Avatar: The Last Airbender is an action-fantasy animated series starring Aang, the last airbender, who seeks to restore world peace. The world has been at war for a hundred years and only the Avatar can save it from the wrath of Fire Lord Ozai. However, Aang has more enemies than Ozai: he must also face Prince Zuko of the Fire Nation.
At first, Prince Zuko was little more than a cartoonish villain, defined by his reckless anger and downfalls when fighting Aang. However, the series cleverly delved into his character, turning him into a round and like-minded person, just frustrated and lost in life, not evil. Zuko’s story arc is remarkable and, in many ways, he has proven to be the best character in the series.
10 Zuko humbly changed his fate
At first, Zuko’s obsession was to capture Aang, believing that his destiny was to dispatch the Fire Nation’s greatest enemy, the Avatar. This would bestow great honor on him in your home. However, his uncle Iroh knew that this was not Zuko’s true destiny, and later, Zuko realized it for himself.
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Zuko gave up his superficial notion of honor and decided to help the Avatar instead. Aang’s destiny was to finish off Ozai, and Zuko’s was to support the Avatar and restore his honor in his own way. Zuko’s destiny is based on peace, not conquest.
9 Zuko changed his mind about his crew
At first, Zuko treated the crew aboard his destroyer as expendable tools, and the crew resented it. Iroh tried to keep the peace between the two sides, and the crew decided to give Zuko another chance and not start a mutiny. Zuko soon proved himself worthy of that trust.
During a storm, Zuko gave up his chance to capture Aang in favor of helping a crewmate who was in mortal danger, and no one, not even Iroh, told him to do so. Zuko decided on his own to look out for his men above his own interests, and that’s commendable.
8 Zuko always had a compassionate heart
In his childhood, Zuko was a nice person, a polite and serious child who never wanted to hurt anyone. It’s true that he often verbally confronted his ruthless sister Azula, but other than that, Zuko was practically like Aang in every way.
This side of Zuko ended up buried under anger and resentment, but it never went away. Zuko has always been the kind boy who fed the turtle ducks pieces of bread and listened to his adorable mother Ursa, and that says a lot about him. This side of him is the one that helped his redemption.
7 Zuko has excellent chemistry with Iroh
When two characters have excellent on-screen chemistry, they have meaningful and deep interactions based on the contrasts and overlapping of their personalities, and they play well with each other. On-screen chemistry is often related to romance, but it can also describe friendships, rivalries, and other aspects.
Zuko and his Uncle Iroh are alike enough to get along, yet different enough that their teasing and arguing is meaningful and shocking. It’s always fun to watch Zuko get exasperated at Iroh’s funny and kind personality.
6 Zuko had a lovely date at Ba Sing Se
During Book Two: Earth, Zuko and Iroh joined the thousands of refugees from the war in the massive city of Ba Sing Se, and made sure to go unnoticed by both the Earth Kingdom and the Fire Nation. They also worked in a tea shop, and one day a customer named Jin visited them, and he immediately took an interest in Zuko.
Zuko was suspicious at first, but Iroh encouraged him to meet Jin, and Zuko and Jin ended up having an awkward but pleasant date that night on the quiet streets of Ba Sing Se. Zuko even lit some fire-bending lanterns to impress Jin, while hiding exactly how he had done it. Zuko warmly informed Iroh that their date night was “nice”.
5 Zuko rescued Aang from Admiral Zhao
Halfway through Book One: Water, Aang was captured at the hands of the scheming Admiral Zhao, and no one came to his rescue. Until a masked ninja in a blue mask arrived who freed him and helped him fight Zhao’s guards.
The “blue spirit” was Zuko in disguise, and Aang regretted that he and Zuko couldn’t become more permanent allies for this reason. At first glance, Zuko rescued Aang to sabotage his rival Zhao, but perhaps a part of him truly feared the idea of the cruel Zhao achieving victory over the Avatar and, by extension, the world.
4 Zuko confronted his father
During the day of the black sun, when the Fire Nation was invaded, Zuko decided that he no longer needed anything from his Fire Lord father and confronted him in Ozai’s underground bunker. As the battle raged on the surface, Zuko declared his intention to support the Avatar and ensure the downfall of Ozai.
This was the point of no return for Zuko, and it was an inspiring and exciting scene to watch. Zuko verbally confronted his tyrannical father, then used Iroh’s technique to redirect Ozai’s beam and escape. If only Aang had been there to witness this.
3 Zuko helped Sokka enter the Boiling Rock
At the end of Book Three: Fire, after Zuko joined the Gaang, Sokka expressed his desire to find and rescue his father, Hakoda, who had been captured during the invasion of the Black Sun. He went to Zuko for help, and he explained the location and purpose of the Boiling Rock, a feared maximum security prison in the Fire Nation.
Zuko was reluctant at first, but eventually agreed to help Sokka rescue Hakoda despite the risks, and this is especially notable since Zuko had no personal connection to Hakoda. Zuko suffered greatly during the Boiling Rock mission, he even had to face Azula again in battle, but everything went well. Zuko was a hero.
2 Zuko fixed his relationship with Mai
Zuko had a turbulent relationship with Mai since childhood in the Fire Nation capital, and they had their share of drama during major events in Avatar. Zuko and Mai were grumpy and teased each other for a while, then mending the ties in the third book and breaking up.
Zuko took on the responsibility of leaving a “I’m breaking up with you” note, and he and Mai fixed their relationship forever at the end of the series. Zuko had resolved his inner turmoil, and that made him a more loyal and stable boyfriend for Mai.
1 Zuko held onto hope despite his many difficulties
Most of the main characters in Avatar they suffered hardships and hardships, from Aang, who lost his entire air nomad civilization, to Sokka and Katara, who lost their mother, to Azula, who broke under the pressure of being perfect. Zuko was arguably the one who suffered the most.
Zuko was put to the test everywhere: his own family, his native nation, Aang’s group, and many strangers along the way. His situation seemed hopeless, but despite stress, difficulties, and doubts, Zuko persisted and kept fighting to do the right thing, no matter how many enemies he had. That is deeply commendable, even before his redemption.
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