At this quest's completion, however, Azula escaped the team's supervision.

Sometime after her exile, Azula returned to the Fire Nation Capital in secret. Having finally accepted that she would never be Fire Lord, Azula resorted to manipulating Zuko so that she could rule through him. Gathering a group of female supporters, she took on the guise of the mythical Kemurikage to intimidate Ukano into threatening Zuko. When that failed, Azula and her followers resorted to kidnapping children in the capital, setting the city into civil unrest. Though Zuko and his allies were able to rescue the children, Azula and her followers escaped.

Quick Answers

Who are the parents of Azula in "Avatar: The Last Airbender"? toggle section
Azula is the daughter of Fire Lord Ozai and Princess Ursa.
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What is the relationship between Azula and Zuko? toggle section
Azula and Zuko share a complex sibling relationship. From when they were kids, they constantly found themselves in a rivalry, with Azula seemingly having the upper hand with being the better bender and carrying the favor of their father Ozai and grandfather Azulon, where Zuko was more beloved by their mother Ursa and uncle Iroh, much to Azula's envy. When they were both tasked as teens to track down Team Avatar, they often found themselves in conflict and had no qualms dueling it out. Despite their messy relationship, Zuko did not kill Azula when he had the chance, indicating a deep-seated familial bond. Azula often questioned Zuko's motives and ambitions, particularly his desire to be Fire Lord.
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Who were Azula's two best friends in "Avatar: The Last Airbender"? toggle section
Azula's two best friends in "Avatar: The Last Airbender" were Mai and Ty Lee. They met at the Royal Fire Academy for Girls when they were younger. Despite their contrasting personalities, with Mai's pessimistic attitude and Ty Lee's flightiness, they initially held a mutual respect and friendship with Azula.
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What is Azula's role in Team Avatar's journey? toggle section
Azula plays a significant role as an antagonist to Team Avatar. She is sent on a mission by Fire Lord Ozai to capture her brother, Zuko, and her uncle, Iroh. In the process, she forms a small and elite team with her closest friends, Mai and Ty Lee. Upon encountering Team Avatar, they establish them as a prime target. Azula's presence is a constant threat to the team, leading to several confrontations.
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How does Azula's firebending skills compare to other characters in the series? toggle section
Azula is recognized as one of the most skilled and powerful firebenders in the series. Her firebending abilities are prodigious, even from a young age, and the most notable feature of Azula's bending is her ability to create blue flames, which are much more intense than the flames normally used by firebenders. She is also able to both generate and redirect lightning, one of only a few known characters able to do so.
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Early life[]

Main article: History of Azula (85 AG - 100 AG)

Princess Azula was born to Prince Ozai and Princess Ursa in 85 AG.[2] Azula grew up with all the riches, splendor, and privileges of royalty in the Fire Nation. Her sharp wits and the fact that she was a firebending prodigy gained her great attention and acclaim, which quickly made her Ozai's favorite child.[2] Her father began raising her as his true heir from an early stage, taking her into his confidence and educating her in politics. Azula later attended the Royal Fire Academy for Girls, where she met and befriended Mai and Ty Lee, two daughters of Fire Nation noblemen.[15]

Young Azula and Zuko

Azula smiled triumphantly at her shocked brother while he was reprimanded by Ozai.

Even though Azula and Zuko had a decent relationship in their early years,[16] the siblings grew apart as they got older due to their parents' behavior. While Azula was clearly favored by Ozai, she felt that her mother loved Zuko much more than her, creating a rift of jealousy between her and Ursa and Zuko. As a result of this resentment as well as Ozai's influence, Azula became increasingly cruel and manipulative, often bullying Zuko and feeling happy over the latter's misery.[16][17] She also manipulated her friends Mai and Ty Lee.[17] As result of her growing tendency toward malice and a desire for perfection, Azula craved power to keep others close to her and avoid loneliness.[17][18]

When she was ten, Azula's life greatly changed. Her cousin Lu Ten was killed in the Siege of Ba Sing Se, and Ozai subsequently attempted to convince Azula's grandfather Azulon to change the succession. Azula eavesdropped on their conversation, and thus learned that Azulon had orded Ozai to kill Zuko in retaliation for his scheming. The girl went on to gleefully warn her brother to flee the palace, though Ursa noticed their exchange and thus learnt of Azulon's order. Ursa subsequently murdered Azulon, allowing Ozai to take the throne and going into exile. At the time, Azula felt satisfaction over her father's rise to Fire Lord and Ursa's disappearance.[17][16] Without her mother's protection, however, Azula was molded by Ozai into the perfect weapon and heir, negatively impacting her mental health.[18]

Agni Kai audience

Azula sadistically relished in the sight of her father burning her brother's face during their Agni Kai.

Two years later, Azula was among those who watched Zuko's Agni Kai with his father. When Ozai burned her brother's face, she smiled smugly in triumph.[19] When Zuko was banished from the Fire Nation, Azula became Ozai's de facto heir. For the next three years, she would continue her relentless training in firebending, strategy, and combat until she refined herself enough to serve her father. By this time, her firebending advanced to the level where her fire was blue, and she could create lightning, thus increasing her overall bending power and intensity, making her a formidable opponent.[2][20] In early 100 AG, Ozai tasked Azula with capturing Zuko and Iroh, having deemed both traitors.[5]

Spring 100 AG[]

Main article: History of Azula (Spring 100 AG)

Azula was supplied with a Fire Nation royal sloop, which included a crew and sailed to Zuko and Iroh's last known location. As they approached the port, Azula addressed her crew, emphasizing that she would not tolerate any reluctance to carry out their mission, even if they were apprehending members of the royal family. Before dismissing her crew, Azula reveled in their sense of fear. The ship's captain approached her, explaining that the tides would not allow them to bring the ship in before nightfall. Annoyed by the news, Azula deftly let the man know that his life was at stake if he did not follow her orders.

Azula found Zuko and Iroh in a village resort and invited them to the ship with the false promise of being accepted home with open arms. Her initial plan of luring back her two dissident family members was thwarted by her own ship's captain, who accidentally addressed Zuko and Iroh as prisoners. In the ensuing skirmish, Azula was thrown overboard, allowing her brother and uncle to escape.[20] In order to pursue the Avatar, Azula formed an elite team consisting of her childhood friends Ty Lee, recruited from a circus, and Mai, who was living in Omashu as the governor's daughter. Azula did not manage to capture Aang and his friends in Omashu, but nonetheless was able to crush the city's resistance and secure it for the Fire Nation, renaming the city New Ozai in her father's honor.[15] Azula continued to pursue the Avatar, Zuko, and Iroh for several weeks, making use of technological advancements such as the tank train, being able to find them and wound Iroh in Tu Zin before fleeing the scene.[21]

Azula undercover

Ty Lee, Azula, and Mai disguised themselves as the Kyoshi Warriors, successfully infiltrated the Earth King's circle of trust, gained control of the Dai Li, and enacted the Coup of Ba Sing Se, thus almost granting the Fire Nation complete victory in the war.

After her initial failure to breach the strong outer wall of Ba Sing Se with the Fire Nation drill,[22] Azula and her team encountered the Kyoshi Warriors led by Suki, who they swiftly defeated and took into custody.[23] Hoping that it would break her, Azula sent Suki to the Boiling Rock high-security prison.[24] Disguising themselves, Azula, Ty Lee, and Mai entered Ba Sing Se and successfully plotted a conspiracy with the treacherous minister Long Feng.[8][25] She had the Dai Li arrest the Council of Five, the Earth King's highest-ranking generals, while she personally overthrew the sovereign. Sokka and Toph were arrested while attempting to warn Earth King Kuei against the plot, and Azula sent to a separate dungeon. Immediately afterward, Long Feng arrived on the scene and commanded the Dai Li to arrest Azula, attempting to double-cross her. Having prepared against a potential counter, Azula instead convinced the Dai Li to pledge loyalty to her. Realizing that he had been outplayed at his own game, the Grand Secretariat grudgingly surrendered. After taking control of the palace, Azula encountered Zuko in the Upper Ring and managed to convince him to join her in order to redeem his birthright as crown prince. During a battle with the Avatar in the Crystal Catacombs beneath the city, Azula mortally wounded Aang with a lightning strike just after he entered the Avatar State, leaving the Avatar presumed dead forever and the Earth Kingdom capital delivered into the hands of the Fire Nation.[9]

Summer 100 AG[]

Main article: History of Azula (Summer 100 AG)

After the fall of Ba Sing Se, Azula made arrangements for her friends, Zuko, and herself to return to the Fire Nation. Before leaving the Earth Kingdom capital, she passed her rulership over the city to one Joo Dee, whom she raised to the city's Supreme Bureaucratic Administrator.[26] She also brought back her uncle Iroh in chains, who would be imprisoned in the Capital City Prison complex for his treachery. Back home, both she and her brother were welcomed as war heroes and were greeted by crowds of their people. However, Azula doubted that the Avatar was truly dead and believed that Zuko was hiding something from her. As such, she informed her father that Zuko had killed the Avatar, which would set him up for greater dishonor should he be proven to be alive.[11]

Azula traveled with her friends and Zuko to Ember Island for a brief vacation while the Fire Lord conferred with his advisers in private. Azula took advantage of this opportunity to experience life as a normal person for the very first time, choosing to keep conceal her identity as a princess. The vacation was one of the few moments of her life when Azula opened up and revealed her pain and resentment about her relationship with her mother.[11] She confessed her belief that her mother thought her a "monster", commenting that though Ursa was right, it still hurt. She also displayed a moment of connection with Zuko when he left the group to visit their family's old summer home, following him and declaring the house "depressing" before inviting him back to the campfire. After returning to the capital, Azula attended an important all-day war meeting with her father, her brother, and the nation's most important generals, where she suggested using Sozin's Comet to destroy the Earth Kingdom once and for all, a plan which dismayed Zuko and would contribute to his eventual defection from their nation.[12][27]

Having gained knowledge of the invasion during her infiltration in the Earth Kingdom, Azula warned the Fire Lord in advance, and the royal family evacuated to an underground bunker prior to the invasion.[28] Azula and her agents stalled Aang, Sokka, and Toph from finding Fire Lord Ozai before the eclipse ended. This distraction allowed the Fire Army to retaliate with full force once their bending was reactivated, bringing the invasion to an end.[10]

Later, Azula, Mai, and Ty Lee visited the the Boiling Rock, where Zuko had been captured while infiltrating the high-security prison in an attempt to rescue Hakoda. Although it seemed as if Zuko, Sokka, Suki, and Hakoda would fall into the boiling lake during an escape attempt, Mai helped aid their escape. Enraged, Azula confronted her former friend, who confessed that her love for Zuko was greater than her fear for Azula. At that moment, Azula prepared to attack Mai, but Ty Lee stopped her by blocking her chi. Azula subsequently had both Mai and Ty Lee imprisoned as traitors.[29] Afterward, Azula led a platoon of Fire Nation airships to the Western Air Temple, where she battled Zuko. During their skirmish, Azula nearly fell to her death after slipping from the airship, but was able to stop her descent by using her hairpin as an anchor in the cliff wall. Despite having failed to eliminate both Zuko and Aang, she smiled as the Avatar and his friends escaped the temple.[30]

Azula fires lightning

Azula firing lightning at Katara to gain an advantage during her Comet-Enhanced Agni Kai against Zuko.

When Ozai departed to harness the power of Sozin's Comet to burn the Earth Kingdom, he named Azula as the new Fire Lord. Although Azula was astonished to receive the title, her father told her that while she would rule the homeland, he would become Phoenix King and become the supreme ruler of the world.[12] As she prepared for her coronation, Azula began to crack under the pressures of her friends' betrayal and accession to the throne, and her mental health began to deteriorate.[14][31] She became suspicious of her servants and began to banish them from the nation, along with her personal advisors Lo and Li, her own Dai Li agents, and the Royal Procession. While attempting to tie her hair for the coronation, Azula grew frustrated and grabbed a pair of scissors to cut her hair, resulting in it turning out uneven. Azula then saw a hallucination of her mother in the mirror. The vision of Ursa commented on Azula's penchant for using fear to control her friends, to which the princess replied that she had no choice, and that "Trust is for fools. Fear is the only reliable way". When Azula stated that Ursa feared her, the hallucination of her mother replied that she loved her instead. Azula began to cry and threw her hairbrush at the mirror in anger and distress. Just before the High Sage was to crown Azula as Fire Lord, Zuko and Katara arrived at the palace. Azula challenged Zuko to a Comet-Enhanced Agni Kai, to which he agreed, noticing her imbalanced mental state. During their fight, Azula's attacks were wild, emotional, and reckless, albeit still powerful, while Zuko's attacks were calm and controlled, and eventually, he gained the upper hand. When he began to overpower her, Azula, responding to his challenge to use lightning, directed her attack toward Katara. However, Zuko intercepted her attack and was grievously injured as a result.[1] Azula then attempted to attack Katara, but the waterbender trapped them both in ice and chained her to the floor by taking advantage of her mental decay. Seeing herself defeated and usurped as Fire Lord, Azula let out a fiery roar before breaking down, sobbing and screaming.[13]

After the Hundred Year War[]

Searching for Ursa[]

Insane Azula

Azula agreed to help Zuko extract information from Ozai.

After her Agni Kai with Zuko and subsequent mental breakdown, Azula's insanity earned her Zuko's pity, and rather than being sent to prison, like their father Ozai was, she was committed to an asylum on a nearby island, where she was continuously monitored.[14] Although she considered the mental health facility a "horrible" experience, Azula actually befriended some other patients.[32] About a year later, she was visited by her brother, who told her that he had consulted with Ozai on several occasions in an attempt to learn Ursa's whereabouts, to no avail. Answering his request for help, Azula said that she needed nothing in return for her assistance, as the mere knowledge of being of service to the Fire Lord would be enough satisfaction. She also stated that she had been wondering as well what exactly happened to their mother following her disappearance six years earlier.[33]

She was placed in an adjoining cell with her father, though they did not speak with each other for half an hour. Zuko observed this and brought them tea in an attempt to make the situation more enjoyable. Azula grabbed hold of the tray with her teeth, however, causing Zuko to fall over. She angrily accused him of wanting to see her lap up the beverage like an animal since she would have had no other way to drink it while confined in her straitjacket. Her outburst prompted Ty Lee to chi-block her, rendering her completely immobile. Due to her poor mental health, Azula questioned the girl as to how "she", referring to Ursa, had managed to break the grasp of fear Azula used to have on her. Before the situation could escalate any further, Zuko intervened and stated that he had meant no harm and just wanted to ease the conversation with Ozai along. After being placed on her chair again, the chi-blocked Azula arrogantly stated that if her brother wanted her and their father to have a dignified conversation, he should leave them alone, which he did.[34]

Azula burning Ursa's letters

Azula burned Ursa's letters, much to Zuko's shock and horror.

When Zuko was taking her back to her old quarters in the palace where she would be staying, he asked her whether or not she had been able to coax the needed information about Ursa's whereabouts from Ozai. She dodged the question and asked in return whether or not he had ever experienced the sensation of being chi-blocked. When Zuko said he had not, she proceeded to meticulously describe the feeling, mentioning that one becomes extremely flexible right before regaining their full control. To prove her words, she twisted her arm out of her straitjacket and fired a lightning bolt at her brother. In the ensuing skirmish, she managed to free herself entirely and made her way into a nearby building. Via a hidden passageway, she went to one of Ozai's secret chambers, where she retrieved a stack of undelivered letters, which Ursa had written to her hometown. Before Zuko could take them from her, she burned them, having already read them herself. She concealed one of them, however, as it contained information that suggested Zuko was not actually Ozai's son and thus had no claims to the throne. Unaware that Ursa wrote down false information because she knew the letter would be intercepted by Ozai, Azula kept it for leverage so she could eventually overthrow Zuko and let her brother believe that all had been destroyed. In return for knowledge about what had been written in the allegedly burned letter, she requested to be allowed to go with him on his search for their mother.[34]

Complying with the request, Zuko released her from the mental institution and allowed her to accompany him, unbound and with dignity. When she showed herself to Team Avatar, however, she was immediately attacked by Katara. She easily dodged their attacks and proceeded to taunt and insult Sokka. It did not come to a scuffle until the next day when a short struggle ensued between her and Sokka. Azula disarmed him with a small, non-lethal lightning shock after he threatened her with his boomerang. The rest of the team immediately intervened and immobilized her with their bending. Upon her release, she haughtily stated that if they all just stayed away from her, they would get along perfectly.[34]

Ursa loves Azula

Azula was unable to cope with the fact that her mother loved her.

She traveled with Team Avatar on Appa to Hira'a to find her mother, but her mood was erratic, unpredictable, and characterized by delusions and hallucinations, as she constantly asked Team Avatar how "she" had contacted them, referring to her mother. Upon nearing Hira'a, she attempted to escape by jumping off of Appa. Aang swooped down and caught her in free fall, but she set his glider afire, causing him to crash to the ground and securing her getaway. She ran away but stopped as she neared a stream and heard her mother's voice coming from the water. She argued with the reflection, accusing Ursa of desiring to ruin her from the day she was born and heading a conspiracy to strip her of her power, of which she also claimed her mother had been jealous. However, she triumphantly stated that thanks to Ursa's letter, she now had all the proof she needed to take the throne from Zuko. She thus revealed her own plans to find and kill Ursa herself in order to stop her once and for all. She let out an emotionally toiled scream as the hallucination of her mother confirmed her love for her, prompting Azula to fire a lightning bolt at the mirage, stating the love declaration to be nothing more than Ursa's last treasonous attempt to set her own mind against her.[34]

Azula chases off the moth wasps

Azula saved Team Avatar from a moth wasp attack.

At that point, Zuko arrived and asked to whom she had been speaking. Reacting aggressively, Azula wanted to strike her brother down but was encased in ice by Katara before she got the chance. As the waterbender approached her, she accused her of being one of Ursa's co-conspirators. Her rant, however, was interrupted when the wolf spirit appeared and attacked the group. As they were being overpowered by moth wasps coughed up by the spirit, Azula asked Zuko to free her so she could help, convincing him that she could not possibly make things worse for them and stating that if he could not even trust his own family, there was no one left to be trusted. He melted her icy restraints, and true to her word, she created a large lightning bolt and shot it away from the group, drawing the light-oriented moth wasps and wolf spirit with it. That night, Azula was talking in her sleep and shivering from the cold before Zuko covered her with a blanket: during this time, he found the letter she was hiding and was left stunned by its contents.[34]

The next day, the princess was awoken by another hallucination of Ursa. She was urged by her mother to stop what she was doing, as Ursa believed it was not Azula's destiny to assume the throne. In response, Azula intended to shoot her mother with lightning, but Ursa only pleaded with her more urgently to find her true destiny. Azula snapped out of her hallucination with Katara's hand in her grip; Sokka prepared his boomerang to strike her, but Katara managed to calm the unstable firebender down. After her outburst, Azula discovered that the letter she had kept was missing and immediately assumed that Zuko had taken it. Her brother was not at camp, however, and Azula threatened Sokka and Katara with fire to force them to tell her where Zuko had gone. After burning down a few nearby trees and bushes, she stormed off after Zuko.[16]

Azula demanding Ursa's letter

Azula demanded Ursa's letter back from Zuko, believing it to be her key to the Fire Nation throne.

Azula found her brother sitting with Aang at the edge of a cliff discussing the letter questioning his heritage. Frustrated, she shot fire blasts at him, and a duel broke out. While Aang ran back to check up on Sokka and Katara, Azula was grabbed by Zuko and held over the cliff while she accused their mother of tipping him off to the letter's location before learning that he had held it all night. Zuko requested that they stop their fighting, to which Azula agreed, and they both returned to camp. After the rest of the team put out the fires, the entire group continued their journey to Hira'a.[16]

They reached the border of Hira'a, and the Team Avatar disguised themselves using crimson robes. Azula was the only one who still wore her own outfit. The group arrived just as a performance of Love amongst the Dragons was ending. Azula and Zuko recalled the times they used to see the play and how they acted out the battle scene; Azula bragged she made a better Dragon Emperor, which is why she took up the role between the two. The play ended, and Azula followed the others. They met the leader of the Hira'a acting troupe, Noren, who offered them information on Ursa in addition to tea and an invitation to his and his wife, Noriko's, home. Azula and Zuko spoke with the couple's daughter, Kiyi, about her doll. The princess mentioned she used to give her dolls "headcuts" instead of haircuts, offering one for Kiyi's doll, which scared the young girl and caused Zuko to berate his sister. Afterward, the firebender remarked that she was "tempted to burn the whole place down, but resisted for [Zuko]". The thought drew Katara's ire, causing the two girls to argue. The increasing tensions between Katara and Azula resulted in Zuko declaring that Forgetful Valley would be the last stop for the trip.[16]

Azula saving Sokka

Azula saved Sokka from Misu's plantbending attack.

Upon arrival, Azula attempted to make a path by burning parts of the valley, drawing criticism from the rest of the group once more. When Aang found a flutter bat that brought him to a pond, Azula and the others followed the two there. The Avatar said it was a spiritual place and urged everyone to respect it, but Azula once again saw a hallucination of Ursa urging her to stop the mission. The princess promptly went against Aang's word and blasted the pond with lightning, and yelled at Aang that Ursa had told him to bring them there. Katara was about to freeze her in place, but a rain of flower-shaped ice discs began to attack the team, and the nearby plants began to pull the team in one by one. Azula saved Sokka from a vine, explaining that the more "peasants" she kept around, the higher her chances of survival were. Katara countered with plantbending and ordered whoever was attacking to reveal themselves to the team.

Rafa and Misu, brother and sister themselves, arrived and set up camp with the group. Misu warned them that Forgetful Valley's ponds needed to remain undisturbed. She told her and Rafa's story to the team; the sibling bond they had resulted in uncertain looks from Azula and her brother. The princess cut the story short and asked about Ursa, to which Misu replied that neither she nor Rafa had seen her. As Aang prepared to cross into the Spirit World to seek out the wolf spirit, Azula walked away; when confronted by Zuko, she snapped at him, wondering if they were really going to find their mother or help "a couple of vagrants". Zuko said that it was Aang's duty to help people, and Azula accused the Fire Lord of not wanting to hold the throne anymore, traveling with Team Avatar to help people instead. Her focus quickly shifted toward her psychotic beliefs, and she accused Ursa of orchestrating Rafa and Misu's arrival to throw them off her trail. She prepared to shoot lightning at the siblings, warning her mother that her plans would fail.[16]

Azula breaks in

Azula broke into Noren and Noriko's home through the ceiling after finding out that Noriko was really her mother, Ursa.

Her attack was thwarted by Zuko, however, and she was forced to calm down, awaiting Aang's return. When the Avatar brought the Mother of Faces with him, Azula interrupted Misu's plea to the spirit to grant her brother a new face with a demand to know about Ursa. After learning that the Mother of Faces had given Ursa a new identity as Noriko, Azula promptly took off to Hira'a with her brother and Sokka chasing after her. Barging into Noren and Noriko's house, Azula was finally able to confront her mother, demanding to know if Kiyi was supposed to be her replacement because she was such a monster. Sokka held her off temporarily, but the princess ultimately slammed Ursa to the wall and prepared a ball of fire, intent upon killing her.

She teared up when her amnesiac mother apologized for not loving her enough, but after being separated from her by Zuko, she began attacking him. Azula asked Zuko why he would not allow her to take the throne, saying he would be free of something he did not want, while it would rid her of the "incessant nagging in [her] head". Upon being told that she was wrong, Azula protested, reminding him that he had the opportunity to throw her over the cliff and be rid of both her and the letter. Zuko answered that he knew the throne was his destiny and went on to say that no matter how messy their relationship was, she was still his sister. Azula, in tears, burned an opening through a nearby wall and ran outside, dropping the letter in the process. She ran off toward the Forgetful Valley, calling her brother weak when he begged her to stay so that he could help her and vanishing from sight.[35] Although Zuko tried to find her in the weeks before he returned to the capital with Ursa, Ikem, Kiyi, and Team Avatar, Azula managed to remain hidden, which caused Zuko to believe that she did not want to be found.[36]

Masquerading as the Kemurikage[]

Fire Warriors

Following the events in Hira'a, Azula freed several of her acquaintances and subsequently organized them as a strike team impersonating the Kemurikage.

At some point during her exile, Azula came to the conclusion that her destiny was to manipulate Zuko into a Fire Lord who ruled by fear. She also reevaluated her relationship with her family, discarding any remaining loyalty to Ozai and accepting Kiyi as a blood relation. At this point, her hallucinations had stopped. Recalling how Mai talked about Kemurikage in her sleep during a sleepover from when they were children inspired Azula to masquerade in the image of the mythical spirits to enact her plans.[37] Azula subsequently left Forgetful Valley and helped her friends escape from a facility for the mentally ill, which also institutionalized many daughters of traditionalist Fire Nation families who were considered too rebellious by their parents.[32][18] She made promises to her new acolytes, including Zirin,[37] Ningka,[38] and Chiyou, telling them that they would do work to help the Fire Nation's downtrodden.[18] In her Kemurikage guise, Azula visited Ukano, now the leader of the New Ozai Society, and threatened him with harm if he did not depose Zuko immediately. When Ukano failed at this, Azula confronted him with making good on her promise. A terrified Ukano pleaded for a month to depose Zuko. At some point, Azula revealed her identity to Ukano, who emptied his bank account to construct a prison in the Royal Family Graveyard. In the next month, Azula and her followers began abducting children from the capital, including Tom-Tom.[36][39] Unknown to Ukano, Azula was using him the entire time, having no desire to see Ozai restored to power.[37]

Azula tells Ukano to organize a riot

Azula manipulated Ukano into doing her bidding while musing how she actually wanted to keep Zuko in power.

Some time later, Azula abducted Kiyi but was discovered by Zuko, Aang, Ty Lee, and Suki. In the ensuing fight, Azula revealed herself by shooting lightning. Zuko redirected it at her, only for Azula to redirect her lightning back at him. Azula and her cohort managed to successfully get away with Kiyi through a secret passage. After locking up her half-sister with the other children, Zirin was starting to get very impatient with Azula about keeping the children for long. However, Azula calmly asked her and the other friends to be patient, as she had a plan. Azula and Ukano discussed how keeping the children is going nowhere, and Ukano revealed that he is upset that Tom-Tom is kept as a prisoner. Azula ordered Ukano to gather his Safe Nation Society to start rioting in the streets; although Ukano did not understand how this will help Ozai become Fire Lord, Azula softly said that her father was never the plan.

Later, after the riot, Ukano said that their plan still was not making any progress and pointed out that he did everything she asked and begged for her to release the children. Azula went back on her promise, reasoning that if they are free, they will eventually tell their parents and Zuko where they had kept them, and thus she kept the key to their cell.

Later on, Azula and her friends confronted her brother, Aang, her former friends, and Kei Lo. As they battled each other, Mai's knives cut into Azula's hood. Azula mocked her about her knife-throwing skills and attacked her former friend once more. Azula explained how she heard about the Kemurikage when they were at a sleepover at Mai's, having heard her mumble about the dark spirits in her dreams. While resuming her attack, she thanked Mai for giving her the inspiration for their masquerade. When Kei Lo suddenly bumped into Azula from behind, she quickly grabbed him and threatened Kei Lo, and mocked Mai about her relationships. Zuko was next to intervene, firmly asking Azula to release Kei Lo, to which Azula mocked what she believed to be a depressing attempt of Zuko to win back Mai.

Zuko confronts Azula

At the crypt of the first Fire Lord's advisor, Azula revealed that she no longer intended to depose Zuko but instead become a power behind the throne.

After exchanging a fire blast with her brother, Azula ran off into a tomb shaped like a Lion Turtle. When Zuko followed her inside, Azula explained that they were in the tomb of the first Fire Lord's most trusted adviser. As Zuko pointed out that she seemed more stable, Azula suddenly attacked him. The brief Agni Kai ended with Azula pinning Zuko to the ground and raising a fire-dagger over his face, claiming this was how it had always been between them. Zuko defiantly replied that even if Azula killed him, she would never become Fire Lord and that she should accept that fact. To his surprise, Azula released him and said that she had not only accepted it but embraced it. She revealed that the voices in her head had stopped once she realized her own true destiny: it was not to become Fire Lord herself but to shape Zuko into a more ruthless leader who ruled through strength and fear. Although Zuko points out that she has lost now that all the kidnapped children were rescued, Azula countered that she had won, claiming that, in the last twenty-four hours, she had shown exactly how ruthless and authoritarian he could be. Before she could be apprehended, she vanished in smoke while commanding Zuko to accept what she made of him.

As Zuko addressed his subjects, Azula and her comrades, all still masquerading as the Kemurikage, watched his speech from a nearby rooftop. Hearing Zuko ask for his citizens' understanding and patience as he searched for a way to be a better leader, Azula smiled and sneered "How touching" to herself. Putting her mask and hood back on, she and her cohorts disappeared once more.[37]

Abandoned by the Fire Warriors[]

Azula continued to lead the Fire Warriors, though they were weakened after the Kemurikage plot. Some had been captured by Fire Nation forces, while others chose to leave the order. The group began to splinter, with some members beginning to act on their own, with Azula neither supporting or constraining them in their plans.[40]

Eventually, Azula orchestrated the destruction of a full grain distribution center, hoping to undermine Zuko's reign by sabotaging the Fire Nation's food supply. However, Ty Lee had caught onto the Fire Warrior plan. The Kyoshi Warrior had replaced the granary's stores with empty crates, and had ordered many guards to hide during the initial Fire Warrior attack. Azula was able to come to the aid of the other Fire Warriors, holding off Ty Lee and the Domestic Forces for long enough that her entire party could escape into the forest. In spite of the Fire Warriors' flight, the Ty Lee and her allies had already used their advantageous position to capture and arrest Chiyou.

Zirin reprimands Azula

After Azula refused to rescue Chiyou, she faced Zirin's angry criticism.

As the Fire Warriors made camp in the woods, Zirin proposed a plan to go back and rescue Chiyou. However, Azula dismissively stated that her acolyte would have to accept that there were sometimes casualties of war. Zirin voiced her frustration with Azula's plans, objecting to the Fire Warriors putting themselves in danger for pathetic raids on warehouses. Zirin stated that the Fire Warriors wanted to move on from skulking in the dark like criminals, and that they needed to move on from undermining Zuko. Azula reminded her followers that she was the one who had given them a new purpose, and stated that it was up to her to decide what path the Fire Warriors would take. She demanded they continue their reign of terror against Zuko, going to sleep once she was satisfied that they would continue to cause chaos on the following day.

When Azula woke up, she found the campsite abandoned. Enraged, she burned a Fire Warrior mask with her bending, and vowed to find the "traitors" and make them pay. She stumbled in the forest just as heavy rain poured down, and she trudged on to find what appeared to be a Fire Sage temple. As she entered the spiritual site, Azula was met by a solitary monk cooking a meal. The woman explained to Azula that it was a place for the weary, and that those who had need of the temple had no problem finding it. The monk also noticed that Azula appeared to have been struggling with great troubles, and that she was in need of help. She invited Azula to stay the night, explaining that the princess would have good dreams, as the temple was place of rest. Azula dismissed the monk's words as nonsense, and claimed that she had no troubles at all: rather, only Zirin and the others would be in trouble when she caught up to them. She also expressed her disdain for being expected to sleep on the floor "like a stray dog", and branded the monk selfish for not offering for a traveler to stay in the best room. Once the monk agreed to give up her own space, Azula drifted off to sleep, still promising to make the Fire Warriors pay.

Azula receives spirit vision

Under the temple spirit's influence, Azula received a vision of her childhood.

Azula dreamed that she was back on Lo and Li's cottage on Ember Island, and found herself soon greeted by her family on the beach. Iroh, Zuko, and Ursa hailed her as a hero who ended the Hundred Year War before being crowned Fire Lord, while Ruon-Jian complimented her for her good looks. Just as Ursa went to embrace her daughter and tell her how proud she was, her family faded away, and she experienced Mai and Ty Lee mocking her for thinking any of the dream could be real. Azula shouted at them to shut up, just as the dream came to an end and she woke up. The monk was shocked that the dreams did not give her peace, and told her that it was urgent for her to leave as once. Azula sneered at the woman's lack of hospitality as she left the temple, but only made it so far before the temple appeared again before her. She entered the building again, intimidating the the despairing monk. Azula declared that the temple must be a trap set by Zuko or Aang, but soon found a burned wooden turtle duck before her, reliving the experience of her parents finding her with the toy as a young firebending prodigy. However, the vision diverged from her memory when her mother expressed pride instead of fear.

Azula debates a spirit vision of Ty Lee

Unsure whether her former friend was really present, Azula debated a spirit vision of Ty Lee.

The monk said that she was trying to give Azula what she most wanted, asking the princess if her greatest desire was not to be loved and embraced by her family. Azula caught on to the fact that the woman was no monk, and started to deduce that she was in fact a shapeshifting spirit. She tried to attack the woman with firebending, but the supposed monk clung onto a beam above, with her form becoming less human. Azula stated that she needed nothing from her family, as all except Ozai were traitors, and that her father was now a pathetic shadow of himself after losing his bending. She stated that she was the only one left with a claim to the Fire Nation throne, and demanded what was owed to her. A noise started to come from the door to the temple, and Azula was met by Ty Lee, who claimed she had tracked the princess and her squad through the forest. As she tried to ignore the spirit, Azula started mocking her former friend for her Kyoshi Warrior appearance, and started attacking her with firebending. She voiced her anger at Mai betraying her for Zuko, and then proceeded to slam Ty Lee against the temple's wall, completely irritated with her.

As Azula restrained an unconscious Ty Lee, the spirit asked if Azula would kill her former friend. Azula asked the woman why she cared, but it was Ursa who responded, saying that she wanted to know as she cared about her own daughter. Azula denied that Ursa could be real, but her mother responded by claiming that everything in the temple was real enough in the moment. Azula told the vision of Ursa about how she had been hurt by her mother choosing Zuko over herself by poisoning Azulon and leaving. Azula explained that, without Ursa to protect her from Ozai, she became her father's deadly firebending weapon, and had no choice in the matter. She voiced her rage at Ursa for not letting Ozai kill Zuko so that she could have stayed and continued to have protected her daughter. She screamed that her betrayal by her family, her friends, and her acolytes was all Ursa's fault.

Temple spirit watches Ursa and Azula

Under the temple spirit's watch, Azula was able to share her feelings with a vision of Ursa.

The vision of Ursa then asked if what Azula really wanted was for everyone who broke her trust to come forward and ask for her forgiveness, acknowledging that they had hurt her and promising to never do it again. Azula tentatively said yes, only for "Ty Lee" to turn into Mai, who mocked Azula for thinking she could be the victim. Azula was taken aback that her former friends were also spirit trickery, and resolved to leave the temple to good, but found that she could not escape without entering the room once again. The vision of Mai theorized that people always betrayed Azula as she was a a terrible person who got what she deserved. Just as Azula went to confront "Mai", she saw that she had the face of Ty Lee once more, who disparaged Azula for believing they were really friends after the princess had intimidated her life. Azula told "Ty Lee" that she was less than nothing as a Kyoshi Warrior compared to being in royal circles, but "Ursa" appeared once again, displeased. As Azula tried to shut down the "spirit trickery", visions of Mai and Zuko explained how Azula told everyone that she believed nobody could survive without her, but in fact, the princess was surrounding herself with people to manipulate and harm as she could not stand the idea of facing the world alone, having to deal with all the horrible things she had done.

Azula rejects the temple spirit

Azula angrily rejected the temple spirit's viewpoint, declaring that she owed nothing and was the rightful Fire Lord.

The vision of Zuko became increasingly inhuman, telling Azula she had nobody to blame but herself, and demanding to know if she would ask for forgiveness. As she shot lightning at the vision of Zuko, with a worried "Ursa" looking on, Azula boldly declared that she saw through the spirit's lies, and that she was finished with her. However, just as she started to firebend, she saw that the spirit had transformed into an enormous insectoid form, with the visions of her family withering away. The spirit revealed that its manifestations had not lied: it was a place of rest, but more specifically, it was a crossroads for those who had followed a wrong path, offering a second chance to choose for the better. The spirit told Azula that she had been offered redemption and forgiveness, but that the princess had rejected it. The spirit then said that its present form was now a mirror of Azula's inner self, shaped by Azula's cruelty and desire for vengeance. Azula stated that redemption and apology was for the weak, and that she owed nothing, beginning to generate lightning as she declared that she was the rightful Fire Lord, and that she did not take kindly to meddling spirits. Just as she fired a blast of lightning, the temple disappeared around her, and she found herself back in a forest clearing, declaring that she knew that none of it had been real. She walked back to find the other Fire Warriors by the camp, with Zirin having saved Chiyou and returned them to the others. Azula frowned, and after a moment's hesitation declared the warriors unworthy of her leadership. Choosing not to enact her planned revenge, she vowed to find new followers, as well as a new place to rule.[18]


A Fire Nation drink was named "Azula's Lightning" in her honor.[41]


"Almost perfect."
"One hair out of place."
"Almost isn't good enough!
Lo and Li talking to Azula about her training.[20]

Born a princess and hailed as a prodigy, Azula grew up to be narcissistic and confident. She relentlessly drilled herself toward perfection and settled for nothing less from herself or those who served her.[20] She believed that power and domination were the defining traits of strength, and as such, would only help others if she thought there was some personal gain at stake. She had absolute confidence in her "divine right to rule", with which she believed she was born.[9] She harbored neither pity nor mercy for those she marked as treasonous or inferior. As one who wanted nothing less than absolute control, she likewise had remarkable control of herself, seemingly able to react to any situation at a moment's notice without losing her composure.

Azula hanging from a cliff

Even in life-threatening situations, Azula remained confident, focused, and deadly.

Azula was marked by a distinct lack of empathy. Even as a child, she reacted with hostility when outdone, a trait clearly displayed when she shoved Ty Lee to the ground after the girl bested her at gymnastics.[17] This behavior would characterize her relationship with her friends for many years. Rather than care or love, her relationships with her friends were often based in manipulation, such as when she intimidated Ty Lee into leaving the circus and joining her cause.[15]

She was prone to asserting herself and her authority in a grandiose way, such as when she humiliated Long Feng in front of his former henchmen[9] or when she threatened the captain of her ship.[20] She also showed a need for admiration, mostly from her father, whom she emulated to a great degree, and from everyone else around her, though to a lesser extent. She reacted with despair and rage when she learned her father was going to the Earth Kingdom without her.[12] However, Azula showed a level of fear of him, as in the novelization, Azula notes that not even she could take him in a fight.

Azula was known to have a cruel personality, showing little to no concern for others besides her father. From a very young age, Azula demonstrated sadistic aggression and a near-total lack of remorse to friends, servants, family, and animals. Her own mother, Ursa, once remarked, "What is wrong with that child?" after observing her casual cruelties. Azula's first reaction to hearing of Iroh's son's death was to wonder whether this now made her father the heir to the throne. She later dismissed her uncle as a quitter and a loser when learning he had ended his six hundred day Siege of Ba Sing Se to grieve for Lu Ten.[17] She eagerly watched Azulon proclaim Ozai's punishment for trying to claim the throne and grinned maliciously when Zuko was burned and scarred by their father. She also did not seem to care when her mother disappeared or when her grandfather died.[19] Her cruelty was apparently infamous and extreme; when Iroh accidentally ingested the poisonous white jade flower, both he and Zuko quickly decided that they would rather seek help from the Earth Kingdom at the risk of facing certain death than the possibility of being handed over to Azula by the Fire Nation.[42]

Azula relishes victory

Even in simple games such as kuai ball, Azula thought about nothing less than absolute victory.

Azula's characteristic blue flames symbolized the power she possessed and constantly sought to increase. Her lack of compassion also accounted for her ability to create and direct lightning, the "cold-blooded fire".[20] According to Iroh, the skill required complete control of all emotion, which would not prove difficult for Azula with her one-track mentality.[43] Because of these skills, she was also an excellent tactician, regularly displaying cunning, perception, and resourcefulness that allowed her to take advantage of almost any situation. She possessed good self-control, facing down Long Feng and deceiving him when held captive,[9] and could lie with a straight face and no physical reactions.[10]

Ironically, for all her refinement and self-confidence, Azula did retain some insecurity. As a result of her sequestered life of royalty, she had developed a considerable amount of social ineptitude, particularly in her uncertainty of how to act around boys, and she frequently intimidated them during conversations. Even when attempting to flirt with Chan, her domineering and megalomaniacal personality manifested in a way that disconcerted him and prompted his recession. Her overly competitive nature surfaced during a kuai ball game, and she later admitted her jealousy over how much attention Ty Lee received from others.[11]

Though she seemingly looked down on Zuko all throughout their entire relationship, thinking of him as a weak and whiny boy who never stood up for himself or to her especially, there were moments when her opinion of him seemed to rise briefly. During her coup at the climax of Ba Sing Se's fall, she was truly pleased by Zuko's choice to aid her, musing that Zuko had always meant to be a Prince of the Fire Nation fighting by her side. Almost immediately after, however, his hesitation to fight Katara caused her disdain to surface, thinking of him as poor and weak for letting himself be goaded so easily. Nevertheless, when Zuko showed doubts about his actions in helping take Ba Sing Se but betraying Iroh, she truly did feel that he had accomplished his ultimate achievement, while at the same time feeling pity for the fact that he could not understand the significance of what his actions entailed.[44]

Azula was never happy with what she had, always striving for more. After conquering Ba Sing Se, she passed it on to a puppet ruler to be used by the Fire Nation. When she was doubtful that she had really managed to kill the Avatar, she let her brother take the credit for the perceived kill, convinced he knew a way that Aang could survive that she did not. She was always trying to get more to try and fill what she lacked, but it was never enough. In a sense, she was a person without a finish line.

Later, Azula began to show signs of a fragile mentality. For all of her self-assurance, she was momentarily driven into a rage when Mai betrayed her by helping Zuko to escape and admitted to loving him more than she feared Azula. As Azula moved to strike her down, she was, in turn, temporarily paralyzed by Ty Lee. After her friends were apprehended, the enraged princess ordered both of them to be locked away and "left to rot".[10] While it was apparent that Azula held herself in high regard above her friends, their sudden betrayal drove her to the edge for an instant, hinting at just how unstable she would later prove to be.[1] This betrayal affected her so much that she lost her normally cool demeanor, as evident when she later attacked the Western Air Temple. She was erratic and maniacal, clearly trying to vent her feelings by trying to kill her brother.

While on Ember Island, Azula revealed her subtle resentment toward being seen as a "monster", particularly by her mother. Though she admittedly agreed with the viewpoint, the princess stated that it was emotionally painful nonetheless. Her time on Ember Island was also one of the few times she showed any sign of compassion for Zuko, as she followed him and urged him to return to the group when he was alone and in pain.[11]

Azula reminisces

For a fleeting moment, Azula opened up and revealed pain and resentment about the relationship with her mother, despite her distant personality.

After being betrayed by Mai and Ty Lee, Azula's mentality continued to crumble in the final weeks of the war. When she attacked Zuko and the gang at the Western Air Temple, Azula was evidently losing her sanity, as her attacks became far more vicious, and she was seemingly obsessed with killing Zuko.[30]

The tipping point came during her father's coronation as the Phoenix King, where Azula was told she would not assist in the attack on the Earth Kingdom. Azula seemed distraught at this and took this decision as an offense to her and her honor.[12] For her, Ozai always represented absolute power and perfection, qualities which she desired to acquire. His refusal to bring her along on a mission where the two of them would serve essentially as equals made her realize that her lust for power not only frightened her enemies but perhaps her father as well. Ozai responded by appointing Azula as the new Fire Lord to govern over the Fire Nation in his absence, temporarily satisfying her desire for power. However, she was unable to cope with the fact that the only human being who may have ever loved her was not only ashamed of her but still possessed power over her. Her father was the last person Azula thought she could trust, and Ozai's refusal to include her in his final conquest only served to cause Azula more inner pain. Knowing that her father would neither submit to her will nor love her, Azula's grip on reality began to steadily plummet.

Angry Azula yells

Azula's flawless demeanor was shattered by the unanticipated betrayal of Mai.

On the day of her coronation, Azula became excessively paranoid and gave into her fear of betrayal and being killed. She accused her servant of purposely leaving a pit in her cherry so that she would choke and got angry at the Dai Li when they arrived five minutes after they had been summoned, suggesting that their laxness could have allowed an assassin to sneak in, kill her, and "be on his merry way". Musing over the possibility that the Dai Li could betray and kill her, Mai and Ty Lee's treason still fresh in memory, she banished them.[1]

It also appeared that she was not sleeping well, as she had dark circles under her eyes. Upon Lo and Li's arrival to counsel her, Azula's fear of disappointing her father was clear. She became so enraged when her old mentors proposed to postpone her coronation that she momentarily forgot they were not firebenders and ordered them to fight an Agni Kai with each other. Ultimately, Azula addressed Li as Lo and banished her, leaving the sisters confused as to which of them had to leave.[1]

Having sent off her staff, she was left alone to style her own hair for the coronation. Frustrated by her inability to tie up her hair bun, she "fixed" the situation by cutting off a part of her hair, leaving it a tattered mess. Panting in frustration, she saw her mother in her mirror in an apparent hallucination. Ursa complimented her, saying that she always had such beautiful hair, though Azula dismissed the compliment and asked her mother why she was there. When Ursa told her that she would not miss her daughter's coronation, Azula told her not to pretend to act proud, stating that she knew her mother thought she was a monster. The hallucination of her mother refuted that, saying she did not think that, that Azula was just confused, and that she loved her. Azula could not cope with the declaration of love and threw her brush at the mirror, shattering it, before breaking down crying.[1]

This incident exposed a complex facet to Azula's persona. Although outwardly maintaining a cold and dismissive opinion of her mother, Ursa's banishment ultimately had a devastating impact upon Azula's fragile psyche.[11] As Azula's sanity began slipping away from her, this inability to reconcile her perceived belief that Ursa considered her a monster with the truer (though idealized but still true) maternal feelings of love and support that Ursa demonstrated in the hallucination created an inescapable conflict in Azula's mind that furthered her eventual mental collapse.[1] Another thread of this argument explored the possibility that although she was fully capable of acting cruelly without showing any outright regret, deep down, a part of her could tell what she did was wrong and felt regret over it, but it was just her indomitable will and emotional control that prevented her from showing it for many years. Nevertheless, despite years of such dark deeds, what remained of her conscience, in the form of her mother Ursa (whose love and guidance she secretly longed for but falsely believed she could never have), could still manifest at this point and reared itself stronger than before. Ursa's gentle, motherly concerns over Azula's use of fear and cruelty as her only means of maintaining relationships with friends and family alike induced a violent mental breakdown prior to her coronation; after breaking the mirror, Azula collapsed and sobbed deeply before regaining any semblance of control.[1]

Azula's vision

Visibly unstable, Azula saw a hallucination of her mother as her sanity began to unravel.

Azula showed up at her coronation impatient and with her hair still a mess, though the event was interrupted when Katara and Zuko arrived to challenge her. She did not hesitate to challenge her brother to an Agni Kai and darkly smiled when it happened that outright indicated she was more obsessed with killing Zuko personally than tactically dealing with both Zuko and Katara when she challenged him to a one-on-one fight, considering the fact she could just have what remained of the Fire Nation army attack them. Her unstable condition shone through visibly, as Zuko could easily pick up on it, and this was shown further as her apparent madness weakened her fighting abilities for Zuko to decisively overpower her eventually.[1] She also was instantly goaded by Zuko into using lightning despite knowing he could redirect it and only changed her mind in the last moment to avoid what would certainly have been defeat by targeting Katara, leaving Zuko incapacitated, at which point Azula showed an increasing level of mockery toward the duo. Her arrogance and mental state eventually allowed Katara, despite clearly being far less powerful than Azula due to Sozin's Comet, to defeat and chain her to the ground. The moment Azula saw Zuko rose, the Fire Nation princess screamed in anger and outrage while breathing fire uncontrollably and furiously struggling to break herself free, falling into complete insanity, sobbing loudly. She dragged herself along the ground helplessly, the full extent of her madness causing both Zuko and Katara to watch with clear sadness despite all she had put them through.[13] This breakdown was the culmination of her failed relationship with her mother and her jealousy toward Zuko for receiving more of their mother's affection,[11] the betrayal she suffered at the hands of Mai and Ty Lee,[29] her defeat by Zuko and Katara and finally her failure to be crowned Fire Lord. This madness earned her Zuko's pity, and Azula was spared from prison and instead committed to a mental health facility on a nearby island in the Fire Nation for potential better treatment.

Azula about to jump

Due to her unstable mental health, Azula lost her sense of reality, causing her to act recklessly.

A year later, a clearly mentally unstable Azula accepted the task of coaxing Ursa's whereabouts out of Ozai from Zuko, stating that not one day had gone by where she had not wondered what became of their mother.[33] In return, she requested permission to join her brother on his quest and to be allowed to travel unbound and with dignity. The Fire Lord accepted, and Azula was released. While she had regained much of her previous demeanor, as she haughtily commanded people to cater to her needs and forcefully reacted to irritating situations, though from time to time, she still suffered from psychotic episodes, thinking that everyone around her was conspiring with her mother in order to bring her down. However, she intended to find and kill Ursa in order to stop her from interfering with her plans to take the throne from Zuko.[34] In the end, however, she abandoned both of these goals once Zuko revealed that he would care for her unconditionally no matter what. Leaving Ursa alive and giving Zuko back the letter that could potentially oust him from the throne, Azula ran off from the remainder of the group.[35]

Azula subsequently experienced a phase which she later described as finding her "destiny". Discarding many of her old desires, including the quest for total power, she overcame several of her insecurities. Although still somewhat unhinged and obsessed with ruling by instilling fear, Azula realized that she could rule through Zuko and thereby share the burden of being Fire Lord; this resulted in her feeling freer than ever before. In addition, she allowed herself to open up more to others than ever before, describing her new comrades as "sisters" and openly telling Zuko of her schemes. By extension, her opinion of Zuko had improved greatly: Although still cruel and scathing, she insisted that he had the abilities to be "strong" like herself. Observing Zuko's public apology to the citizenry, Azula remained smug, confident that he would come around to her way of thinking in time.[37]

Azula subsequently continued to lead her Fire Warriors through intimidation and force of personality, as she once had with Mai and Ty Lee. When the capture of one of their own inspired the others to abandon her and rescue their comrade instead, Azula once more felt furious at the betrayal and resolved to hunt the Fire Warriors down with single-minded determination. When the need for food and shelter forced her to take up residence at what appeared to be a Fire Sage Temple, Azula was initially as haugthy and entitled as ever, even demanding that the temple's caretaker give up her own bed for her. When the Temple turned out to be inhabited by a powerful spirit that attempted to force an ephiphany on her, Azula's inner conflict came to the surface, making it difficult for the spirit to get a proper grasp of what she truly desired. When confronted by the visions of her various relatives and former friends, Azula expressed several conflicting opinions and philosophies; She resented Ozai for turning her into who she was today yet continued to define her perceived right to rule through him, she perceived apologies and redemption to be for the weak yet desired for her loved ones to ask for her forgiveness, and despite perceiving everyone else to be at fault for "betraying" her, she visibly freaked out whenever accused of the reverse. The spirit, in the form of Zuko, outright told Azula that the reason she surrounded herself with people to manipulate and hurt was because, if she was left all by herself, she would have no choice but to reflect on her own misdeeds. Visibly shocked by this lecture, Azula panicked and attacked the apparation instead, and when the spirit in its' true form called her out on how she was ruled by her desire for revenge and cruelty, she doubled down on her principles and attacked it again. Even so, when she tracked down the "treasonous" Fire Warriors shortly thereafter and saw them reunited and happy, Azula chose not to fulfill her intended revenge and merely dismissed them as undeserving of her leadership.[18]



Prodigy Azula

Nine-year-old Azula flaunted her prodigious firebending skills before her grandfather.

Azula was one of the most skilled and powerful firebenders of her time,[1][13] recognized as a prodigy by both Ozai[17] and Zuko.[5] The most notable feature of Azula's bending was her ability to create blue flames, which are much more intense than the red, orange, and yellow flames normally used by firebenders, though she was only known to bend normal colored fire during her childhood.[17] Azula also used her flames in inventive ways, such as creating jets of flames,[29][30] whirling disks,[15] and blades of fire. She often firebent using only two fingers, rather than with a closed fist or open hand as was commonly used by other firebenders.[7] Also notable was her ability to produce a greater amount of flames than most firebenders without tiring, and she was able to maintain successive assaults for long durations of time.[15]

Azula demonstrated the ability to condense her flames by using two fingers, enabling her fire to cut clean through various objects. When formed into fireballs, the flames had a powerful concussive effect, able to firmly pulverize stone objects. She was also able to generate powerful shields of swirling flames that could withstand the full force of four simultaneous elemental attacks (and a boomerang).[21] She was even able to charge up her fire before releasing it, something she used during her fight with Aang.[22] She could easily defeat Zuko during the Confrontation at Tu Zin and keep Aang on the defensive, eventually overwhelming the Avatar, even fighting off the entire Team Avatar successfully before running when Toph arrived. Azula was even able to defeat Aang when he had mastered Air, Water, and Earthbending twice.[9] Azula was also capable of fighting off and defeating multiple Kyoshi Warriors, using both firebending and hand-to-hand techniques.[23]

Blue fire shield

Azula was well known for her trademark blue firebending.

The depth of Azula's potential was demonstrated in her use of advanced techniques, such as creating large blasts of flame, evaporating a wave of water that Katara threw at her, using her flames to propel herself forward like a jet, and minutes later producing and guiding lightning.[9] While she used her firebending less after returning home, she did demonstrate her abilities a few times, such as when she used her firebending to give extra propulsion to a kuai ball during a game, creating an explosion.[11] She also used her firebending to break free of her shackles and briefly attacked Sokka, Aang, and Toph.[10] Azula engaged in a pitched battle with Zuko and Sokka on the gondola, where despite Zuko's vast improvement in firebending and Sokka's adept swordsmanship skills, she still managed to fight them both on reasonably even footing, countering all of Zuko's fire blasts and returning with her own and forcing her brother to dodge a charged blast from her.[29] Her later duel with the improved Zuko ended in a standstill, with Azula deflecting all of Zuko's large and powerful fire blasts and returning with her own, before unleashing a devastating blue-fire enhanced fist attack that rivaled Zuko's own and caused a large explosion that separated them both. In addition to creating her usual powerful fire balls, she was able to shoot her flames behind her in order to propel herself through the air onto the gondola.[29]

She was proficient in the highly difficult technique of generating lightning, a sub-skill of firebending,[20] displaying a fine control of this skill. She could perform minute flickers of lightning, which she used to both temporarily blind Zuko or disarm Sokka of his boomerang, as well as produce large, compressed balls of lightning, as exemplified when she created such a ball to send away a swarm of moth wasps, who were attracted by the intense light.[34] After learning of the ability to also redirect lightning, she applied herself to the technique and came to master it as well. With this ability, she proved to be more than a match for Zuko in their next battle.[37]

Azula fights Zuko

Azula's firebending became more dangerous under the influence of Sozin's Comet.

As Azula gradually lost her sanity prior to the arrival of Sozin's Comet, her firebending became unfocused and wild, which, combined with the Comet's empowering effects, made her all the more dangerous. However, it also resulted in her becoming exhausted more easily than usual. Despite her state of mind, she retained considerably great levels of firebending power and prowess, as shown by how she was initially able to rival Zuko's equally enhanced sheets of flame with her own amplified blue flames, before she became exhausted and had to propel herself using fire jets to continue trading blows with Zuko, ultimately being overpowered by her brother, forcing her to resort to attacking Katara with lightning to incapacitate him, and afterward was able to dominate Katara, fiercely firing wide strikes of lightning and enormous blue flame blasts as well as propelling herself quickly through the air to keep chase. However, her mental instability ultimately proved to have hindered her fighting prowess enough for Azula to finally be defeated by Katara despite at the time being far more powerful than her. She displayed the ability to breathe fire as she struggled with her chains and lost all sanity.[1][13]


Tracking Appa

Azula realized right away that Aang wanted to trick her, telling Mai and Ty Lee to follow Appa's real trail while she fought the Avatar.

Azula was an extremely intelligent and cunning strategist. She was also a highly studious girl. Since childhood, she was well-versed in her nation's military history as she successfully recounted Fire Lord Sozin's strategy in an old battle.[17] She planned a trap for Iroh and Zuko, which was only accidentally foiled by the captain of her ship.[20] She immediately discerned the Avatar's plan to mislead her with a false trail.[21] She also displayed incredible fighting prowess in learning the fighting styles of her foes, such as the sweeping wind kick ability displayed by Aang against her during the battle of the drill. She imitated it in the form of a sweeping fire kick during her battle with the Kyoshi warriors tending to Appa, utilizing that move to end her battle with Suki. With the Kyoshi warriors finally captured, Azula, Ty Lee, and Mai used their robes, stealing their identities to freely enter Ba Sing Se and the Earth King's palace, beginning her coup against the Earth King. This coup was single-handedly orchestrated by her, winning Ba Sing Se for the Fire Nation.[8][9] During the Day of Black Sun, she laid a trap for Aang and his friends using Dai Li agents in the Fire Lord's throne room, ensuring that the eclipse time would be used up.[10] She also displayed the ability to be so extremely capable of lying effectively that even Toph could not sense it regardless of how blatant the lie was, showing that Azula did not feel remorse for lying or many of her other actions.[10] She also displayed an ability to realize whether or not someone was telling the truth, stating simply that she was a "people person".[29]

Even under the effects of her mental illness, her wit and ability to strategize were not completely lost, as despite being excessively provoked by Zuko's taunts of fearing his lightning redirection, she still could come up with a strategy to overpower her brother by aiming the lightning at Katara instead, which succeeded in incapacitating Zuko. A year later, she managed to use the after effects of chi-blocking, which caused her body joints to become extremely flexible, to free herself from her restraints and from Zuko. On another occasion, she was able to save Team Avatar from a swarm of moth wasps by using a lightning ball to attract them due to the intense light.

Azula's intelligence made her very skillful in manipulating people. She used this skill on many subjects, including her brother Zuko,[9] her mother Ursa,[17] Long Feng,[8][9] the Dai Li,[8][9] Sokka,[10] and even her father to an extent.

Other skills[]

Azula evades Team Avatar

Azula made up for her handicap with dexterity and agility to evade Aang and Toph.

Azula's high-level skill in unarmed combat was displayed several times during the series. She easily avoided Zuko's frenzied knife attacks without the use of firebending, guiding his hands off course.[20] Later, she proceeded to disarm Suki and knocked her off her feet without bending.[23] She also had some skill with hidden weaponry, as she intended on using a shuriken knife during the eclipse.[10] Her acrobatics and use of a hidden shuriken knife were apparently skills she picked up from Ty Lee and Mai, respectively.[45] Azula was very agile as she was able to run up walls and perform mid-air twirls. She dodged Aang and Toph's bending attacks with little to no effort using high jumps like Ty Lee, ultimately making Aang admit she was too fast to hit.[10] Her physical strength was also adept as she could perform a planche, supporting her body in a horizontal position just by using her arms, with little effort.[29][30]


Main article: Azula's relationships


Main article: Fire Nation Royal Family

Ta Min
Lu Ten


Avatar: The Last Airbender

Book One: Water (水)

Book Two: Earth (土)

Book Three: Fire (火)

Avatar comics

Book Two: Earth (土)
Book Three: Fire (火)

Graphic novels

Avatar books

Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game

Avatar games


Opening Azula firebending

Although she does not bend her signature blue fire, Azula is the firebender in the opening credits for Avatar: The Last Airbender.

  • Azula was the shadowed firebender in the original series' opening credits. Her bending, however, is orange instead of her trademark blue.
  • Despite being younger than her brother, Azula sometimes condescendingly referred to Zuko as "Little Zuzu".
  • Azula was the only known character to be able to create blue fire.
  • Azula was the first character to be seen generating lightning, as well as the only known woman able to do so.
    • She is also the first person revealed to be capable of generating lightning instantly without any prior charging movements.[34] Xu Ping An, however is the first known person in history implied to possess such an ability.
  • Azula is the only known woman able to redirect lightning, and one of a few known individuals who can both generate and redirect lightning, the others being her Uncle Iroh, Mako, and Lightning Bolt Zolt before the latter had his bending removed.
  • Azula is also only the second person to be able to lie to Toph without her being able to sense it, the first being Old Sweepy.
  • Forms of the word azul appear in several languages, including Spanish, Filipino, Galician, and Portuguese, all having the meaning of blue, which matches her trademark blue firebending.
  • Azula's voice actress, Grey DeLisle, also voiced Ming-Hua and Ta Min, the latter being Roku's wife and Azula's great-grandmother.
  • Azula displays symptoms similar to those of paranoid schizophrenia, a mental disorder characterized by delusions and hallucinations with an impending sense of doom and paranoia.
  • If Katara had not managed to revive Aang with spirit water, Azula would have been the first person to have broken the Avatar Cycle.[9]
  • Azula was one of the few characters to have theme music that played when she entered a scene.
Azula concept art

Concept art of Azula from Avatar: The Last Airbender—The Art of the Animated Series.

  • Although Azula was a firebending prodigy, her masters, Lo and Li, were not firebenders at all.
  • The only person to whom Azula was ever known to apologize was Ty Lee, after hurting her feelings by calling her a tease.[11]
  • Although she was a usurper and never officially crowned, Azula remains as one of two known Earth Queens in history and the only known ruler of the Earth Kingdom without such heritage.
    • She overthrew its governments by the age of 14, additionally making her the youngest known conqueror in history.
  • Azula was originally supposed to have an arranged marriage in Book Three, but the idea was scrapped.[47]
  • Azula and her great-grandmother, Ta Min, were the only named female firebenders seen in the first series, with the exception of female Avatars. Azula was also the only named female firebender to be shown using her element.
  • Azula's firebending contains elements from the chāquán system.[48]
  • Azula was originally going to wear armor with a heavy phoenix theme, but the idea was scrapped.[49]
  • Dark Horse editor Rachel Roberts has considered the possibility of Azula featuring in The Legend of Korra graphic novels, imagining that "she's kept tabs on her brother all these years, and scoffs over her morning paper whenever he's mentioned."[50]
  • Rangi's appearance is based on Azula's appearance, with some differences being that Rangi doesn't care much about having some hairs out of place.[51]
  • The Avatar Cookbook portrays Azula and Mai as being on speaking terms.[41] Though the interactions are not explicitly dated, the cookbook is generally set after the Hundred Year War. This suggests that Azula eventually reconciled with Mai to some extent after the events of Smoke and Shadow.
Preceded by
Heir to the Fire Lord
97 - Spring 100 AG
Succeeded by

Preceded by
Heir to the Fire Lord
Summer 100 AG
Succeeded by

Preceded by
52nd Earth King
Earth Queen[nb 1]
Late spring 100 AG
Succeeded by
Interregnum until the return of Earth King Kuei in summer 100 AG[nb 2]

Preceded by
Long Feng
Head of the Dai Li
100 AG
Succeeded by
Dai Li representative


  1. Avatar Extras for "The Crossroads of Destiny" on Nicktoons Network refers to Azula as "Earth Queen Azula", indicating that despite her foreign ancestry, Azula was recognized as the successor to the Earth Kingdom throne during an indeterminate period of time between her coup and the eventual restoration of Kuei, following the end of the war.
  2. After Azula left Ba Sing Se, the throne of the Earth King became vacant, while Joo Dee was appointed the de-jure ruler of Ba Sing Se as "Supreme Bureaucratic Administrator" and Fire Lord Ozai became the de-facto ruler of the Earth Kingdom. However, Earth King Kuei eventually returned to his rightful position in summer 100 AG, ending the interregnum.


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