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|“||You're weak, just like the rest of your people! They did not deserve to exist in this world — in my world! Prepare to join them. Prepare to DIE!||„|
|~ Ozai thinking he's about to kill Avatar Aang.|
Ozai, formerly known as Fire Lord Ozai and The Phoenix King, is one of the main antagonists of the Avatar: The Last Airbender franchise.
He is the Fire Lord of the Fire Nation, the second son of Azulon and Ilah, the younger brother of Iroh, the father of Zuko and Azula, the ex-husband of Ursa, the uncle of Lu Ten and the grandson of Sozin. He is Avatar Aang's arch-nemesis and wishes to destroy the other three elemental nations and bring the world under his control.
He is the main antagonist of the animated Nickelodeon television series Avatar: The Last Airbender, serving as the unseen overarching antagonist of the first two seasons Book One: Water and Book Two: Earth, and the main antagonist of the third and final season Book Three: Fire, as well as the overarching antagonist of the sequel comic series published by Dark Horse Comics and the 2010 critically-panned live-action film adaptation of Book One, The Last Airbender.
- 1 History
- 2 Synopsis
- 3 Personality
- 4 Powers and Abilities
- 5 Enemies
- 6 Appearances
- 7 Quotes
- 8 Trivia
- 9 Navigation
Ozai was born to Fire Lord Azulon, as the younger brother to Fire Prince Iroh, who was favored by their father and who would inherit the throne. He married a generous noblewoman named Ursa, who bore two children, Prince Zuko, the eldest who was favored by Ursa, and Princess Azula, who Ozai would favor and who would become a prodigy in the art of Firebending. It is speculated that Ozai favored his daughter Azula and disfavored Zuko for another reason as well; Zuko was firstborn, just as the favored Iroh had been, while Azula was second in succession just as Ozai had been most of his life. Another reason is that Ursa untruthfully wrote in a letter that Zuko was the son of her previous boyfriend, Ikem, and when Ursa said she wished it was true, Ozai started to treat Zuko as if he was Ikem's son out of spite and jealousy.
When his nephew Lu Ten was killed in battle Ozai believed Iroh (in his grief) would not be capable as Fire Lord. He asked his father, Azulon to relinquish the title of Fire Lord to him, noting that he would be capable of maintaining the royal bloodline. Outraged by this request, Azulon ordered Ozai to kill his son, Zuko. At first, Ozai was willing to comply with this request. However, Ursa managed to save her son's life by taking his place. However, instead of being killed, she was banished. Azulon mysteriously died at about the same time (it was revealed in the comic The Search that Ursa had actually procured a poison for Ozai, with which he committed patricide on his father), and at his funeral, Ozai was crowned Fire Lord, as Iroh was too sad to accept the role as leader of the Fire Nation.
Later in life, when Zuko was thirteen years old, he attended a military meeting, where one of Ozai's generals suggested that they send a group of soldiers to distract the troops of the Earth Kingdom while they had their other soldiers ambush the Earth army and then overcome the capital of the Earth Kingdom, Ba Sing Se. Outraged, Zuko spoke out against this plan, and he was punished severely: being forced into an Agni Kai against his own father. Zuko was unwilling to hurt his father, and as a result, the Fire Lord blasted his son with powerful flames, creating Zuko's characteristic huge scar on his face as he begged for mercy. Ozai banished Zuko until he found the Avatar, master of the four elements.
Ozai is mentioned several times throughout the show but rarely appears. He is first mentioned by name in the episode "King of Omashu", by King Bumi. Most of his appearances are in visions that Aang has or in flashbacks of Zuko's past. The first time we see him outside of flashbacks of visions is in the finale of the first season, where he gives his daughter Azula the orders to capture his son and brother, who he blames for the failure in the invasion of the Northern Water Tribe. However, in all of his appearances prior to Season 3, his face is covered by shadows. In the Season 2 episode "Zuko Alone", his eyes are not shown.
He appears far more in the very last season of the show, where his face is shown for the first time when he welcomes his son Zuko back home after he helped Azula and the Dai Li "kill" the Avatar (he survived thanks to some mystical healing water) and conquer Ba Sing Se. Throughout the first half of the season, Aang's gang and Zuko see many paintings and statues of him. Aang also has a series of nightmares about his upcoming battle with the Fire Lord. The night before the Avatar and his allies invade the capital of the Fire Nation, where the solar eclipse will stop any firebending, the Fire Lord holds a war meeting with his children and his general. At this meeting, he came up with the plan to use his newly built airships to commit genocide against the people of the Earth Kingdom, leaving only the Fire Nation and the massively divided people of the Water Tribe left on the planet. This was it; he was evil, heartless and must be put down like a sick dog.
During the invasion, Ozai and many other nobles and soldiers hid in a giant metal underground dome near the capital city. Zuko confronted his father during the eclipse, informing him of his choice to join the Avatar, teach him Firebending and free the Fire Nation from Ozai's tyranny. When he is about to leave, Ozai tricks him into staying by telling him the story of his mother's death, revealing that she may still be alive. When he finishes the story, the eclipse ends and he shoots lightning at Zuko, who redirects it and escapes.
His next appearance is around three days before Sozin's Comet arrives, which will increase the powers of any firebender to an extreme degree. He appoints Azula as the new Fire Lord, as he will be known as the Phoenix King, who will rule over all the nations and it's leaders. On the day of the comet's arrival, he boards the largest of the Fire Nations fleet of airships and heads towards the Earth Kingdom. While some of the Avatar's comrades take control of an airship and sabotage the rest of the fleet, Avatar Aang, having learned how to use all four elements, destroys the engine of Ozai's flagship and they begin to duel. For most of the fight, Aang and the Fire Lord are equally matched, with Aang using his skill in each bending art to block and evade most – if not all – of Ozai's blows.
Eventually, Ozai began to use his lightning-bending abilities, which backfires when Aang reveals his power to redirect it at Ozai. However, unwilling to kill another human being, he willingly misses the Phoenix King, who begins to overpower the Avatar, forcing him to retreat and protect himself in a boulder. After many strong blows, Ozai shatters the rock with a single jet of fire and sends Aang flying. However, this proves to be the Fire Lord's greatest mistake. As Aang was thrown back by the blast, a piece of rock pierces the scar on his back where Azula killed him, causing him to abruptly reconnect with the energy of the universe. Ozai attempts to finish off Aang only to be confronted with the young airbender returned in the Avatar State (where he has the power and knowledge of all the past Avatars) who seized him by his beard. He proceeds to overpower Ozai in every way, manipulating the four elements in logic-defying ways, finally pinning Ozai down. Yet, as Aang prepares to deliver the final blow, he falters- still unwilling to take a life- abandoning the Avatar State and releases Ozai.
Ozai calls him weak and attacks him from behind, but Aang traps him a final time and uses forgotten art called "Energybending" to take away Ozai's bending powers. During the battle, the Avatar's allies, defeated Azula, retook Ba Sing Se and destroyed the Fire Nation's fleet. With Ozai defeated, powerless, and broken, Zuko (as the new Fire Lord) throws Ozai into prison and interrogates him on the whereabouts of his mother.
While his time in prison, Ukano and the other Ozai loyalists establish the New Ozai Society to rid Fire Lord Zuko from power. It ends up with Ukano being sent to prison after saving children from Azula and the Fire Warriors. He later confronted by Ursa, telling him that he had a weak heart as he told her to come back and grovel. This event shattered his confidence.
By the time of The Legend of Korra, it is unknown how Ozai died as he may have died of natural causes or may well have been finally executed for his actions.
|“||After all these years, I can finally see you, Ozai. You're just a small, small man trying with all your might to be big. Your heart is so small, you've no room for your son, or your daughter, or your brother... or even yourself. Goodbye, Ozai.||„|
|~ Ursa confronts Ozai about his true nature after she had enough of his tyranny.|
|“||I finally have you, but I can't get you home because of this blizzard. (*Stands up and looks outside the cave*) There's always something. Not that you would understand. You're like my sister. Everything always came easy to her. She's a firebending prodigy, and everyone adores her. My father says she was born lucky. He says I was lucky to be born. I don't need luck, though. I don't want it. I've always had to struggle and fight and that's made me strong. It's made me who I am.||„|
|~ Zuko describes his relationship with his father, Ozai, to Aang in comparison to his father's relationship with his sister, Azula, though Aang did not hear him.|
Ozai was tyrannical, cruel, manipulative, sadistic, ruthless, blasphemous, duplicitous, harsh-tempered, arrogant, vengeful, greedy, domineering and insatiably power-hungry. He exhibited these traits from an early age, and Iroh noted that they stemmed from a deep-seated pathological psychology. According to him, Ozai lacked empathy, was "not the understanding type", and did never regret, forgive, or change his mind about anything. Believing morality to be a sign of weakness, Ozai found peace and kindness laughable concepts and despised those who followed moral principles. As such, he possessed little to no empathy and rarely showed any interest in the feelings of others.
This behavior was strongly influenced by his obsession with control and in order to achieve total control over the Fire Nation, Ozai was even willing to sacrifice his own family. When ordered by Azulon to kill Zuko so that he would know the pain of losing a son, Ozai admitted to Zuko that he would have gladly carried out the murder had Ursa not interfered. Eventually, he murdered his own father in order to usurp his brother's birthright and become Fire Lord. Similarly, he did not hesitate to sacrifice his subordinates if that meant he would obtain more power. As a result, Ozai supported the idea of sacrificing new recruits to defeat a powerful Earth Kingdom battalion so he could get closer to controlling Ba Sing Se. Likewise, he decided to use the power of Sozin's Comet to destroy the Earth Kingdom without standing still with the human loss that would mean. Despite that, Ozai did believe that a Fire Lord's duty was to protect his people, though he reasoned that was because they were extensions of his divine will as Fire Lord; by attacking them, an opponent attacked him. The ultimate expression of his obsession with control was his aspiration in life to conquer the entire world.
Nevertheless, in his younger years, Ozai showed limited care and compassion for his own family. Despite their strained relationship, Ozai and Iroh were closer while they were still in school, though the latter distanced himself from his brother when he realized that he had a "heart of ice". When Ursa begged him to spare her former lover, Ozai complied to the request after being called "my love" by his future wife. When he planned to cast his infant son from the palace, Ozai gave in after Ursa and the Fire Sages pleaded with him to give Zuko a chance. Ozai believed that he attempted to be a good father in his early years, a view shared by both Zuko and Azula. However, his pride, anger, and lust for power degraded his relationship with his family. He believed skill and accomplishment determined worth, which allowed the naturally cruel, cunning and talented Azula to rise to the position of his favorite child, while he ignored or psychologically abused Zuko. He had no qualms about making Zuko's life miserable just to get back at Ursa for snapping at him that she wished that Zuko was Ikem's son, rather than his. While his relationship with Zuko had always been tense, thenceforth Ozai began to torture Zuko with his perceived inferiority, saying that Azula was "born lucky", while he was "lucky to be born". After his wife's banishment, he continued to be psychologically abusive toward both of his children and physically abusive toward his son. When Zuko was thirteen, Ozai burned his face and banished him from his country, simply because Zuko spoke out of turn during a war meeting, an action for which he never showed any remorse and merely claimed it to have been a lesson in respect. He only acknowledged Zuko when he helped his sister conquer Ba Sing Se and when he "killed" the Avatar. Eventually, Ozai attempted to kill Zuko when the latter announced his intent to join the Avatar, thereby defying his father. On the other hand, Ozai raised Azula to become his future heir, expecting nothing less than the best from her, which placed a great amount of stress on her and forced her to become a perfectionist. Ultimately, it was the environment in which Ozai raised Azula, where fear, intelligence, tyranny, destruction, power and perfection were the only reliable truths, that set the groundwork for her total mental collapse.
However, despite his behavior toward his children, Ozai appeared to be remarkably forgiving of failure for certain people, such as War Minister Qin and Zhao, who retained their positions and, in Zhao's case, was repeatedly promoted, despite repeated failures and bungles. Nonetheless, he saw his subordinates as expendable and replaceable, having no tolerance for those who failed to impress him, such as Kunyo or Vachir.
By the time Ozai crowned himself Phoenix King, he began to exhibit extreme megalomania, claiming to own the Earth and to "have all the power in the world".
- "Do you think being Fire Lord is easy?! The throne comes with many pressures, and those pressures will change you! But if you can stand the heat, you'll become something more. Of all the people in the world, I have the wisdom you need, the wisdom of experience! Be honest with yourself, Zuko – Do you really believe you can handle it all on your own?"
- ―Ozai questions Zuko about the challenges of being Fire Lord.
After being stripped of both his bending and his throne, Ozai apparently still retained his domineering personality, as he casually lectured Fire Lord Zuko when he came to visit Ozai in jail. However, he would develop a calmer, more logical attitude toward life as he thought that Aang's belief of maintaining the four separate nations would only halt progress. This is apparently true as Yu Dao, a city that combined the effort from citizens of both the Fire Nation and the Earth Kingdom, grew from a small village to a very developed area. As Zuko sought out Ozai for advice, through their discussions, it was revealed that Ozai believed that good and evil, and even strength and weakness, were meaningless concepts. He believed that the only right and wrong were what he, or more accurately, the Fire Lord, decided, due to his divine right to rule. Any choice he made was the right one, simply by virtue of it being his choice, and that indecisiveness and attempts to guide oneself by moral principles were signs of weakness, traits he despised in Zuko.
Powers and Abilities
In his prime, Ozai was an extremely powerful and skilled firebender, being perhaps the most powerful bender of any kind in the world of his time, with the only ones deemed capable of rivalling/surpassing him being Avatar Aang and his older brother, Iroh, although Iroh, himself an immensely powerful firebending master, acknowledged while he could contend with Ozai, he was not fully sure he could defeat him. Sokka also stated that Aang at the level he was with only three elements at his disposal and even after he had become proficient in Firebending would still lose against Ozai. Ozai's bending style was extremely liberal and stressed overbearing, internal force, taking full advantage of the rage-fueled firebending style to produce flame jets and fireballs of considerable potency, which he could notably do without needing to charge, as shown in one of his practice sessions while not yet Fire Lord. While Fire Lord and sitting on his throne, he was shown capable of manipulating the ambient fire surrounding it with sheer will alone, making it flare and dance without requiring any gestures. Ozai was deeply in touch with his firebending abilities, as seen when he was able to detect when his powers returned immediately following a solar eclipse from deep underground in a bunker.
Under the influence of Sozin's Comet, Ozai's firebending was noticeably enhanced and he would display his surpassing prowess and power as a Firebender by single-handedly producing waves of fire larger than entire teams of regular comet-enhanced firebenders working together. He could also produce high-heat explosions and condensed jets of flame for close combat with the same destructive power. The blasts of flame he could produce were powerful enough to travel long distances without weakening, shatter stone, and propel him through the air at high speeds for extended periods of time. He was capable of fighting Aang on equal grounds and even gaining the upper hand despite Aang's mastery of all the four elements, albeit granted he had not at the time achieved full mastery over all of them and was not at the height of his abilities, only being overpowered when Aang entered the Avatar State.
Following his defeat at the hands of Avatar Aang, Ozai was stripped of all of his firebending powers, rendering him relatively helpless.
Ozai was one of the few master firebenders of his time able to generate lightning, and was far more skilled in it than his daughter Azula, with only Iroh appearing to equal his prowess. While the solar eclipse had just waned, he was immediately able to generate an enormous bolt of lightning with both hands in seconds that gave Zuko more trouble than he had with Azula's lightning. When empowered by the Sozin's Comet, he could near-instantly project large, violent strikes of lightning that spread over wide distances and were of such intensity that it caused the entire sky itself to be briefly seared, nearly being able to overpower Aang's lightning redirection, causing the Avatar considerable pain, ultimately making him briefly collapse from the strain despite being successful.
Physical Strength and Reflexes
Despite his middle-aged appearance, Ozai was in outstanding physical condition, with his physical durability and resilience being so great that he was able to resist gales of wind made by the Avatar which shattered the solid rock around him and a large burst of water and quickly recover to continue fighting with little injury and he was capable of greatly exerting himself against Aang without showing any strain before ultimately being overpowered. His outstanding speed and reflexes also allowed him to easily keep up with Aang's own extremely fast bending attacks and even managed to at times hit him and he was even able to dodge and react to some of his attacks when he was in the Avatar State.
In addition to Ozai's firebending, he was known as a capable and patriotic leader, beloved by his people for his intelligence, cruelty, charisma and courage. Under Ozai's short tenure as Fire Lord (only five years) the Fire Nation saw the greatest industrial revolution it had known in over one hundred years, which contributed greatly to his legacy. While he had no military career to speak of, Ozai's rule saw the most successful campaigns of the Hundred-Year War, including the decisive victory at Ba Sing Se. Ozai was also a progressive and wise leader, as he recognized ahead of his time that the separation of the four nations was halting progress - unfortunately, his ambition and ego made him decide that the best way to unite the nations would be under Fire Nation rule. Like his daughter, Azula, Ozai had a natural disposition towards manipulation, using his cunning to secure his own political power. After his bending was removed, this became Ozai's greatest weapon, as he attempted to control his son Zuko from prison - goading his son to follow in his footsteps.
Avatar: The Last Airbender
Book One: Water
Book Two: Earth
Book Three: Fire
- Ozai can be considered a foil to Unalaq. Whereas Ozai was a firebender, Unalaq was a waterbender. While Ozai was the father of a main character, Unalaq was the uncle of a main character. Both characters also usurped their brother's birthright, albeit for different reasons. Ozai wanted power, and Unalaq needed to control the spirit portals so he could usher in a new age of spirituality.
- Varrick's movers also cement the similarities between Unalaq and Ozai. In the movers, Unalaq has the same beard and a similar outfit to Ozai (especially in the Ember Island Players episode). His plan in the movers also mirrors Ozai. His plan to freeze the earth is also a reference to Ozai's plan to burn it.
- Many of Ozai's characteristics, including his serious nature with a small amount of humor, and his favor of physical strength over mental manipulation, is likely modeled after Darth Vader, an iconic villain of the Star Wars Saga
- Additionally, both are a younger brother figure to a mentor of the protagonist (Iroh and Obi-Wan) and turned evil due to being consumed by hatred and jealousy. They're also the father of one of the protagonists (at least by the time they serve as the main villain), whom they attempted to turn evil but eventually failed. Both are also using strategy and were built-up to be the figure that one of the heroes (Aang and Luke) was destined to defeat. Interestingly, Ozai's voice actor, Mark Hamill, also played Luke Skywalker, Vader's son.