The Fire Lord is the supreme leader of the Fire Nation, wielding absolute power within both government and state. Unrestricted by gender, the Fire Lord resides in the Royal Palace, located in the Fire Nation Capital, and is usually a powerful firebender. The title has been held by Izumi since 167 AG, after her father, Zuko, abdicated the throne.
Prior to the formation of the Fire Nation, the disaggregated Fire Islands were united by the first Fire Lord, who ushered in a prolonged era of peace under religious rule with himself as head of the Fire Sages. However, subsequent head sages sought more authority and reclaimed the title of Fire Lord, beginning the Fire Nation Royal Family's lineage. Afterward, the positions of Great Sage and High Sage were established to replace the Fire Lord's original role as head of the Fire Sages. Despite initial animosity between the Fire Sages and the Royal Family, the balance of power had reached a state of equilibrium by the time of Fire Lord Sozin, who subjugated the sages to the Fire Lord's rule.
During Fire Lord Azulon's rule, Prince Iroh was first in line to the throne. After Iroh's only son, Lu Ten, was killed during the Siege of Ba Sing Se, Iroh abandoned the mission and returned home. Prince Ozai, the second born son, called a meeting with Azulon during which he attempted to persuade his father to name him as heir and strip Iroh of his birthright. According to Azula, Azulon became furious at this suggestion and told Ozai that he would have to "know the pain of losing a first-born son", as Iroh did, by killing his own son, Zuko. However, due to Ursa's interference, Ozai instead killed his father with a poison concocted by her and was subsequently crowned Fire Lord, which was said to be Azulon's dying wish.
As Fire Lord, Ozai carried on the established custom, upholding the Fire Lord's absolute rule over the nation and his ability to dictate military decisions. Near the Hundred Year War's conclusion, however, Fire Lord Ozai broke with this tradition by establishing a personal position known as the Phoenix King, crowning himself the supreme ruler of the world. Having passed over his first born son, Prince Zuko, he granted the position of Fire Lord to his daughter, Princess Azula, entrusting her to lead the Fire Nation in his absence. However, upon the arrival of Sozin's Comet, Zuko and Katara interrupted Azula's coronation, and Zuko declared his intention to be crowned Fire Lord, provoking Azula to challenge him to an Agni Kai for the throne that resulted in his victory.
After Phoenix King Ozai's defeat at the hands of Avatar Aang, and Zuko and Katara's victory over Azula, Zuko was crowned the new Fire Lord, becoming the youngest known individual to achieve this status. He vowed to begin an era of peace and love, in which he strove to restore the Fire Nation's honor and to rebuild the war-torn world. In an effort to accomplish his goals, he formed the Harmony Restoration Movement along with the Avatar and Earth King Kuei in order to return the Fire Nation colonials in the Earth Kingdom back to the Fire Nation. Afterward, with the assistance of Avatar Aang, Fire Lord Zuko also founded Republic City. He remained the leader of the Fire Nation until 167 AG, when he abdicated in favor of his daughter, Izumi, making her the first known female Fire Lord.
Position and powers
The Fire Lord wields absolute power over the Fire Nation's policies, and their orders are to be carried out immediately and without question. The Fire Lord is a central player in the workings of government and is intimately involved in affairs of state. In order to keep this great influence over politics, Fire Lords have often resorted to ruling through intimidation, although there were exceptions such as Zuko.
During the Hundred Year War, the Fire Lords took an active part in the military conquests of their nation, either by direct service or involvement in strategic planning. Fire Lords Sozin and Azulon were considered to be particularly effective tacticians.
The position of Fire Lord is hereditary, traditionally passed from parent to eldest child when the reigning Fire Lord dies or steps down. In order to prevent wars of succession between rival siblings, many Fire Lords designated their first born as Crown Prince or Princess while living, thus confirming their choice of successor. However, despite this clear designation, some heirs have not become Fire Lord due to intrigues within the royal house; Crown Prince Iroh was passed over after his younger brother, Ozai, poisoned Fire Lord Azulon, and Crown Prince Zuko was passed over by his father in favor of his younger sister, Azula.
However, in the case that there are several claimants to the throne and no way to negotiate or mediate anymore, it is custom to fight an Agni Kai for the throne. The winner will be crowned official Fire Lord and the loser has to step down.
- Main article: Fire Nation Royal Family
The Royal Family includes its head, the Fire Lord; a spouse, if present; and their children. The children of the Fire Lord are referred to as 'Prince' or 'Princess', as is anyone married to the Fire Lord's children.
Known Fire Lords
This list includes all known recognized Fire Lords who were officially crowned.
- Chaeryu - Years unknown, remembered as "Chaeryu of the green fields" due to the bountiful harvests under his rule
- Zoryu - fl. 295 BG
- Sozin's father – Unknown ~ 58 BG
- Sozin – 58 BG ~ 20 AG
- Azulon – 20 ~ 95 AG
- Ozai – 95 ~ 100 AG
- Zuko – 100 ~ 167 AG
- Izumi – 167 AG ~ present
Known Fire Nation regents
Even though only recognized Fire Lords are the official rulers of the Fire Nation, their rule has not been unchallenged over the centuries. There were fights over the succession, usurpation, and temporary representatives who led the nation when the Fire Lord was absent. This list includes unrecognized Fire Lords, as well as those who were not Fire Lords but still ruled the Fire Nation for a certain time.
- Azula – 100 AG, as Princess Regent: appointed successor of Fire Lord Ozai, but challenged and defeated by her elder brother, Zuko.
- Iroh – 101/102 AG, as Interim Fire Lord: appointed regent by Fire Lord Zuko during his search for Ursa until his return to the capital.
The Fire Lord's most common set of clothing are robes. These robes contain multiple shades of red and black, as well as ornate gold trimmings and are supposed to be worn in conjunction with the Fire Lord headpiece.
The Fire Lord has always worn a set of ornate robes, but the design has changed slightly throughout the generations. Fire Lords Zuko, Ozai, Azulon, Sozin, and Sozin's father all wore a similar set of robes. Fire Lord Sozin's grandfather, however, wore a less ornate set of robes, as seen in his official portrait.
Fire Lord Zuko has worn multiple varying versions of the ornate robes.
During his temporary reign over the Fire Nation while Zuko was out looking for his mother, Iroh wore another slightly less ornate version of the robes.
- Main article: Royal Gallery
Located within the Fire Nation Royal Palace is a hallway that contains portraits of each Fire Lord. Each portrait depicts the Fire Lord in a way that emphasizes the advancements made during that respective Fire Lord's rule. Azulon's portrait, for example, depicts him standing on top of a turtle-like creature, symbolizing the many victories the Fire Nation had against the Earth Kingdom and Water Tribes during Azulon's rule. More portraits of past Fire Lords, down to the first one, were discovered in 102 AG in a part of the Dragonbone Catacombs that was sealed under Sozin's orders.
- In official sources, both "Fire Lord" and "Firelord" are used; either spelling is acceptable.
- The "Fire Lord" title is written in Chinese as  .
- All known Fire Lords have the letter "Z" in their names.
- All known male Fire Lords also have the letter "O" in their names.
- Sozin served the longest known term as Fire Lord, spanning seventy-eight years.
- Ozai served the shortest known term as Fire Lord, and he is also the only known Fire Lord who was deposed.
- Zuko is the only known Fire Lord to willingly retire from his position, as his grandfather and great-grandfather both ruled until their deaths and his father was forcibly removed from power.
- Izumi is the only known Fire Lord not to be confirmed to be a firebender.
- Iroh served as interim Fire Lord for a short period of time while Zuko went to search for his mother Ursa. During his rule, he declared a "National Tea Appreciation Day".
- The Fire Lord has the authority to banish Fire Nation citizens, as Ozai did to Prince Zuko following the latter's refusal to fight his father in an Agni Kai.