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

Ozai was the ruler of the Fire Nation during the final years of the Hundred Year War, reigning as Fire Lord from 95 to 100 AG.[5] He was the second son of Fire Lord Azulon and Ilah, the younger brother of Iroh, uncle of Lu Ten, husband to Ursa, the father of Prince Zuko and Princess Azula, and the paternal grandfather of Izumi.[8] Ozai was a firebending master and, prior to the end of the war, was believed to be the most powerful firebender in the world.[9]

After his nephew, Lu Ten, died, Ozai usurped his brother's birthright to the throne[10] in a scheme that resulted in his father's death and Ursa's banishment.[11]

Ozai's rule saw a mass buildup of industry and significant technological advancements.[12] Like his father and grandfather before him, Ozai sought to conquer the other nations and become the supreme ruler of the world. To do this, he planned to utilize Sozin's Comet to burn down the Earth Kingdom, renouncing the title of Fire Lord and declaring himself the Phoenix King, ruler of the world.[13] Before his plans could come to fruition, he was defeated by Avatar Aang, who used energybending to remove his firebending abilities permanently. The war ended with his reign.

After the end of the war and Zuko's crowning, Ozai was sentenced to life in prison for several war crimes.[14] However, he was able to maintain a degree of influence on world politics through some of his loyal followers and his son, who occasionally sought advice from Ozai. As a result, the former Fire Lord was indirectly responsible for the failure of the Harmony Restoration Movement.[1]

Quick Answers

Who were the family members of Fire Lord Ozai? toggle section
Fire Lord Ozai, also known as Phoenix King Ozai, was a member of the Fire Nation Royal Family. His father was Fire Lord Azulon, a powerful firebender trained by his own father, Fire Lord Sozin. Ozai had a brother named Iroh. Ozai's son is Zuko, who succeeded him as the Fire Lord. The family tree also includes historical figures like Yosor and Gonryu, who are presumably ancestors, and other descendants of the Fire Nation Royal Family.
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What was Ozai's reign period as the Fire Lord? toggle section
Ozai, also known as Phoenix King Ozai, was the ruler of the Fire Nation during the final years of the Hundred Year War. His reign as the Fire Lord lasted from 95 to 100 AG.
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Why is Ozai also known as the Phoenix King? toggle section
Ozai crowned himself as the Phoenix King just before the arrival of Sozin's Comet. This title was created by Ozai himself to signify his supreme rule over the entire world once the Fire Nation had won the Hundred Year War. The title also allowed his daughter, Azula, to become the Fire Lord and lead the Fire Nation in his absence. However, Ozai only held the title of Phoenix King for two days, as the position was abolished after his defeat.
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How did Ozai's rule impact the Hundred Year War? toggle section
Fire Lord Ozai's rule had a significant impact on the Hundred Year War. His reign saw significant technological advancements and the fall of the Earth Kingdom. However, it was also during his rule that Avatar Aang reemerged. Despite Ozai's attempts to capture and defeat the Avatar, he was unsuccessful. The Avatar's intervention eventually led to the Fire Nation's defeat and Ozai's deposition in favor of his son, Zuko, marking the end of the Hundred Year War. Ozai's rule was characterized by his aggressive pursuit of power, which ultimately led to his downfall.
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What is the relationship between Ozai and his son, Zuko? toggle section
Ozai and Zuko had a complex father-son relationship. Ozai was never pleased with Zuko, despite Zuko's best efforts, and said that he was lucky to be born. Ozai had disdain for Zuko's moralistic nature, an attitude that worsened after Ursa stated her desire that Zuko turn out nothing like Ozai. When Azulon ordered Ozai to kill Zuko, Ozai was willing to do as his father had commanded, an act that was only prevented at Ursa's intervention. After Zuko spoke out during a War Room meeting, Ozai burned Zuko's eye during an Agni Kai, permanently scarring his son. Ozai then banished Zuko, stating he could only return home if he captured the Avatar.
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Early life[]

Youth and engagement[]

Iroh and Ozai in their youth

Painting of Ozai and his older brother Iroh in their youth. The brothers always had a difficult relationship, but were closer in their teenage years before permanently drifting apart.

Ozai was born around 55 AG[3] to Fire Lord Azulon and his wife Ilah,[10] and according to his older brother Iroh, he displayed a difficult temperament from the moment "he could crawl".[15] When Ozai was a baby, a portrait was painted of him while he was playing on a beach.[13] As he grew up, he became increasingly stubborn, impatient, and ambitious. As result, Ozai's relationship with Iroh was always rather strained, and the two were highly competitive, regularly fighting about the pettiest matters such as a game of Pai Sho. Regardless, many dismissed Ozai's aggression as simple temper tantrums by an emotional youth.[15] His behavior and later views on family were influenced by the fact that Azulon favored Iroh over him.[16]

Ozai's ruthlessness and ambition greatly helped him in school, however, and this impressed his older brother, resulting in a short-lived rapprochement. When Iroh later realized that Ozai's temperament stemmed from a deep-seated lack of empathy and brutal ambition, he distanced himself from his younger brother once again.[15] At some point, Ozai, like his father and grandfather before him, attempted to find and capture the Avatar by sending out search parties, but failed as they all did.[5][17] Unlike his grandfather, father, and brother, Ozai was never a general, and so he has not known great military accomplishments aside from being leader of the Fire Nation later in his life. However, he did spend substantial time outside the palace, and involved himself in various political schemes as well as martial arts training.[5]

Eventually, Ozai and his father sought to add Avatar Roku's lineage to the royal family, as the Fire Sages predicted that doing so would yield a more powerful bloodline. The two traveled to Hira'a and tracked down Ursa, the granddaughter of the past Avatar. After a short introduction by his father, Ozai proposed to Ursa and she agreed. However, when they prepared to travel back to the capital city, a commoner blocked their way, demanding to release Ursa. Azulon ordered their bodyguards to deal with him, but after a short struggle, Ursa pleaded with Ozai to call off his soldiers' attack, securing the man's safety, and let her talk to the man to get him to go home. After being called "My Love" by his future wife, the prince complied to the request. After the man was told off, the group continued their journey back to the capital.[18]

Marriage and early family life[]

Ozai and Ursa's wedding

Ozai and Ursa were married in a royal wedding.

When Ozai was thirty,[3] he married Ursa, and during the following banquet the prince told his wife about her new duties. Much to her shock, he explained that she had to sever all ties to her past life in accordance with the old traditions, including family and friends, in order to completely devote herself to her new duties and the royal family. Ozai happily kissed Ursa, saying that she now belonged to him.[18] After their wedding, they had two children together: Zuko and Azula.[1] However, when Zuko was born, his parents were not sure if he was a firebender, as he lacked "that spark in [his] eyes". Considering what a "shame" it would be for a prince of the Fire Nation to have a nonbender as firstborn, Ozai planned to cast his infant son from the palace. However, Ursa and the Fire Sages pleaded with Ozai to give Zuko a chance, and the prince eventually gave in.[19]

The young family made frequent vacations to Ember Island in order to relax. On a vacation around 87 AG, Zuko nearly drowned in an attempt to help a turtle crab. When the tides were pulling his son further into the sea, Ozai dove in the water and rescued Zuko, who spent the remainder of the day in the care of his mother, recovering from the experience. Ozai would later muse that he had attempted to be a good father in his children's early years, a statement with which both his children agreed.[1] However, Ozai soon began favoring Azula. When his daughter began to consciously firebend at an early age, Ozai realized that she was a prodigy and was overjoyed. Seeing Ursa's discomfort over Azula's destructive potential, he teased his wife to praise their daughter as he did.[20] Ozai would continue to shape Azula as he saw fit, encouraging not just her natural talents but also her cruelty and perfectionism.[20][21]

Deteriorating relationship with Ursa[]

Ozai reading letter

The Fire Prince read Ursa's letter, furious about its content.

Aware of his wife's longing for her previous life, he had ordered her servant, Elua, to file away all the letters Ursa secretly attempted to have someone smuggle outside the palace. However, one day when he was training, the elderly woman came to him with a letter that she felt needed the prince's attention. After he read it, he yelled out the impossibility of the secret the writing contained, and crumpled the letter in his hand.[18]

Consumed by the information he had learned from Ursa's letter, he grew even more bitter toward his wife and oldest child. He called a Yuyan Archer, Vachir, to the palace and ordered him to travel to Hira'a in order to kill Ikem, Ursa's former boyfriend.

Ozai reprimanding young Zuko

Ozai constantly reprimanded Zuko for his lousy firebending skills.

Months later, during a family dinner, Ozai listened to Azula's animated recollection of how she showed up her firebending teacher, Master Kunyo, much to the latter's displeasure. He sided with his daughter when she posed that Kunyo was wrong about how one creates the biggest fire blast, noting that he would send the firebending teacher to the colonies. When Zuko tried to speak in Kunyo's defense, however, Ozai snapped at his son, telling him he had no right lecturing Azula about firebending, considering that even though she was a year younger, she was already more advanced in the bending art. Ozai went on, telling him that he was not even sure that Zuko had been a bender at first, and that he had been lucky his mother and the Fire Sages had come to his rescue, as he had been planning to cast him over the palace wall for being a nonbending disgrace to him. He finished by telling Zuko that Azula "never [had needed] that kind of luck", and that "[he had been] lucky to be born". At that moment, a palace servant alerted Ozai to the return of Vachir, and Ozai promptly left the room.[19]

Vachir and Ozai

Ozai dismissed Vachir as a disgrace to the Yuyan Archers for failing to locate and kill Ikem.

Ozai met Vachir on one of the palace balconies and listened to the Yuyan Archer's recollection of his adventures. The prince was informed that Vachir had failed to track down Ikem, as the man had disappeared in Forgetful Valley, where he was assumed to have perished on his own. Ozai, however, was not satisfied with this, deeming it all to be conjecture. He dismissed the archer, commanding him to resign from the Yuyan Archers, as his failure made him unsuitable to be part of the elite fighting group.

Afterward, Ozai went down to Ursa's quarters and confronted her about the letters she had sent Ikem, reminding her that she was supposed to forget her old life and that any communication with her past life was treasonous. Even though he deemed Zuko to be evidence of her treacherous act, he stated he would not kill the boy, proclaiming himself to be merciful. However, he took pleasure in informing his wife that he had sent an assassin after Ikem and that he had been successful, breaking her heart.[19] When Ursa told Ozai that Zuko was indeed their son, Ozai replied that he had already known that, as he had sent spies to keep an eye on Ursa months before their wedding, but was angry as to why she would write such an obvious lie. When Ursa replied that she wished for Zuko not to turn out like Ozai, the prince said he would be sure to treat their son like that "of a treacherous dog", and every time he would wound Zuko with harsh words, he would be "fulfilling his mother's wish".[22]

Reign as Fire Lord (95 AG-100 AG)[]

Rise to power and coronation[]

Ozai kneeling

Much to Azulon's fury, Ozai requested his appointment as Crown Prince.

About 94 AG, Ozai's older brother Iroh began the six-hundred-day Siege of Ba Sing Se, the Earth Kingdom capital, which ended when Iroh's only son, Lu Ten, died in battle. This led Ozai to request that his father, Fire Lord Azulon, revoke Iroh's birthright as crown prince, allowing Ozai to inherit the throne instead of Iroh. Ozai explained that without an heir, the line of Fire Lords would end with Iroh, while Ozai still had two children. Azulon became furious, refusing to betray his firstborn son's right to the throne. As punishment, Azulon ordered Ozai to kill his own son, Zuko, so he would understand Iroh's pain.[10]

Ozai retreated to his own chambers to wait for Zuko to fall asleep, as it would be "merciful" so he would not feel a thing. Having learned of the order from the eavesdropping Azula, Ursa pleaded with him to spare Zuko's life, but Ozai countered that he had no choice, since it would be treason to refuse the Fire Lord's command. As a last resort to save Zuko, Ursa offered Ozai what he desired most in exchange for Zuko's life: the throne. She would concoct an untraceable color- and odorless poison and turn it over to Ozai to do "whatever [he wished]". Ozai agreed to this on the condition that his wife would leave the palace, believing he too might be poisoned one day. Ursa tried to take Zuko and Azula with her, but Ozai assured her they would be safe in his hands as long as she kept her word, and threatened to hunt them all down if she tried taking their children. Shortly thereafter, Ursa made the poison and turned it over to him, and he snuck into Azulon's room that same night to end his father's life with it.[19]

Ozai's coronation

Ozai was crowned Fire Lord after secretly murdering his father, Azulon.

The next morning, Azulon was found dead in his bed. His cremation took place a little later, and while Ozai and his two children were present, the Fire Sages announced Azulon's alleged dying wish; that Ozai would be his successor. The High Sage subsequently crowned the former prince Fire Lord, whereupon those present hailed him as their new ruler and bowed to him.[10] The coronation ceremony was accompanied by a great celebration in the capital's lower-class areas. As part of these festivities, a new play named Azulon's Legacy was performed to the masses. The play portrayed Ozai as Azulon's destinied successor, ignoring the conflict within the royal family.[23]

Early reign[]

Ozai's portrait

Ozai's royal portrait depicted him surrounded with metal cogs and smokestacks. His reign saw major technological advances in the Fire Nation.

After assuming power, Ozai mostly continued the policies of his father and devoted himself to furthering the Fire Nation's quest for world domination.[24] He quickly proved to be an even worse autocrat than Azulon, however, expecting total loyalty and subordination from all those around him. Ozai did not hesitate to eliminate any of his advisors or other Fire Nation citizens who questioned his orders, exiling, executing,[25][26] and imprisoning them. Even the children of such critics were sometimes punished alongside their parents.[27] Military commanders who proved reluctant to follow his commands were replaced by others who were more subservient.[26] One of those officers who fell victim to Ozai's draconian way was General Onomu, a headstrong officer who openly spoke out against Ozai's intention to focus on conquering Omashu. Not taking criticism lightly, Ozai intended to have the general killed, but she realized the danger to her life and defected. The officer was able to flee to the Earth Kingdom with crucial war plans.[28] Considering it an embarrassment that someone had eluded his grasp, not to mention a high-ranking commander with secret documents, Ozai hired the Rough Rhinos to quietly eliminate or capture Onomu before she could reach Ba Sing Se[29] or word of her defiance spread.[30]

However, unlike his father, Ozai was generally more willing to make deals with renegades and outlaws if it furthered his goals. Accordingly, he made a secret deal with the Crimson Sails Armada, a coalition of pirates and rebels who had harassed the Fire Navy for decades. In return for covert payments by the Fire Nation government, the Crimson Sails Armada would stay out of the Fire Lord's way. The agreement held for the remainder of Ozai's reign, cementing the Fire Nation's control over the world's oceans.[31] Ozai's rule also saw major industrial and technological advances,[12] and he favored those who strengthened the Fire Nation through new technologies.[32] For instance, he supported a secret project by War Minister Qin to construct a massive Fire Nation drill to bore through Ba Sing Se's walls.[33] In contrast, he had no interest in spirituality, and stripped the Fire Sages of most of their remaining power.[34]

Despite familial ties, Zuko bore the brunt of his father's cruelty. Two years prior to Aang's discovery at the South Pole, thirteen-year-old Zuko, his eldest and least favored child, spoke out in Ozai's war room against a general's plan to sacrifice novice troops in pursuit of victory. Angered by his impudence, Ozai demanded Zuko to duel in an Agni Kai, not with the general whom Zuko had disrespected, but with Ozai himself. Seeing the Fire Lord in the arena, Zuko fell to his knees, pleading for forgiveness and refusing to duel his own father. Ozai demanded that the young prince rise and fight for his honor, but Zuko refused to do so. For his perceived cowardice and disrespect, Ozai badly burned the left side of Zuko's face, permanently scarring him. He subsequently exiled Zuko from the Fire Nation, under orders not to return until he had done the impossible: capture the long-lost Avatar, who had been missing for nearly a hundred years.[10]

Ozai assigns Azula

Ozai entrusted Azula with a high priority mission.

This was meant to be an easy way of getting rid of Zuko, as all previous Fire Lords failed to find the Avatar. Ozai assumed that his son would never find anything, and thus remain in exile for the rest of his life.[5] With the Avatar's sudden reappearance as the twelve-year-old airbender Aang,[17] Ozai became more aggressive in his pursuit of victory. Distrusting his son's competence, he promoted Zuko's rival Zhao from Commander to Admiral to increase his chances of capturing the Avatar.[35] Admiral Zhao was thwarted in his mission by Ozai's brother Iroh, who committed treason in an effort to stop Zhao from killing the Water Tribe's patron Moon Spirit. Ozai expressed distaste at what he saw as his brother's treachery and son's failure by giving his daughter, Azula, the task of capturing both Zuko and Iroh.[36] Not long after, the Fire Nation drill was finally completed and ready to assault Ba Sing Se; Ozai took a personal interest in this operation, and sent a fleet of tundra tanks to guard the massive machine.[33]

After the successful Coup of Ba Sing Se,[37] Ozai had almost successfully taken control of the world. Eventually, he spoke with his son Zuko, who had regained his honor by supposedly "killing" the Avatar, and helping Azula to conquer Ba Sing Se.[38] This was the first and only time when Ozai felt proud of his son.[7]

Drastic measures[]

Ozai announcing his plan

Ozai announced to his generals his plan to utilize the power of Sozin's Comet to burn down the entire Earth Kingdom.

In a war meeting with his generals, the day before the eclipse, Ozai learned from Zuko that even though the Earth Kingdom had been officially conquered, its citizens would not accept defeat as long as they had hope. Following Azula's recommendation, Ozai concluded that the only way to end Earth Kingdom resistance was to use the power of Sozin's Comet to completely burn it to the ground, as had been done with the Air Nomads one hundred years before.[13]

During the eclipse on the Day of Black Sun, Ozai evacuated the Capital City[39] in preparation for the invasion and hid in a heavily guarded underground bunker. Zuko showed up and demanded permission to speak to his father. Ozai granted his request, amused that Zuko chose the eclipse to confront him. Zuko revealed that Azula shot down the Avatar and that she claimed he did it because the Avatar was in fact still alive. Ozai was infuriated and attempted to attack Zuko, but stopped when Zuko pulled out his dual dao swords against his father's disabled firebending. Zuko told him that he was done trying to earn his love, knowing that the very man who banished him and scarred him was not worthy of his love. Ozai said that it was to teach him respect, but Zuko denied this, saying it was cruel and wrong. Having had to learn everything on his own, Zuko now realized that the Fire Nation was unfit to rule the world and needed to return to harmony with the other nations. Ozai laughed at this declaration, remarking that Iroh had gotten through to him. Zuko went on to say that he would free his uncle from jail and help the Avatar defeat Ozai, prompting him to declare Zuko a full-blown traitor. Zuko refused to fight Ozai because he knew that fighting the Fire Lord was the Avatar's destiny, not his. Ozai, however, distracted Zuko by offering to tell him what really happened to his mother.[11]

Ozai and Zuko battle

Ozai directed a blast of lightning at Zuko, unaware of his son's ability to redirect it.

Ozai revealed to Zuko that his father, Fire Lord Azulon, had indeed commanded Ozai to kill him, and that he would have done it had Zuko's mother not found out and interfered. She had proposed a plan to have Ozai spare Zuko's life by giving the throne over to Ozai through Azulon's downfall. However, Ursa "committed vicious, treasonous things that night" and was not killed, but banished as a result, making Zuko realize that she may still be alive. Ozai decided that "banishment [was] far too merciful a penalty for treason" and, sensing the eclipse outside had ended, tried to kill Zuko with a powerful display of lightning generation. However, he was not aware that Iroh had taught Zuko his ability to redirect lightning, which Zuko used to send the bolt right back at Ozai, slamming him against the wall and leaving him to seethe in anger as Zuko fled the Fire Nation to join the Avatar.[11]

Phoenix King (100 AG)[]

Phoenix King Ozai coronation

Ozai crowned himself as the Phoenix King.

When Sozin's Comet arrived, Ozai crowned himself Phoenix King, the ruler of the world, and left Azula as his successor as Fire Lord.[13] He later departed with his fleet of Fire Nation airships for the Earth Kingdom to carry out his plans. When he reached the Earth Kingdom, he began his attack but was quickly repelled by Avatar Aang, who destroyed his airship.[40]

Battle at Wulong Forest[]

Main article: Battle at Wulong Forest

Ozai prepared to battle with the Avatar for control of the world, declaring that the universe had delivered Aang to him "as an act of providence", while his father, grandfather, and son had all failed to capture the Avatar. Aang asked Ozai to stop the Hundred Year War, but instead, Ozai began his attack.[40]


While his life was spared by Aang, Ozai lost his firebending through the Avatar's use of energybending.

For much of the battle, Ozai had an advantage due to the power of Sozin's Comet enhancing his already powerful firebending. Aang was at a great disadvantage due to his unwillingness to harm or kill the Fire Lord. Eventually, Ozai overwhelmed and cornered Aang, whom he proceeded to mock for having such a peaceful nature and for being the last of his race.[40]

Determined to finish off the Avatar, Ozai accidentally unblocked Aang's seventh and final chakra, prompting him to enter the Avatar State. While in this state, Aang easily gained the upper hand. Using a combination of all four bending arts, Aang went on the offensive. Though he tried to defend himself, Ozai quickly realized he no longer had the upper hand, and was forced into a fighting retreat. Eventually, Aang caught up with him and pinned him down before preparing to deliver the final blow. Before it could be delivered, Aang regained control and voluntarily left the Avatar State, still not willing to kill Ozai to win. Instead, Aang used an ancient type of bending power, energybending, to strip Ozai of his firebending forever, ending the fight peacefully without any casualties. Sokka, Toph, and Suki later arrived and taunted Ozai, powerless and weary from Aang's new ability, calling him the "Loser Lord", "Phoenix-King-of-Getting-His-Butt-Whooped", and "King of the ... Guys ... Who Don't Win?", respectively.[14]


Ozai in prison

Upon his defeat, Ozai was left to ponder his actions in prison.

With the war over and Zuko crowned the new Fire Lord, Ozai was transported to the Capital City Prison, located near the Royal Palace, where Iroh was once held. Zuko later visited him, saying that his banishment set him on the right path, and that Ozai could use his time in prison to reflect on his actions, let go of his pride, and allow remorse to show him the path that Zuko spoke of. Fire Lord Zuko promptly demanded that Ozai state Ursa's whereabouts,[14] but he did not answer this question. Instead, he taunted Zuko about the stresses a Fire Lord could face while in office, and he expected Zuko to return soon to seek his help.[41] Following his imprisonment, most of Ozai's loyalists were removed from their offices by Zuko, minimizing his influence within the nation. However, some revisionists actively sought to reinstate Ozai as Fire Lord, including the "New Ozai Society",[42] though ultimately, these attempts failed.[43]

Ozai's advice to Zuko

Ozai told Zuko of his belief that Kuei would strike Yu Dao, and that his son should defend the colony ferociously.

A year after the Hundred Year War, Ozai's prediction proved correct as Zuko returned to him seeking advice on how to rule the Fire Nation and still be able to sleep peacefully.[41] Enjoying the fact that his son came groveling back to him, Ozai told a story about Zuko's early childhood where his son's indecisiveness over which animal he would save, a turtle crab from being eaten or a hawk from starvation, caused him to get into trouble when a wave washed him to sea. When Zuko did not understand why his father told him the story, Ozai simply dismissed the Fire Lord and ordered him to come back the next day with more tea.[1]

When Zuko returned with more tea, Ozai explained to him that the lesson to be learned from the memory was that there was no wrong or right in the world, as whatever the Fire Lord decided to do, was right by definition. When Zuko refused to see this and was set on going through with the peace talks with the Earth King, Ozai predicted that they would fail as the previously weak Earth King would be set on showing the world that he could be a strong and decisive ruler by leading his armies to the gates of Yu Dao. Zuko rejected Ozai's predictions again, which led the former firebender to the conclusion that Zuko trusted the Avatar more than he trusted himself. Sickened by this display of weakness from his own son, he demanded that Zuko leave his presence.[1]

After the solution of the Yu Dao crisis and the collapse of the Harmony Restoration Movement, Zuko again began his pursuit of information about Ursa's whereabouts. Because of Ozai's uncooperative behavior in this regard, Zuko requested help from his sister. Subsequently, Azula was placed in adjoining cells with her father, though they did not speak with each other for half an hour. When Zuko noticed that, he came to bring them tea, in an attempt to make the situation more enjoyable. Azula grabbed hold of the tray with her teeth, however, and subsequently made Zuko fall over. This scene caused Ozai to grin satisfied, but nevertheless, he remained silent. After a short struggle, Azula told her brother that she wanted her and their father to have a dignified conversation in private. To Ozai's surprise, Zuko gave in to this request. During their following conversation, Ozai told his daughter of his past with Ursa and her letters from Ikem, information that could serve as an opportunity for Azula to take the throne from Zuko.[18]

Ursa confronts Ozai

Ozai was confronted by Ursa shortly after her return to the Fire Nation Capital.

Ozai was later visited by Ursa in his prison after the latter's return to the Fire Nation Capital. Having heard of her arrival, Ozai confidently assured her that she was making a mistake by returning to the capital. Raising his voice in anger, he vowed to hurt her and everyone she loved. His threat left her unfazed, however, as she simply retorted that she could finally truly see him: While he tried to be "big", he had a small heart and no room for love for anyone, including himself. Taken aback at her words, Ozai sputtered as she turned and walked away, demanding to her back that she turn around and grovel before him, but Ursa ignored him as she left the outer cell.[44]


As it had contributed to the end of the Harmony Restoration Movement,[1] Ozai's advice to Zuko also indirectly contributed to the formation of the United Republic of Nations.[45] Zuko ultimately was able to steer the Fire Nation away from Ozai's style of rule and world view.[46]

By 124 AG, it was more widely known that Ozai had poisoned his father Azulon.[47]


"You're weak, just like the rest of your people! They did not deserve to exist in this world — in my world! Prepare to join them. Prepare to die!"
―Ozai exhibits his megalomania toward Aang.[40]
Ozai laughs

Ozai found peace and kindness laughable concepts.

Ozai was easily angered, domineering, and insatiably power-hungry. He exhibited these traits from an early age, and Iroh noted that they stemmed from a deep-seated pathological psychology. According to him, Ozai lacked empathy,[15] was "not the understanding type",[4] and never regretted, forgave, or changed his mind about anything.[48] Believing morality to be a sign of weakness, Ozai found peace and kindness laughable concepts and despised those who followed moral principles. As such, he possessed little to no empathy and rarely showed any interest in the feelings of others.[1][11][49]

This behavior was strongly influenced by his obsession with control and in order to achieve total control over the Fire Nation, Ozai was even willing to sacrifice his own family. Confronting Ursa about a false letter she wrote claiming Zuko was Ikem's son after she suspected Ozai had intercepted all her letters home, she declared her hope that their son would never turn out like Ozai. Ozai in turn proclaimed that he would from then on treat Zuko cruelly as if he was not his son, all just to spite Ursa.[22] When ordered by Azulon to kill Zuko so that he would know the pain of losing a son,[10] Ozai admitted to Zuko that he would have gladly carried out the murder had Ursa not interfered.[11]

Eventually, he murdered his own father in order to usurp his brother's birthright and become Fire Lord.[19] Similarly, he did not hesitate to sacrifice his subordinates if that meant he would obtain more power. As a result, Ozai supported the idea of sacrificing new recruits to defeat a powerful Earth Kingdom battalion so he could get closer to controlling Ba Sing Se.[50] Likewise, he decided to use the power of Sozin's Comet to destroy the Earth Kingdom without standing still with the human loss that would mean.[13] Despite that, Ozai did believe that a Fire Lord's duty was to protect his people, though he reasoned that was because they were extensions of his divine will as Fire Lord; by attacking them, an opponent attacked him.[1] The ultimate expression of his obsession with control was his aspiration in life to conquer the entire world.[13]

Ozai angry

When Zuko defied and escaped him, Ozai seethed with rage.

Nevertheless, in his younger years, Ozai showed limited care and compassion for his own family. Despite their strained relationship, Ozai and Iroh were closer while they were still in school, though the latter distanced himself from his brother when he realized that he had a "heart of ice".[15] When Ursa begged him to spare her former lover, Ozai complied to the request after being called "My Love" by his future wife.[18] When he planned to cast his infant son from the palace, Ozai gave in after Ursa and the Fire Sages pleaded with him to give Zuko a chance.[19] Ozai believed that he attempted to be a good father in his early years,[1] a view shared by both Zuko and Azula.[18] However, his pride, anger, and lust for power degraded his relationship with his family. He believed skill and accomplishment determined worth, which allowed the naturally cunning and talented Azula to rise to the position of his favorite child, while he ignored or psychologically abused Zuko. He had no qualms about making Zuko's life miserable just to get back at Ursa for snapping at him that she wished that Zuko was Ikem's son, rather than his.[22]

While his relationship with Zuko had always been tense, thenceforth Ozai began to torture Zuko with his perceived inferiority, saying that Azula was "born lucky", while he was "lucky to be born".[36] After his wife's banishment, he continued to be psychologically abusive toward both of his children and physically abusive toward his son. When Zuko was thirteen, Ozai burned his face and banished him from his country, simply because Zuko spoke out of turn during a war meeting,[50] an action for which he never showed any remorse[22] and merely claimed it to have been a lesson in respect.[11] He only acknowledged Zuko when he helped his sister conquer Ba Sing Se and when he "killed" the Avatar.[38] Eventually, Ozai attempted to kill Zuko when the latter announced his intent to join the Avatar, thereby defying his father.[11] On the other hand, Ozai raised Azula to become his future heir, expecting nothing less than the best from her,[10] which placed a great amount of stress on her and forced her to become a perfectionist.[48] Ultimately, it was the environment in which Ozai raised Azula, where fear, power, and perfection were the only reliable truths, that set the groundwork for her total mental collapse.[40]

However, despite his behavior toward his children, Ozai appeared to be remarkably forgiving of failure for certain people, such as War Minister Qin[11][51][52] and Zhao, who retained their positions and, in Zhao's case, was repeatedly promoted,[35] despite repeated failures and bungles. What mattered most to Ozai, however, was not neccessarily their competence, but their total loyalty to his cause. In contrast, he had no tolerance for those who voiced opposition to his ideas, executing or exiling several advisors who dared to oppose some of his decrees.[26] His patience was also limited for those who failed to impress him such as Kunyo or Vachir.[19] In general, Ozai saw his subordinates as expendable and replaceable.[26]

By the time Ozai crowned himself Phoenix King, he began to exhibit extreme megalomania, claiming to own the Earth and to "have all the power in the world".[40]

"Do you think being Fire Lord is easy?! The throne comes with many pressures, and those pressures will change you! But if you can stand the heat, you'll become something more. Of all the people in the world, I have the wisdom you need, the wisdom of experience! Be honest with yourself, Zuko – Do you really believe you can handle it all on your own?"
―Ozai questions Zuko about the challenges of being Fire Lord.[41]
Ozai unhappy

Although still domineering, Ozai became more logical and calm after losing his bending.

After being stripped of both his bending and his throne, Ozai apparently still retained his domineering personality, as he casually lectured Fire Lord Zuko when he came to visit Ozai in jail. However, he would develop a calmer, more logical attitude toward life as he thought that Aang's belief of maintaining the four separate nations would only halt progress. This is apparently true as Yu Dao, a city that combined the effort from citizens of both the Fire Nation and the Earth Kingdom, grew from a small village to a very developed area. As Zuko sought out Ozai for advice, through their discussions, it was revealed that Ozai believed that good and evil, and even strength and weakness, were meaningless concepts. He believed that the only right and wrong were what he, or more accurately, the Fire Lord, decided, due to his divine right to rule. Any choice he made was the right one, simply by virtue of it being his choice, and that indecisiveness and attempts to guide oneself by moral principles were signs of weakness, traits he despised in Zuko.[1]



Ozai's enhanced firebending

Ozai's firebending abilities were fueled by hatred and rage.

Fire Lord Ozai was an incredibly powerful and skilled firebender; it was stated by Zuko that if the Avatar were unable to defeat him, the only other individual capable of doing so would be Iroh, who, despite being one of the most powerful of their time, still was uncertain he could defeat Ozai.[53] His fighting style was extremely liberal and stressed overbearing, infernal force, fueled by anger, hatred, and personal gain. Before he was crowned Fire Lord, Ozai practiced his bending by attacking a series of dummies, creating blasts of fire with considerable potency.[18] Ozai also held a deep connection to his firebending abilities, detecting the return of his bending with the end of the solar eclipse on the Day of Black Sun despite being underground.[11]

In his final battle with the Avatar, under the influence of Sozin's Comet, Ozai demonstrated significantly enhanced firebending powers, creating massive plumes of fire that were able to travel long distances and shatter stone. He also showed an unorthodox use of firebending to propel himself through the air at high speeds for an extended period of time.[40] He was able to gain the upper hand over Aang, who had the four elements at his disposal and also benefited from the comet's firebending-enhancing energies, but he was ultimately no match for an Avatar State-empowered Aang, who proceeded to remove his bending powers forever as an alternative to killing him.[14]

Lightning generation[]

Ozai generating lightning

Ozai quickly created a blast of lightning upon realizing the eclipse had ended.

Ozai was one of the few firebenders of his time able to generate lightning, and the only known user capable of generating lightning with two hands simultaneously as well as using the technique without a considerable charging time. He demonstrated this ability when facing Zuko during the Day of Black Sun. Despite the sun not having fully returned yet, Ozai was already capable of ferociously attacking his son with a fast-charged, two-handed lightning strike.[11] When his abilities were enhanced by Sozin's Comet, Ozai was capable of generating lightning of such power that it forked out over great distances.[14]

Ozai's ability to rapidly switch between traditional firebending and lightning in midair without any substantial loss in altitude demonstrates his mastery over both schools of firebending, shifting between the mindsets necessary for each one with remarkable speed.[40]

Other skills[]

Despite his extremely ruthless and domineering attitude, Ozai was generally seen as a respected if not loved Fire Lord by his subjects, displaying great leadership, intelligence, charisma, and courage.[41][49] When he actually tried, Ozai could inspire others with his charisma or by invoking his country's national pride.[49] In particular, Fire Nation soldiers displayed substantial loyalty to him during the war; many expressed the belief that Ozai was a well-intentioned ruler and destined to bring order to the world.[54][55][56] To some degree, this view remained popular after his downfall. For instance, Mayor Morishita of Yu Dao compared Ozai with his son one year after the end of the war, concluding that Ozai was a better, more patriotic leader.[41] Ozai's positive public perception was backed by the Fire Lord's widespread use of propaganda, manipulation, and the suppression of dissidents.[23][25][57]

Before his rise to the throne, Ozai employed secret schemes in attempts to gain power.[5] He continued to foster a spy network during his reign,[25] though egotistical and megalomaniac tendencies made it near impossible for him to accept any direct criticism of his own decisions and plans.[25][26] Even during his imprisonment, Ozai displayed a knack for manipulation, as he attempted to take advantage of Zuko's doubts over the pressure of being Fire Lord and goad him into following in his footsteps. Ozai gained a calmer, more logical attitude in prison, displaying great wisdom and a way of thinking ahead of his time, being one of the first to note that the concept of separate nations was halting progress, and was in favor of a union of the various nations.[1]

Ozai surviving impact

Ozai had strong physical durability, so much so that he was able to survive a brutal impact into a stone pillar after an Avatar State-enhanced wind blast.

Aside from his bending, Ozai also possessed strong physical abilities. In general, he was a capable martial artists.[5] During his final battle against Aang, he managed to endure an Avatar State-enhanced wind blast that sent him flying into a stone pillar with enough force to crack it, and recovered from the attack to continue the fight. He also had quick reflexes and a fast reaction time, as he managed to evade and defend himself against the Avatar's barrage of elemental attacks, despite its overwhelming speed, range, and power.[40][14] He moved to attack Zuko when they were both unable to firebend, only backing down when Zuko armed himself with his swords.[11]


Main article: Ozai'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)

Graphic novels

Avatar books

Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game

Avatar games


Film - Ozai

Ozai in the 2010 The Last Airbender film.

  • Ozai's face was not clearly shown for most of the series, until it was finally revealed in "The Awakening". However, a speculative mockup of the Fire Lord's whole face appeared in puppet form at the Fire Days cultural festival that Team Avatar attended.[59] Ozai's face was, however, seen in the movie version, The Last Airbender.
  • Ozai was seen out of his trademark shadow for the very first time during a flashback. Every portion of his body was illuminated except the area around his eyes.[10]
  • Ozai's chop, seen on various documents and wanted posters, is written in seal Script, an archaic style of calligraphy formerly used for government seals and carved inscriptions in China. The modern way to write down the official red seal is 烈火國王敖載印寶, which translates as "Fire Lord Ozai's official seal". Ozai is written as 敖載, which translates as "proudly carry".
  • The flames in Ozai's hands as depicted in his official portrait were black. Coupled with the cogs and pipes in the foreground, the symbols worked together to signify the mass buildup of industry and technological advancements under his rule.
  • As Fire Lord, Ozai's reign was the shortest of all known Fire Nation sovereigns.
    • Despite his short reign, Ozai was the most powerful ruler in the known history of the Avatar World, having authority over eight tenths of the planet: Ozai controlled the entirety of the Fire Nation; he oversaw colonies throughout the Earth Kingdom peninsula and controlled provincial and national capitals, such as Ba Sing Se and Omashu; and he controlled Air Nomad territories that still functioned as Fire Nation bases, such as Whaletail Island.
Ozai (Netflix)

Ozai in Netflix's Avatar: The Last Airbender series.

  • Ozai was almost killed twice by his own lightning but spared.
  • Ozai met every member of Team Avatar at one point in time except Katara.
  • Despite being known for his firebending prowess, Ozai lost both duels he participated in that were fully conducted on screen. The first duel he lost was against Zuko, after the prince redirected the lightning Ozai shot at him. The second duel he participated in was won by his adversary, Avatar Aang.
  • Ozai was different from all other known Fire Lords in that he never held the title of Crown Prince.
  • Ozai was the first parent in the franchise to have attempted to kill his own child, the second being Liling, and the third being Hiroshi Sato.
    • Ozai was also the second known father of a member of a Team Avatar to be antagonistic toward the team, the first being Lao Beifong and the third being Hiroshi Sato. Unlike the other two, however, he was not known to reconcile with his child.
  • Ozai was the first person known to have scarred a close relative, the second being Suyin Beifong. However, Ozai did so deliberately, whereas Suyin scarred Lin by accident.
  • In the video game Avatar: The Last Airbender: Quest for Balance, Ozai is voiced by James Sie, the actor who voiced the cabbage merchant in Avatar: The Last Airbender.[60]
  • Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko, and Janet Varney jokingly stated that Ozai made extensive use of skincare products to maintain his youthful appearance.[61]
Preceded by
Fire Lord
95 AG - 100 AG
Succeeded by

Preceded by
52nd Earth King
Ruler of the Earth Kingdom[nb 2]
A couple of months in 100 AG
Succeeded by
52nd Earth King


  1. According to sketchbook notes of The Search (Omnibus edition), Ozai was thirty when he and Ursa got married, the same year Azulon was eighty-five, which would place the date of the wedding at 85 AG.[3] However, Azulon's age must be a mistake, as Zuko was born in 83 AG.[4] As a result, Ozai's birth date can only be roughly estimated based on the dates provided by The Search.
  2. Avatar Extras for "The Crossroads of Destiny" on Nicktoons Network refers to Ozai's daughter Azula as "Earth Queen Azula" after her coup, meaning that she reigned in the Earth Kingdom as usurper beginning from Long Feng's second incarceration and likely until she left Ba Sing Se. However, during her reign, she was both illegitimate Earth Queen and Fire Nation Princess, and as such still subordinate to Ozai. Thus, Ozai became the de-facto ruler of the Earth Kingdom after the Coup of Ba Sing Se, even though he never officially claimed the title Earth King.


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  33. 33.0 33.1 The Earth Kingdom Chronicles: The Tale of Azula, Chapter 4.
  34. Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game. Core Book, Version 1.0, 2022, p. 24.
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See also[]