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Princess Azula

Mental AZula

Origin
Age
14 (first appearance),
16 (Love Problems)
Relationships
Bending abilities
Affiliations
Team Avatar
Winx Club Band
Bender status
Prodigy
Voiced by
Azula was the princess of the Fire Nation, daughter of Fire Lord Ozai and Princess Ursa, and younger sister of her archenemy, Fire Lord Zuko. She was a key adversary of Team Avatar, Throughout Avatar: The Last Airbender. Chasing Avatar Aang and her banished brother far across the Earth Kingdom accompanied by her two best friends, Mai and Ty Lee.
Mental AZula

Azula in The Southern Raiders.

Personality and traits

Azula relentlessly drilled herself toward perfection and settled for nothing less from herself or those who serve her. She believed that power and domination are what makes a person strong. She had absolute confidence in her "divine right to rule" which she believed she was born with. She had neither pity nor mercy toward those she marked as treasonous or inferior. As one who wants nothing less than absolute control, she likewise has remarkable control of herself, seemingly always able to react to any situation at a moment's notice, never losing her composure.

Azula was marked by a distinct lack of empathy. Even as a child, she reacted hostility when outdone, such as shoving Ty Lee to the ground after Ty Lee had bested her in gymnastics. This behavior would characterize her relationship with her friends for many years. Although she could show sympathy toward them, she never cared for their feelings and manipulated them as she saw fit, such as when she threatened Ty Lee into leaving the circus and joining her cause.

She was prone to asserting herself and her authority in a grandiose way, such as when she humiliated Long Feng in front of his former henchmen, or when she threatened the captain of her ship. She also showed a need for admiration from her father, whom she emulated to a great degree, and to a lesser extent from everyone else around her. She was shown reacting with despair and rage when she learned her father was going to the Earth Kingdom without her.

Azula was known to have an extremely cruel personality. From a very young age, Azula demonstrated sadistic aggression and a near total lack of remorse to friends, servants, family, and animals. Her own mother, Princess Ursa, once remarked, "What is wrong with that child?" after observing her casual cruelties. Azula's first reaction to hearing of Iroh's son's death was to wonder whether this now made her father the heir to the throne. She later dismissed her uncle as a quitter and a loser when learning he had ended his six hundred day Siege of Ba Sing Se to grieve for Lu Ten. She eagerly watched Azulon proclaim Ozai's punishment for trying to claim the throne and grinned maliciously when Zuko was burned and scarred by their father. She also did not seem to care when her mother disappeared or when her grandfather died. Her cruelty was apparently infamous and extreme; when Iroh accidentally ingested the poisonous white jade flower, both he and Zuko quickly decided that they would rather go seek help from the Earth Kingdom and face certain death than deal with the Fire Nation and be handed over to Azula.

Psychosis

Azula's mentality continued to crumble in the final weeks of the War. When she attacked Zuko and the gang at the Western Air Temple, Azula was evidently losing her sanity, as her attacks became far more vicious and she was shown to be obsessed with killing Zuko.

The obvious tipping point occurred during her father's coronation as the Phoenix King, where Azula was told she would not assist in the attack on the Earth Kingdom. Azula seemed distraught at this and took this decision as an offense to her and her honor. For her, Ozai always represented absolute power and perfection, qualities which she desired to acquire. His refusal to bring her along on a mission where the two of them would serve essentially as equals made her realize that her lust for power not only frightened her enemies, but perhaps her father as well. Ozai responded by appointing Azula as the new Fire Lord to govern over the Fire Nation in his absence, temporarily satisfying her desire for power. However, she was unable to cope with the fact that the only human being who may have ever loved her was not only ashamed of her, but also still possessed power over her. Her father was the last person Azula thought she could trust, and Ozai's refusal to include her in his final conquest only served to cause Azula even more inner pain. Knowing that her father would neither submit to her will nor love her, Azula's grip on reality began to steadily plummet.

On the day of her coronation, Azula became excessively paranoid, banishing all of her subjects for minor or suspected offenses. When she styled her hair for the coronation, she was so frustrated by her inability to tie up her hair bun that she cut away her trademark bangs, leaving her hair a tattered mess. She then saw her mother in her mirror in an apparent hallucination. Her mother complimented her, saying that she always had beautiful hair. Azula then asked her mother why she was there, and Ursa told her that she would not miss her daughter's coronation. Azula told her not to pretend to act proud, stating that she knew her mother thought she was a monster. The hallucination of her mother then told her that she did not think that, that Azula was just confused, and that she loved her. Azula then went deeper into insanity, threw her brush at the mirror, breaking it, and broke down crying.

This incident exposed a complex facet to Azula's persona. Although outwardly maintaining a cold and dismissive opinion of her mother,  Ursa's banishment ultimately had a devastating impact upon Azula's fragile psyche. As Azula's sanity began slipping away from her, this inability to reconcile her perceived belief that Ursa considered her a monster with the truer (though idealized) maternal feelings of love and support that Ursa demonstrated in the hallucination created an inescapable conflict in her mind that furthered Azula's eventual mental collapse. Another thread of this argument explored the possibility that Azula may have harbored a guilt-ridden conscience, long suppressed or held at bay for many years by her indomitable will. Her conscience, in the form of her mother Ursa (whose love and guidance she secretly longed for but could never have) reared itself stronger than before. Ursa's gentle, motherly concerns over Azula's use of fear and cruelty as her only means of maintaining relationships with friends and family alike induced a violent mental breakdown prior to her coronation.


It would also seem that in her ever increasing insanity, Azula gave into her fear of being killed. She accused her servant of purposely leaving a pit in her cherry so that she would choke. She got angry at the Dai Li when they arrived five minutes late, suggesting that in that time an assassin could sneak in, kill her, and "be on his merry way". She then suggested that the Dai Li could betray and kill her ("just like Mai and Ty Lee"), and banished them. She also began keeping her back against one of the throne's canopy poles as often as possible, probably out of fear of being attacked or killed from behind.

It also appeared that she was not sleeping well, as she had dark circles under her eyes. Upon Lo and Li's arrival to counsel her, Azula's fear of disappointing her father was clear. Azula became so enraged when her old mentors' questioned her wishes that she momentarily forgot that they were not firebenders, and ordered them to fight an Agni Kai with each other.

Azula showed up at her coronation impatient and with her hair still a mess. Katara and Zuko then arrived to fight her, and she constantly provoked the duo as she attacked them. When Katara finally defeated Azula and chained her to the ground, Azula screamed in anger and breathed fire uncontrollably, furiously struggling to break herself free, falling into complete insanity. She dragged herself along the ground helplessly, as Zuko and Katara looked on in pity and horror. This breakdown was the culmination of her failed relationship with her mother (and her jealousy toward Zuko for receiving more of their mother's affection), the betrayal she suffered at the hands of Mai and Ty Lee, and finally, her defeat by Zuko and Katara. Azula was admitted into a mental health facility on a nearby island in the Fire Nation, where she was closely monitored and observed.,
Azula insane

Crazy Azula

A year later, a clearly mentally unstable Azula accepted the task of coaxing Ursa's whereabouts out of Ozai from Zuko, stating there had not been one day gone by that she had not wondered what became of their mother. In return, she requested permission to join her brother on his quest and to be allowed to travel unbound and with dignity. The Fire Lord accepted and Azula was released. She had regained much of her previous demeanor, as she haughtily commanded people to cater her needs and forcefully reacted to irritating situations. 'Avatar: The Last Airbender' continues in 'The Search'.

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