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Noren, born as Ikem, was a childhood friend and later boyfriend of Ursa. He was her fiancé for less than a day, prior to her forced engagement to Prince Ozai.[2] Afterward, he acquired a new face from the Mother of Faces and took on the identity of Noren, directing the acting troupe in his hometown, Hira'a. After Ursa's banishment from the Fire Nation Royal Palace, Noren reunited with his lover and helped her get a new face and identity as Noriko, and the two married and lived a quiet life in Hira'a with their daughter, Kiyi. After his marriage to Ursa following the latter's banishment, he became the step-father of Zuko and Azula.[1]


Life as Ikem

Ikem grew up in the Fire Nation town of Hira'a and was a close friend of Ursa. When they were six years old, Ursa kicked him in the stomach and pushed his face in dirt, which led him to fall in love with her.

Ikem and Ursa kissed after she accepted his marriage proposal.

When the two grew older, they began dating and started an acting career together at the local theater. When he was twenty-one, Ikem was cast for the role as the Dragon Emperor in Love amongst the Dragons and was reciting his lines on an empty stage, when Ursa surprised him, announcing that she would be playing the role of Dragon Empress, and he stated that he could finally fulfill his lifelong ambition of kissing Ursa in front of the entire village. Wanting to practice the kissing scene, they each put on their masks and recited their lines. However, when it came to the moment of the kiss, the masks proved to be a hindrance, with Ursa deciding to remove hers. Ikem, however, kept his own mask on and instead asked Ursa to marry him. Ursa was initially confused, wondering if his proposal was part of the script, but Ikem removed his mask as well and recalled the childhood memory of the moment he fell in love with her. He repeated his proposal, and this time, Ikem was delighted to receive a confirming answer from Ursa. The two shared a passionate kiss. Later in the night, Ursa left for home to tell her mother of Ikem's proposal.

Ikem was left heartbroken when Ursa had to depart from his life.

The next day, news of Prince Ozai's engagement to Ursa had reached Ikem, and he blocked the path through which Ursa's carriage was passing. Even as he trembled, he stood his ground and called out to Fire Lord Azulon, stating that he could not stand by and let his true love be taken away. Guards stepped forth to remove him, though he held his own against them, despite using only wooden theater props as weapons. Ursa stepped out of the carriage and told him that there was nothing in his power he could do to undo the decision that had been made. He tried to convince her to stay by saying that they belonged together, though told her that if she could honestly say that Ozai was the person she wanted to marry, he would go home. As she could see the two royals watching them, Ursa did what he asked of her to protect him as she cried, and Ikem was left devastated by the side of the road as the royal carriage rode away.

After Ursa's departure, Ikem retreated into the nearby forest within Forgetful Valley, mourning the loss of his true love. He built a hut by a pool, fashioned a weapon, and began a new life as a hermit. During his self-imposed exile, Ikem witnessed a blue wolf spirit drinking from the water across from where he was sitting.[2]

Life as Noren

After reuniting with her, Ikem proved his identity to Ursa.

The Mother of Faces emerged from the water and granted Ikem with a new face. He returned to Hira'a, where he took the name Noren, inspired by the mortal name of the Dragon Emperor in Love amongst the Dragons, eventually becoming the leader of the acting troupe after Grandma Guchi decided to retire. Unbeknownst to him, Vachir of the Yuyan Archers had been dispatched by Ozai to assassinate Ikem and ventured into Forgetful Valley to look for him, only to be beset by various animals and plants. Concluding that the commoner could not have survived for long, Vachir left the forest after many months of searching. Ikem's new identity had unexpectedly saved his life.

In 95 AG, he found Ursa on the theater stage after she wandered to the village following her banishment from the Fire Nation Royal Palace, though because of his changed face, she did not recognize him.[3] While the two were eating breakfast after sunrise that morning while discussing Love amongst the Dragons, Noren inadvertently said Ursa's name, even though she had not properly introduced herself. As a shocked Ursa began to walk away, Noren retold their life story, proving to Ursa that he was indeed her ex-lover. The two made their way to the prop warehouse, where the actor explained how he fell apart mentally following his beloved's departure, and later traveled to Forgetful Valley and received his new face and identity. He offered to take Ursa for the same purpose, to which she agreed, hoping to return to the capital unnoticed and see her children grow up from a distance. Noren did not agree with this, wondering why she would just watch them grow up from afar, but Ursa rebutted by saying that being unsure of her children's happiness was torture.

The couple traveled to Forgetful Valley, eventually arriving by one of the sacred pools from where the Mother of Faces' wolf drank and set up a shelter they could live in. After at least several months of living in the forest, the wolf showed up, indicating they were near to the face-bestowing spirit. Noren comforted a saddened Ursa, who had found her place in the world with him and he suggested moving her children to Hira'a, but his lover declined this, saying that doing so might put the entire town in danger, let alone them and her children. Afterward, the Mother of Faces appeared, granting Ursa a new face and altering her memories, and the two embraced. They returned to Hira'a, got married on the theatre stage as their wedding venue, and had a daughter named Kiyi.[1]

As Noren, he kept performing in the Hira'a Acting Troupe as well as directing the company. It was in this capacity that he noticed Zuko asking around for Ursa. In an attempt to preserve their secret identities, he invited Team Avatar back to his family home and off the town's square. In the privacy of their home, he told Team Avatar that Noren had retreated into the Forgetful Valley after Ursa had been ushered away toward the Fire Nation Capital, consequently guiding the team to that place to investigate.[3]

Aware that he would one day need to tell Ursa about her past, Noren stopped Zuko from leaving and urged him to reveal his identity to his mother.

A day later, while he and his family were eating dinner, Noren met Zuko again, as the Fire Lord returned to their home after learning the truth about his mother's secret identity. Zuko initially chose not to reveal what he had learned out loud, seeing how happy Ursa was with her life as Noriko. Noren, however, stopped his guest from leaving and encouraged him to "do what [he] came to do", and just as Ursa had told him before her disappearance, to "tell her you haven't forgotten who you are". The actor continued in saying that he recognized the Fire Lord in the crowd during Love amongst the Dragons because of his scar, and begged forgiveness for not telling the truth about protecting Ursa, whom he had to remind was her former name before the Mother of Faces altered her face and memory. He confessed his former name, to which Zuko suggested their home was where he also belonged, with his mother, sister, and father. Noren stopped Zuko after being called his father, trying to say it was not so, but was interrupted when Azula fell through the ceiling, intent on killing Ursa. Noren tried to help his wife, but Sokka urged him to get himself and Kiyi to safety. The next morning, Noren and his daughter sat at a campfire outside their damaged home, preparing a meal while Ursa and Zuko began to talk about the former's past.[1]

Weeks later, Noren accompanied his family when they visited the Fire Nation Capital for the first time since Ursa's exile.[4] While on the ship, he came up to Ursa after Zuko had left her and asked if she was okay. When she questioned his concern, he said that her hands were cold, which was something that only happened when she was scared. He recalled how they use to hold hands before performances, and it felt like holding a block of ice. After his wife assured him he would be fine, a panicked Ursa called for Aang to bring her daughter back on the boat, though when she tried to hug Kiyi, the little girl rebelled against the embrace and went up to her father. Noren picked her up and carried her below deck, per her request.

During the New Ozai Society's ambush, Noren wrapped his arms around his family and informed Zuko that they were all okay.

The next morning on the deck, Noren held his daughter in his arms while he was informed by Zuko that a change in their travel plans had occurred. He grew amazed when a submarine broke through the surface of the water near the boat and asked what it was. As Zuko explained its design was based on Sokka's design, Noren asked if Sokka was "the funny guy with the boomerang", which Zuko confirmed. After meeting Iroh, who had emerged from the submarine, Noren and the others boarded the vessels while Iroh journeyed on with the ship toward the capital as a decoy. Arriving at a hidden route that leads to the Fire Nation Royal Palace, he carried and placed Kiyi into the carriage before getting in himself. However, the New Ozai Society knew of their arrival and ambushed them. While Zuko and the Kyoshi Warriors fought them off, Noren stayed in the carriage with Ursa and Kiyi. After the attackers had been defeated, their party finally reached the palace. Kiyi grew excited at the size of the place, and asked her father to come explore with her.[5]

Ursa began to grow worried after their return to the palace, especially after reports of the Kemurikage stealing children such as Tom-Tom and Guri in the capital. One night, as Noren was reading outside Kiyi's bedroom in the palace, Ursa panicked and rushed into her room, asking Noren why he had not been with her.[6] His wife's fears were later proven true, and Kiyi was taken by the spirits. Zuko and his allies managed to save Noren's daughter from the kidnappers, who proved to be Azula and a group of women she had recruited to push Zuko into an authoritarian style of ruling. After Kiyi and the other children were saved, Noren stood by his wife and daughter during his step-son's speech, where he resolved to be a better Fire Lord.[7]


Ikem was a playful and somewhat fearful man, though he was capable of doing brave and rash acts if the situation demanded it, such as challenging the prince's guards with fake swords in an attempt to convince Ursa to stay with him, as he loved her since childhood and took their relationship very seriously.[2] He was also shown to be a kind father, sheltering his daughter in his arms from her murderous half-sister, once more showcasing his latent bravery. He also demonstrated warmth and kindness in being willing to accept Zuko and Azula as his own children, and suggested raising them alongside Ursa as a family.[1] He showed himself to be a very warm man, welcoming his unaware step-children and their friends into his home for a meal. Though he hoped to preserve his family's life in Hira'a and give Zuko the answers he wanted regarding Ursa's location, after Zuko showed he was willing to allow Ursa's identity to remained buried, Noren's kindness drove him to encourage Zuko to reveal everything.[3]


Ikem was skilled in wielding dual broadswords to such an extent that he could hold his own against two of Fire Lord Azulon's guards with just wooden dual swords. He was also a skilled survivalist, as he exiled himself into a forest and managed to make himself a home there, constructing a shelter and weapons.[2]


Main article: Fire Nation Royal Family

Sozin's father
Ta Min
Lu Ten


Graphic novels


  • Even though she was forbidden, Ursa kept writing letters to Ikem, though none of them were ever delivered to him.
  • One of the many additions to the Avatar mythos that Gene Luen Yang conceived for The Search trilogy was Ursa's past romance, which led to the creation of Ikem.[9]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 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.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 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 One (March 20, 2013), Dark Horse Comics.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 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 Two (July 10, 2013), Dark Horse Comics.
  4. DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Yang, Gene Luen (writer), Sasaki of Gurihiru (penciling, inking), Kawano of Gurihiru (colorist), Heisler, Michael; Comicraft (letterer). The Rift Part One (March 5, 2014), Dark Horse Comics.
  5. 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 One (September 23, 2015), Dark Horse Comics.
  6. 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 Two (December 16, 2015), Dark Horse Comics.
  7. 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.
  8. DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Hedrick, Tim & Hamilton, Joshua (March 10, 2015). "The Coronation" commentary. Book Four: Balance Blu-ray.
  9. DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Yang, Gene Luen (writer), Sasaki of Gurihiru (penciling, inking), Kawano of Gurihiru (colorist), Heisler, Michael; Comicraft (letterer). The Search Library Edition (February 5, 2014), Dark Horse Comics.