- This article is about the firebending tribe. For other similar uses, see Tribe (disambiguation).
|"Fire is life, not just destruction."|
|— Part of the Sun Warrior philosophy imparted by the Sun Warrior chief to Aang.|
The Sun Warriors are the people of the ancient civilization who first discovered firebending from the dragons. The precursors to the modern-day Fire Nation, most of the rest of the world believed they had died out before the Hundred Year War. They are still alive, however, having gone into complete isolation around the era of Roku, and live in secrecy near the ruins of their once-thriving city, where they retain their unique cultural and philosophical traits.
The Sun Warriors were the first people to master firebending after humans left the lion turtle cities, and are one of the earliest known firebending cultures on the Fire Islands, predating the Fire Nation's formation by thousands of years. They learned the art of firebending directly from the dragons, and the latter gifted their civilization with the so-called Eternal Flame which is said to be the first fire given to mankind by the dragons. They kept it burning for thousands of years. At some point, the Sun Warriors began to harbor two great firebending masters, Ran and Shaw, two dragons, one red and one blue. These dragons passed on the secrets of firebending by breathing a multicolored flame over those they deem worthy.
During the era of Roku, the Sun Warriors went into total isolation during a world that was beginning to forget the importance of spirituality in an age of rampant industrialization, and when the Fire Nation began hunting the dragons. Late in the Hundred Year War, those in the Fire Nation were taught that the Sun Warriors had died out "thousands of years" before the war.
The Sun Warriors preferred to keep their society secret from the outside world as the Great War raged; therefore, anyone who discovered their tribe and was deemed worthy to be taught the nature of firebending was instructed to never reveal the existence of the tribe to anybody else. Iroh kept his promise and claimed to have killed the last dragons after Ran and Shaw taught him the virtue of temperance, while the Sun Warriors taught him the breath of fire. Later on, Aang and Zuko found the civilization as well and learned its philosophy. They too kept their word, seeing that while they did mention the form of firebending they learned, they made no mention of the supposedly lost civilization.
After becoming Fire Lord, Zuko strove to honor the Sun Warriors' traditions by teaching their philosophy and methods to the next generation in the Fire Nation. He made sure that their knowledge would not be lost after he left the throne. Their forms of firebending movements like the Dancing Dragon became mandatory in schools, and their calm yet fiery demeanor taught as the precursor to anyone learning to firebend.
The Sun Warriors have maintained their ancient philosophy regarding firebending for thousands of years. As a result, their teachings were still based upon the life-giving and creative aspects of fire even as other firebenders around the world embraced the art's more destructive elements. As their name suggests, they draw the power of their firebending from the sun's energy, focusing on physical heat as well as spiritual enlightenment and idealism.
The Sun Warriors developed all the original firebending forms, such as the Dancing Dragon.
- The culture of the Sun Warriors is primarily based on civilizations from ancient pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, including the Aztec, Incan, and Mayan empires. These civilizations were sun worshipers and careful observers of astrological movement. The architectural framework from these empires resembles one of the first buildings shown in the Sun Warriors' ancient city.
- The Sun Warriors are heavily inspired by ancient Native American and South and Southeast Asian cultures.
- The primary ziggurat in the Sun Warrior compound bears a striking resemblance to the Candi Sukuh in Indonesia. Step pyramid-style ziggurats also exist in Mesopotamian and Mesoamerican architecture.
- The Sun Warrior compound includes architecture inspired by Southeast Asian landmarks, such as the Angkor Wat and the Phanom Rung.
- The tribe's clothing is reminiscent of traditional Southeast Asian warrior attire, particularly the headdress of the leader, which resembled Iban feather headdresses, and their pants resemble the Indian dhoti.
- The Sun Warriors' chants at the Dragon Ceremony sound similar to the chants at the end credits of Avatar.
- The way most Sun Warriors wear their hair resembles Zuko's ponytail in the first book.
- Iroh had previous knowledge of this tribe, and it was the origin of his nickname, "The Dragon of the West".
- Despite their isolation and secrecy, they have a surprisingly high amount of knowledge of current events, including the details of the Hundred Year War and the disappearance of the Avatar.
- They are some of the only firebenders shown whose bending had not been distorted by rage and hate like the firebenders during the Hundred Year War.
- O'Bryan, John (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (July 15, 2008). "The Firebending Masters". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 13. Nickelodeon.
- Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game. Core Book, Version 1.0, 2022, p. 25.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender: Legacy of the Fire Nation, page 17.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender Cookbook: Official Recipes from the Four Nations, p. 121.