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Szeto was the Fire Nation Avatar preceding Avatar Yangchen. Living in an era of immense crisis that threatened to destroy the Fire Nation, Szeto saved his home country by becoming a bureaucrat, diplomat, and accountant in service of Fire Lord Yosor. Eventually rising to Grand Advisor, Szeto greatly strengthened the Fire Nation's government, restored economic balance, and set up programs to aid the poor and needy.[1]



Szeto was born into an era of great strife in the Fire Nation. Plagues and natural disasters destroyed the people's livelihoods, while violent conflicts between the nation's noble clans threatened to tear the nation apart. To rescue his homeland, Szeto opted for an extremely unusual approach. Instead of taking control himself or forcefully trying to enforce his decisions as was his right as Avatar, he became a junior minister in the Fire Nation's government. He rejected any privileges, and began to work as a regular official, advancing in the ranks according to his achievements instead of any birthrights. He accepted orders from Fire Lord Yosor, and senior ministers, and began to improve his country by using its bureaucracy.

Proving himself to be a talented bureaucrat, diplomat, and accountant, Szeto reinforced the government's authority, as him working for the Fire Lord meant that all his achievements also positively reflected on the Fire Nation's central government. Eventually, he was appointed Grand Advisor to Fire Lord Yosor, and brokered a lasting peace among the noble clans. Thereafter, Szeto concentrated on restoring the Fire Nation's economy which had greatly suffered from unrest and mismanagement. As Grand Advisor, he ended the debasement of coins, and set up the first official relief programs for farmers in times of famine. All the while, he kept meticulous records of his work.[1]

Szeto eventually died and was reincarnated as Yangchen of the Western Air Temple in accordance with the Avatar Cycle.


After his death, he was included alongside other Fire Avatars in the Fire Nation Royal Palace's Royal Gallery. His painting depicted him in his trademark minister robes, holding an abacus and a large stamp. He became a revered figure in the Fire Nation, and a festival was set up in his honor.[1]

Appearances in Aang's life

Avatar Szeto was capable of lavabending.

Szeto first appeared to Aang in a spiritual vision directed by Avatar Roku, in which he was lavabending the magma from four volcanoes while in the Avatar State.[3] The young airbender saw him again briefly in a similar vision during the battle at Wulong Forest, this time among a great number of Avatars all standing in a line, upon regaining his ability to enter the Avatar State.[4]

Aang temporarily lost his connection to Szeto after removing the firebending emblem from his meditation beads;[5] however, upon crafting and attaching a new one, he saw him again in a lineup of his past lives to indicate his restored link.[6]

Appearances in Korra's life

Szeto was present, along with all the other Avatars, when Aang passed on the knowledge of energybending to Korra and restored her bending, representing the newly established connection she had made with her spiritual self.[7]

After Unalaq had merged with Vaatu and proceeded to attack Raava, Szeto was present in the Avatar lineup that Korra envisioned; however, his connection to the latter was severed due to Unalaq's assault on and subsequent destruction of the Light Spirit.[8]


Avatar: The Last Airbender

Book Two: Earth (土)

Book Three: Fire (火)

Graphic novels

The Legend of Korra

Book One: Air (气)

Book Two: Spirits (神靈)

Book Four: Balance (平衡)


  • Szeto was the first known character to lavabend.
  • Though Szeto first appeared in 2006, his name was only revealed 14 years later in The Shadow of Kyoshi.[2]
  • The name Szeto originates from the ancient Chinese title Situ, which can be translated as "Minister over the Masses".[9]
  • Prior to his name being revealed in The Shadow of Kyoshi, a popular fan-based nickname for him was Jafar, after the villain of the same name from the Disney animated movie, Aladdin, due to their similar headwear.
Preceded by
Unnamed male Earth Avatar; eventually Salai[2][10]
Unknown (BG)
Succeeded by


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 21, 2020). Chapter Five, "Cultural Diplomacy". The Shadow of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Yee, F.C. (March 15, 2020). That Avatar has a different name that will be revealed. Twitter. Retrieved on March 15, 2020.
  3. 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. DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director). (July 19, 2008). "Sozin's Comet, Part 4: Avatar Aang". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 21. Nickelodeon.
  5. 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 Two (July 2, 2014), 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). The Rift Part Three (November 5, 2014), Dark Horse Comics.
  7. DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim, Ryu, Ki Hyun (directors). (June 23, 2012). "Endgame". The Legend of Korra. Book One: Air. Episode 12. Nickelodeon.
  8. Hamilton, Joshua (writer) & Heck, Colin (director). (November 22, 2013). "Darkness Falls". The Legend of Korra. Book Two: Spirits. Episode 13. Nickelodeon.
  9. Situ (surname). Wikipedia. Retrieved on September 1, 2020.
  10. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Six, "Promises". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.