You could say that Avatar: The Last Airbender is more than just one of the greatest animated shows ever. It has heart, amazing images, an epic story that even a live-action movie could not repeat. It also has one of the best character arcs in the series and all time in Prince Zuko, son of the fire lord, if the search for the Avatar becomes a friendship with Gaang.
Still, before Zuko could be seen as one of Gaang and loved by fans, he had to undergo a journey. And before that, Zuko did some pretty awful things.
Updated April 1 by Lukas Shayo: Avatar: The Last Airbender was a show that used heavy story lines and themes to establish the action in the world in which it took place. One of the main characters most openly involved in these dark themes was Zuko. Although regularly considered one of the greatest arcs of redemption in the media, the fact that Zuko needed an arc of redemption means that there is something he needs to be redeemed from. In fact, Zuko did terrible things and withdrew several times on his journey to heroism.
15 Left May by leaving a note
After returning to the Fire Nation after his exile, Zuko began a relationship with another high-born, Mai. But after leaving to join Team Avatar, Zuko left her with nothing more than a note. Constant regression was one of Zuko’s worst featuresand Mai was sadly affected by it.
After building their relationship out of a mutual sense of inability to live up to their parents’ expectations, is it so strange that it hurt so much in May when Zuko went without notice? He could at least have told her to her face. Instead, even in the heart of his redemption, he performed another horrible act and broke his girlfriend’s heart.
14 Cruelty to his crew
In the midst of its initial hunt for the Avatar, Zuko’s ship stumbled into the path of a massive storm. Although Iroh warned him of the dangers, Zuko insisted that the Avatar was more important than anyone’s safety.
This case shows how much of a bad influence Ozai had on Zuko. His lack of empathy for his crew was marked by Zuko early on, creating intense selfishness that only became easier after Zuko meditated on his past. Although he proved his high esteem for his crew and their lives at the end of the same episode, it is undeniable that he initially insisted that their lives were worthless in terms of capturing the Avatar.
13 Steal Songs Ostrich Horse
After meeting a young woman named Song, who helped take care of her uncle, Zuko became close to her, and the two soon became love interests. Song had empathy with Zuko’s scars when she was also attacked by a Firebender and the two became attached to their common story. Still, as he walked, Zuko stole his family’s ostrich horse and took it with him.
It is a testament to how far Zuko had fallen: from a proud prince of the Fire Nation to a liar who steals ostriches from families in besieged kingdoms. He could have worked for the family in exchange for the animal, or he could have taken the journey on foot. Even Iroh was disgusted by his behavior, but Zuko did not care and stole the animal anyway.
12 Destroyed Kyoshi Island
While hunting for the Avatar, Zuko encountered Kyoshi Island, home of the Kyoshi Warriors. He and his crew continued to burn the village down in their efforts to search for Aang. Innocent civilians lost their homes just so Zuko could try in vain to regain his honor.
At the moment, Zuko did not even seem to express any regret over having burned the village. It was simply side injury in his fight against Aang. Even children turned out to be in the way of the destruction, but Zuko continued to burn it down. It shows how far he grew, but also what low point he started at.
11 Loyal to an army that committed atrocities
At the start of the series, Zuko was well aware of the atrocities of the air temples and was incredibly loyal to the Fire Nation. Desperate to prove himself to his father, he was happy to help capture and kill Air Nomad’s last hope, which would have meant the completion of what his people started.
To make matters worse, before his redemption, he has never been shown remorse for having helped the Fire Nation Army in view of the atrocities it has committed. In fact, he was more than willing to attack the Northern Water Tribe. Even though he redeemed himself, it’s hard to forget his original loyalty.
10 Hunted and tortured the passage
Probably the most obvious of Zuko’s crimes is how he spent the first season of ATLA: hunts and torments Gaang. Granted, each series needs an antagonist, and along with Admiral Zhao, Zuko fits the role perfectly.
From the extremity of the southern water tribe to the great northern tribe, Zuko’s quest to regain his honor meant doing what needed to be done. Shooting at Gaang and keeping them on their toes every step of the way were just a few of Prince Zuko’s many crimes.
9 Worked with pirates
Now, during his quest to regain his honor, Zuko worked with some rather shady people. From the malevolent Admiral Zhao to the bounty hunter June, Zuko always seemed comfortable around malicious people, especially when it came to the pirates.
Early in season 1, Zuko made a deal with a group of pirates to hunt Aang, Katara and Sokka. Working with pirates may not have been the worst thing Zuko has ever done, but it still shows how far Zuko would go to regain his honor and capture the Avatar.
8 Steal Katara’s necklace
In the list of reprehensible acts committed by Zuko, theft of a necklace is not high on the list. After kidnapping Katara with the help of the pirates, Zuko stole Katara’s necklace and held on to it for some time before Aang stole it back.
While it may not seem important at a glance, the necklace was far more important to Katara than to anyone else. To serve as the last link to her mother, to steal the necklace served as a terrible deed in Katara’s eyes that separated her in a way, her mother.
7 Kidnapped Aang while in Avatar State
After chasing Gaang all over the world, Zuko finally caught up with them season 1’s finale, one of the season’s best episodes, when Admiral Zhao besieged the northern water trunk. After a tough battle with Katara, Zuko managed to grab one immobilized Aang while he was in Avatar mode and drained.
Besides kidnapping Aang, attacking Katara and running into a perilous storm, it was a cheap move on Zuko’s part to take the Avatar while he was not even aware of it, even for a firefighter.
6 Almost stole Appa
Who does not like Appa? Appa, Aang’s sky bison, is an adorable creature that made a name for itself in the ATLA world. When he was kidnapped by sandbenders in season two, fans were expectantly waiting for him and Aang to be reunited and did not expect Zuko to almost steal him.
When Zuko finds Appa under Lake Lagoi and a prisoner of the military force, Da Li, Zuko considers kidnapping Appa to get to Aang, a heinous act in itself, which he fortunately does not make a reality.
5 Betrayed The Gaang
The task of a storyteller is to create a narrative that will capture the viewers, introduce them to sympathetic characters and crush their souls. The final detail happens more often than people think, especially with Zuko at the end of season two.
Just when it seems that Zuko is finally ready to fully stand on Gaang’s side, Azula shows up and persuades his brother to take his side with her. What follows is a betrayal of the worst kind, where Zuko fights Katara and Aang during Ba Sing Look after almost redeeming himself.
4 Led with his rage at the forefront
Despite the insane development Zuko underwent over the course of three seasons, there was always one thing that remained constant: his anger. Even at the end of the series, when Zuko had controlled his rage, he still had plenty of it running through him, and he let it be his primary motivating factor, which often led to less than excellent results.
The rage is what propelled Zuko forward, what made him feel the need to regain his honor and pushed him to commit all these actions. Without that rage, without the anger that pushed and drove him, would Zuko have been the same person?
3 turned his back on Iroh
Each fan has a favorite character in a series and for many ATLA fans, their favorite character was the kind-hearted Uncle Iroh. Seen as the only person besides Gaang and Mai who treated Zuko with respect, fans were horrified when Zuko turned on Iroh.
It was more than betraying Iroh. By the end of season two and the start of three, Zuko had sided with Azula and, despite his best efforts, pushed his uncle away by his betrayal. It’s a miracle Zuko was able to find redemption after that.
2 Honored his Father
Through all ATLA, Zuko is constantly trying to get his honor back and return to Fire Nation. He believes he did something wrong and has to redeem himself in the eyes of his father, Lord Ozai, despite the years of abuse and neglect, a little strange thing knows Avatar series.
Returning to the Fire Nation after helping Azula, who unlike his brother only got worse, fight Katara and Aang, is Zuko, who respects his father and gets his “honor” back. Despite eventually turning his back on his father, Zuko’s actions are still dull given all the horrific deeds that Ozai has committed.
1 Tried to kill Aang
Today, fans tend to associate Aang with Zuko and see them as best friends despite their differences and constant clashes throughout their travels. Still, many audiences seem to forget that Zuko did more than just chase Aang, but at one point almost killed him.
By sending Combustion Man / Sparky Sparky Boom Man, who happens to be a fan’s favorite villain after Aang, after returning to Fire Nation in season three, Zuko was fully prepared for Combustion Man to kill Aang and end the Avatar once for all. Even a renewed friendship can not cover the small failure.
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