Zuko

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Zuko
Avatar: The Last Airbender/The Legend of Korra character
Prince Zuko.jpg
Voiced by Dante Basco[1]
Bruce Davison (The Legend of Korra)

Dev Patel (The Last Airbender video game)
Elijah Runcorn (Young Zuko)
Information
Aliases Prince Zuko
The Blue Spirit (alter ego)
Lee (refugee alias)
Junior (refugee alias)
Fire Lord Zuko
Lord Zuko
Gender Male
Relatives Ozai (father)
Ursa (mother)
Azula (younger sister)
Iroh (paternal uncle)
Lu Ten (first cousin)
Azulon (paternal grandfather)
Ilah (paternal grandmother)
Sozin (paternal great-grandfather)
Roku (maternal great-grandfather)
Iroh II (grandson)
Ta Min (maternal great-grandmother)
Jinzuk (maternal grandfather)
Rina (maternal grandmother)
Unnamed daughter
Ikem (stepfather)
Kiyi (maternal half-sister)
Nationality Fire Nation
Bending Element Fire
Lightning Redirection
Hair color Black
Eye color Gold
Position Antagonist (Book 1 and The Promise Part 2-3)
Antihero (end of Book 1-first half of Book 3)
Protagonist (Book 3-The Promise Part 2 and The Promise Part 3-present)

Zuko is a fictional character in Nickelodeon's animated television series Avatar: The Last Airbender. Created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, the character is voiced by Dante Basco and is portrayed by Dev Patel in M. Night Shyamalan's 2010 film The Last Airbender.

Zuko is the Crown Prince of the Fire Nation, and an incredibly strong and powerful Firebender, meaning he has the elemental ability to create, control, and manipulate fire, flame, heat and to redirect lightning through martial arts. He is the eldest child of Fire Lord Ozai and Princess Ursa, and older brother of Princess Azula. Before the events of the series, Zuko is exiled from the Fire Nation by his father and told to capture the Avatar, to restore his honor and right to the throne. Zuko is accompanied and advised in his search by his uncle, Iroh. Over time, Zuko sympathizes with oppressed peoples, and joins the Avatar to restore peace. Zuko has two well known great-grandfathers: on his father's side, Fire Lord Sozin, who started the hundred-year-war, and on his mother's side Avatar Roku, the Avatar preceding Aang.

In "The Deserter", Zuko's name was listed on a Fire Nation wanted poster as "祖寇" (zǔ kòu). In "Tales of Ba Sing Se", his name was written as "蘇科" (sū kè) on his segment's title card.

Plot overview[edit]

Early life[edit]

A few years before the events of the series, Crown Prince Zuko voiced opposition to a general's suggestion that the Fire Nation soldiers be sacrificed in their nation's battle with the Earth Kingdom. Ordered to submit to a ritual duel by his father, Zuko accepted the challenge believing that he would fight the general who proposed the plan; but learns that his father, Fire Lord Ozai, was the one who designed it. When Zuko refused to fight his father, the Fire Lord scarred him over his left eye and sent him into exile. Zuko's uncle, the decorated general Iroh, decided to join him as a companion and tutor.

Book One: Water[edit]

At the beginning of the series, Zuko is introduced as an antagonist and who is searching for Aang in hopes of reclaiming his honor, and throughout the season is hot on the Avatar's trail, at times both helped and hindered by Iroh. Zuko gains a competitor in Zhao, an ambitious Fire Nation admiral, against whom Zuko assumes the identity of the 'Blue Spirit' to rescue Aang from Zhao's fortress. During the invasion of the Northern Water Tribe, Zuko captures Aang, but both are nearly killed. Aang then saves Zuko from dying of cold. Ozai thereafter assigns Zuko's younger sister Azula to seize Zuko and Iroh due to their roles in halting the invasion.

Book Two: Earth[edit]

Pursued by Azula, Zuko and Iroh travel the Earth Kingdom. After briefly quarreling with and parting ways with Iroh, Zuko reunites with his uncle against Azula. Soon after, Zuko and Iroh enter Ba Sing Se for safety, meeting Jet in the process. Despite Jet's actions against them, Iroh establishes a tea shop in the city's slums. Zuko remains amenable to this lifestyle until he learns of Aang's presence in Ba Sing Se and attempts to steal Appa. Infiltrating the city to stage a coup, Azula arranges a trap for Zuko and Iroh. Captured and placed in Crystal Catacombs, Zuko encounters Katara, and both are rescued by Aang. Azula convinces Zuko to help her; whereupon Aang is wounded and Iroh arrested.

Book Three: Fire[edit]

Returning to his country a hero, Zuko learns that Azula transferred the repute of killing the Avatar to him, and hires an assassin to ensure Aang's death. Zuko visits his imprisoned uncle prior to learning that he is maternally a descendent of Avatar Roku, Aang's previous incarnation. Prior to the Day of Black Sun, Zuko inadvertently catalyzes his father's plan to destroy the Earth Kingdom with Sozin's Comet. Confronting Ozai during the eclipse, Zuko states his intention to help Aang. Although they initially reject him, Aang and his companions accept Zuko as a firebending teacher for Aang, after the two of them find their world's last dragons to rediscover the long-forgotten source of firebending.

After helping Sokka free Suki and Hakoda from the Boiling Rock prison, Zuko amends with Katara by locating her mother's killer. When Aang disappears shortly before Sozin's Comet, Zuko is made temporary leader to find him, and instead reconciles with Iroh. Arriving at the Fire Nation capital with Katara, Zuko confronts Azula for the throne. When Azula faces defeat she forces Zuko to save Katara, which leaves him wounded and immobile. Katara defeats Azula and heals Zuko. After Aang wins the war, Zuko becomes the new Fire Lord, promising peace.

Avatar: The Promise[edit]

One year after the hundred-year war has ended and seventeen-year old Zuko has been crowned Fire Lord, he demands for the whereabouts of his long-lost mother, Ursa, but the conversation takes a different path wherein Zuko must establish inter-ethnic peace in a Fire Nation colony. In the end, the Harmony Restoration Movement cools the tension between both sides.

Avatar: The Search[edit]

In the sequel to the first comic book adaptation of the cartoon series, The Search, Zuko sets his younger sister Azula with his father Ozai to discuss finding his long-lost mother Ursa. It is later revealed that Azula has access to letters written by Ursa to Ikem (a possible paramour), hidden away by Ozai. It is also revealed that Azula wishes to kill Ursa. Later, Zuko finds a note Azula concealed, that Ursa wanted to return to her hometown, but refrained to protect Zuko. Ozai lied to Ursa and told her he had Ikem killed. In order to save Zuko's life Ursa made Ozai a toxic potion he could use on his father Azulon and become Fire Lord. After her banishment Ursa returned to her hometown and found Ikem still alive but with a new face and name given to him by a spirit to protect himself. Ursa is granted a new face as well, but chooses to have her memories of her children erased because she cannot bear the pain of having been separated from them. She then marries Ikem with her new identity and they have a daughter together. Azula tracks their mother down and almost kills her but is stopped by Zuko. Without her memories Ursa apologizes for not loving her enough and abandoning her if she really is Azula's mother. Azula's mind is still broken and she runs off into the forest rejecting Zuko's offer to help. Ursa has her old face and memories restored and also apologizes to Zuko who does not blame her. In the following comic story arc The Rift, Iroh mentions Ursa and her new family are visiting the Fire Nation capital with Zuko's support.

The Legend of Korra[edit]

In the sequel series The Legend of Korra, now eighty-eight years old in the storyline, it is revealed that Fire Lord Zuko aided Aang in the creation of the "United Republic of Nations" after the Hundred Year War. The creators of the series revealed by the time of the series, he has abdicated his position as Fire Lord in favor of his (as yet unnamed) daughter and travels the world, usually on his dragon, as an ambassador for peace. He is memorialized by a statue at Republic City's Central City Station. His grandson Iroh (also voiced by Dante Basco) serves as a general of the United Forces alongside Aang's eldest son, Bumi. Making his appearance in Book Three: Change, Zuko is revealed to have been working with the Order of the White Lotus to keep major threats in check while Korra was still in training. Most notably, he worked alongside Sokka, Tenzin (Aang's other son), and Lin Beifong to thwart an attempt by the criminal Zaheer and his Red Lotus followers to kidnap Korra when she was a child. Fourteen years later, Zuko learnt of Zaheer's new air bending skills and subsequent escape. He enlists Korra's father Tonraq and her cousins, Desna and Eska, to keep the last of Zaheer's allies from being freed, but their efforts were unsuccessful.

Zuko returns with Lin Beifong and Tonraq at the Misty Palms Inn to assist the new Avatar and her best friends in stopping the Red Lotus once and for all. He is pleased to meet Korra as a teenage girl, as he had first met her when she was a young child, shortly after her identification as the next Avatar after Aang. As the Red Lotus was targeting great leaders of all four nations, Zuko was ready to return to the Fire Nation in an attempt to keep the Fire Lord, his dear daughter, safe. As he and Aang were the best and closest of friends, Zuko assured Korra that her previous incarnation would have done anything to protect the reborn nation of Air Nomads from any harm. The aged firebender was surprised that Korra had spoken twice with his paternal uncle Iroh, in the spirit world. Two weeks later, after the defeat of Zaheer's plans, Zuko was present for Jinora's ceremony of airbending mastery.

Firebending and Special Skills[edit]

Firebending[edit]

Despite his youth, Zuko is highly skilled in Firebending, and has shown great agility and strength. His chief education in this is derived from his uncle Iroh; flashbacks reveal that Zuko's skills were subpar as a preteen, but that they improved dramatically under Iroh's tutelage. He is twice shown to be a match in combat to his sister Azula, although he is not quite as powerful as she (Zuko cannot generate lightning) and is depicted throughout the series as both powerful and skillful in both martial and aesthetic applications of fire bending.

Other skills[edit]

Zuko has also shown himself skilled in the use of the double broadswords, as in the episode "The Blue Spirit" wherein he withstands a large number of adversaries therewith. In "Avatar: The Lost Adventures", it was revealed that he studied under Master Piandao, his uncle's colleague. Zuko has also demonstrated an ability in stealth and unarmed combat, as when able to infiltrate a Fire Nation fortress, the Northern Water Tribe's city, and the Dai Li's base in the Earth Kingdom without detection.[2][3] His proficiency at stealth was also utilized during the episode "The Southern Raiders" in which he and Katara stalked and cornered the former commander of the eponymous Raiders in his home village without revealing themselves. Avatar Extras revealed he has abnormal hearing and that he is also naturally gifted at playing the Tsungi horn (though he is never heard playing).

Appearance[edit]

Zuko is a handsome young man with pale skin, golden eyes, and black hair. The majority of the left side of his face is taken up by a distinctive scar he received from a disastrous Agni Kai against his father Ozai. In Book One, Zuko has a shaved head with a ponytail. In Book Two, he cuts off his ponytail in the season premiere and allows his hair to grow. He obtains a topknot in Book Three, but is often seen without it. Zuko has a muscular physique in Book One but becomes thinner as the series progresses. In Legend of Korra, the elderly Zuko sports a lengthy beard and long white hair. He is still quite fit despite his elderly age of eighty-eight.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Dante Basco". 2005. Retrieved 2008-03-31. 
  2. ^ Director: Dave Filoni; Writers: Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko (2005-06-17). "The Blue Spirit". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 13. Nickelodeon.
  3. ^ "Zuko Alone". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2 (Book 2). Episode 7. 2006-05-12. Nickelodeon.

External links[edit]