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This article is about the form of lightningbending in which the bender redirects lightning. For the form in which the bender produces lightning, see Lightning generation.

Iroh redirected lightning from the sky to protect Zuko's ship.

Lightning redirection is a sub-skill of firebending that allows a firebender to absorb lightning into their body as energy and release it in a more desirable direction. The technique was developed by Iroh after he studied master waterbenders, who redirect an opponent's energy rather than oppose it head-on.[1] Lightning redirection works well for both natural[2] and bender-generated lightning,[3] and for electricity conducted through metal.[4]


This technique was first demonstrated by Iroh during a storm when he used it to protect Zuko's ship and its crew from a lightning strike.[2]

When Princess Azula attempted to arrest Prince Zuko and their uncle Iroh for being traitors of the Fire Nation, Iroh used this technique again to divert Azula's blast to a nearby cliff and save Zuko.[3]

After a fight against Azula in an abandoned village, Iroh agreed to teach this skill to Zuko, as his nephew was unable to learn lightning generation.[1] After Zuko learned the technique to his satisfaction, he demanded that Iroh shoot lightning at him so that he could practice the move, but his uncle refused out of the sheer danger of it, as he hoped Zuko would never have to use this technique. However, several hours later, Zuko sought out a lightning storm and taunted it to strike him, but his efforts were in vain, which caused him to be furious at the world.[1]

Prince Zuko was able to absorb Fire Lord Ozai's lightning.

On the Day of Black Sun, Ozai shot lightning at Zuko once the solar eclipse ended. Zuko expertly absorbed and redirected the lightning back toward the Fire Lord; the explosion threw his father back to the wall behind him, providing Zuko with enough time to escape.[5]

Prior to the arrival of Sozin's Comet, Zuko taught this technique to Avatar Aang, who recognized its similarities to waterbending.[6] Aang used this technique to redirect comet-enhanced lightning from Ozai, but due to his pacifistic nature, the Avatar redirected it toward the sky as opposed to killing the Phoenix King with the blast outright.[7]

During their duel for the title of Fire Lord, Zuko goaded Azula into using lightning, planning to redirect it at her. However, seeing Katara as a more vulnerable target, Azula fired at her instead. Zuko jumped in front of the waterbender, intercepting the bolt and attempting to redirect it. While he had been successful in redirecting it prior to this event, the ungrounded position he was in prevented him from succeeding in fully executing the technique, causing a severe injury and incapacitating him for the remainder of the duel.[7]

During their search for Ursa, Zuko redirected the lightning bolt a paranoid Azula aimed at Rafa and Misu to harmlessly disperse in the sky. Later that evening, he redirected another one of his sister's lightning attacks, though this time he used the lightning to overpower Azula, preventing her from continuing her assault on him and their mother.[8]

Azula, masquerading as the Kemurikage, also used this technique while battling Zuko after he, Suki, Ty Lee, and Aang attempted to stop her from abducting Kiyi.[9]

Seventy years later, Mako demonstrated this ability during the Equalists' battle for Republic City after a mecha tank launched an electrified cable toward him.[4]


When redirecting lightning, the energy is rerouted from one fingertip via the stomach to the other fingertip.

Redirecting lightning deals with the flow of energy in one's body and turning an opponent's own energy against them, a philosophy seen in waterbending. The person redirecting it must create a pathway from their fingertip, up the arm to the stomach, and up and out the other arm. The stomach is referred to as "the sea of chi", as it is the source of energy in the body. It is essential that the lightning pass through the stomach, as if the lightning passes through the heart, the effects could be fatal. A physical motion can help to focus the energy flow in the path through the body.[1]

Lightning can be successfully redirected regardless of whether the source is natural or generated.


Avatar Aang was able to absorb Phoenix King Ozai's lightning.

According to Zuko, the process of redirecting lightning is an exhilarating and terrifying experience. The person redirecting lightning feels powerful containing such massive amounts of energy, but they know they will die if they make a single false move.[6] Aang appeared to be in physical pain when he absorbed Ozai's lightning and seemed very drained afterward, collapsing to his knees once he had shot it off into the sky.

When Azula shot lightning toward Katara, Zuko blocked the lightning's path in order to protect Katara. He managed to redirect most of the lightning's energy, though some remained trapped in his body. Improperly redirecting lightning can have severe consequences, and has been known to cause significant pain around the stomach for some time after the incident.

Known users


Fire Lord Sozin redirected a volcano's heat in a manner similar to redirecting lightning.

  • While helping Avatar Roku halt a volcano's flow, Fire Lord Sozin redirected heat from the lava in a similar fashion to this technique.[11]
  • When Iroh was first seen redirecting lightning, he redirected a storm-created lightning bolt and appeared shocked by it afterward;[2] this effect was never seen again.
  • The benders who used lightning redirection in either series all opposed the main antagonist: Iroh, Zuko, and Aang utilized lightning redirection in Avatar: The Last Airbender and all opposed Ozai, while Mako was the only one to redirect lightning in The Legend of Korra and opposed Amon.
    • Lightning Bolt Zolt also opposed Amon, though was not shown to use the technique on screen.
  • Aang is the only known Avatar to have practiced lightning redirection.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Ehasz, Aaron (writer) & Spaulding, Ethan (director). (June 2, 2006). "Bitter Work". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 9. Nickelodeon.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Ehasz, Aaron (writer) & MacMullan, Lauren (director). (June 3, 2005). "The Storm". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 12. Nickelodeon.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Ehasz, Aaron, Ehasz, Elizabeth Welch, Hedrick, Tim, O'Bryan, John (writers) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (March 17, 2006). "The Avatar State". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 1. Nickelodeon.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim, Ryu, Ki Hyun (directors). (June 16, 2012). "Turning the Tides". The Legend of Korra. Book One: Air. Episode 10. Nickelodeon.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Ehasz, Aaron (writer) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director). (November 30, 2007). "The Day of Black Sun, Part 2: The Eclipse". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 11. Nickelodeon.
  6. 6.0 6.1 DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Spaulding, Ethan (director). (July 19, 2008). "Sozin's Comet, Part 1: The Phoenix King". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 18. Nickelodeon.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director). (July 19, 2008). "Sozin's Comet, Part 3: Into the Inferno". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 20. Nickelodeon.
  8. DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Yang, Gene Luen (writer), Sasaki of Gurihiru (penciling, inking), Kawano of Gurihiru (colorist), Heisler, Michael; Comicraft (letterer). The Search Part Three (October 30, 2013), Dark Horse Comics.
  9. 9.0 9.1 DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Yang, Gene Luen (writer), Sasaki of Gurihiru (penciling, inking), Kawano of Gurihiru (colorist), Heisler, Michael; Comicraft (letterer). Smoke and Shadow Part Three (April 12, 2016), Dark Horse Comics.
  10. The Legend of Korra—The Art of the Animated Series, Book One: Air, page 65.
  11. Ehasz, Elizabeth Welch (writer) & Spaulding, Ethan (director). (October 26, 2007). "The Avatar and the Fire Lord". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 6. Nickelodeon.

See also