zuko-always-lies
zuko-always-lies
Zuko-Always-Lies
Mostly Azula Related Nonsense
zuko-always-lies · a day ago
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Azula, Iroh, Zuko, Imperial Japan, Teenage Soldiers, and Coming to Terms with Failed Ideologies.
Below is the summary of the journal of a teenage Japanese Navy sailor who came home after World War II to face defeat and irresponsibility. It has obvious implications for the postwar path of Azula and other child soldiers like her, and for the Fire Nation more generally.  It also has huge implications for how people might respond to Zuko and particularly Iroh’s behavior, might respond to their refusal to accept responsibility.
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Dower, W. John. Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II. New York City, NY: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 2000.  Pages 339-345.
For those of you interested in Imperial Japan, or in the Fire Nation potential path after the war, I would highly recommend this book. It’s amazing in general.  Dower also wrote War Without Mercy: Race & Power In the Pacific War, which is another absolutely amazing book. 
Admittedly, Zuko’s regime is far more likely to follow the path of the Weimer Republic than it is to follow the path of postwar Japan, but that’s another story.
@lightdancer1 @ultranos​ you might find this particularly interesting, given the fics you are writing. 
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zuko-always-lies · 2 days ago
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On other hand, it’s important to note that Azula only ever trusts three people, and two of them are actually very trustworthy. And it’s not like Ty Lee was trying manipulate Azula here; she gave Azula good advice which worked and which it’s pretty clear that Ty Lee actually follows in general.
Ty Lee: Okay, look, if you want a boy to like you, just look at him and smile a lot and laugh at everything he says even if it's not funny.
Azula: Well, that sounds really shallow and stupid ... Let's try it.
Unrelated to this scene but inspired by it headcanon: I think it's possible to interpret from this scene that Azula can be easily manipulatalted socially, all it requires is someone she trusts. She will do exactly as they say even if she sees to be illogical, and if she failed she will believe it's her fault instead of theirs.
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zuko-always-lies · 2 days ago
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If Azula was really this blood thirsty psycho like some people claim she is, she would have won :
-Toph, Sokka, Kuei would be killed instead captured because why keep them alive they have no value to her
- kill katara when captured, the avatar would have returned anyway sooner or later
-Mai and Ty Lee would be killed after their betrayal, maybe even thrown into the boiling water, why you ask bEcAuSe azULa Is sO eViL
-Why bother bringing Zuko and Iroh back to the Fire Nation when you can kill them there. (Maybe she would let them live because Ozai wants them alive)
I know that Nickelodeon would not kill their characters like that, but just ignore this and focus on ATLA. Anyway, mostly Azula uses minimal force and only gets lethal when it can be avoided, like Aang getting into the Avatar state underground, and I bet Azula heard that the glowing avatar sunk a whole fleet of ships and knows how dangerous the avatar state is.
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zuko-always-lies · 2 days ago
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It’s possible that Kyoshi Warriors got transferred to Boiling Rock after the incident, especially since Suki had very clearly shown how dangerous the warriors can be. But it’s also possible that Mai and Ty Lee got transferred somewhere else, because leaving them in the most obvious place would make it easier for Team Avatar to stage a rescue mission.
My point is that you could go justify either one here.
So I often read how Azula imprisoned Mai and Ty Lee at the boiling rock, but when I think back to Zuko’s coronation Ty Lee states she got to know the kiyoshi worriers in prison and if I’m not mistaken only Suki was imprisoned at the boiling rock and Split from her fellow worriers, also she was singled out because she was the leader of kiyoshi worriers. So I conclude that at least Ty Lee was not at the boiling rock imprisoned and I guess Mai was together with Ty Lee at the same location.
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zuko-always-lies · 5 days ago
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A more logistical backstory
Canon! Ursa (not comics!Ursa) had very abusive parents. I can’t see it any other way. She had very abusive and misogynistic parents, and Azula gets her intelligence and manipulation skills from her, except Ursa only used those skills when absolutely necessary…and to get the prince to fall for her. Seducing Ozai and playing into him and his family’s fantasy of a beautiful and flawless princess was her ticket to freedom. 
She took up her hobby of gardening in her youth to cope with the abuse and eventually as she grew older and more sinister, she discovered the path of poisons. Her quiet deadliness is what first attracted Ozai, as he originally thought of a wife to be a burden. After meeting Ursa, he thinks she can be an assett. Ursa understands the neglect and abuse Azulon has inflicted upon Ozai, but due to rose colored glasses sees all of Ozai’s violent and manipulative tactics to be his own coping mechanisms, or poisons. They’re actually like Maiko 1.0 but evil, and because there is no sister and best friend to see things from outside, they only get worse with eachother. Ozai is Ursa’s only friend and vice versa.
 Even when they have Zuko and Azula, she can’t (refuses to) see that the man is turning into his father. The severe misogyny of Ursa’s parent’s is what allowed her to become the dream princess she was and seeing Azula act so freely not only ignited jealousy in her she thought she’d long since discarded, but she also thought Azula was being foolish not keeping quiet and working stealthily in an environment not made for them. Of course, she never saw that Azula did in fact inherit the skills of working behind the curtain (ex. eavesdropping in childhood, the Ba Sing Se coup). A lot of people like to say that Azula looks and acts like Ozai and Zuko looks and acts like Ursa, despite a simple look at canon disproving this. Zuko’s stark similarity in looks and mannerisms to Ozai makes Ursa have a large affinity for him and her gentleness with him stems from her wanting to protect him like she wishes she could have protected a younger Ozai.
Oh yeah, one more thing. Zuko and Azula don’t have maternal grandparents because Ursa and Ozai ordered Jinzuk and Rina to be killed on their wedding night.
I just feel like Ursa and Ozai clearly had some sort of affinity for each other and this could explain how Ozai the monster could love Ursa and how Ursa could love a monster like Ozai. Please add on to this if you have additional thoughts. I’ve practically accepted this as canon now.
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zuko-always-lies · 5 days ago
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In many ways Ty Lee is a free spirit, but she doesn’t appear to be attached to and value freedom the way that people assume she does.
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zuko-always-lies · 5 days ago
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Yeah, the last bit was a bit weird. However, to be fair, Azula didn’t leave just leave her friends guarding a bear; she left them controlling the critical terrain of the throne room, the nerve center of the city. They very well might have been thus effectively left in command of the city while Azula went to retrieve Zuko. And Azula did bring two Dai Li agents with her, so she wasn’t defenseless. Honesty, I think she expected to face the Avatar that night once she saw that Sokka and Toph had showed up (as Aang cannot allow Ba Sing Se to fall without a fight), went to retrieve Zuko and bring him back to the throne room so she could have his help in the critical moment, and then had her plans overtaken by events(which she adapted to) and was forced to fight before she was ready.
(But we all know the real reason why Mai and Ty Lee weren’t with Azula was that the writers were too cowardly to show us the four fire teens fighting as a team.)
And yes, the reason why Ty Lee didn’t go after Aang on her own is because she’s a ~15 year old who doesn’t view winning the war as her responsibility and who, like most 15 year olds, just wants to have fun. But once she joins up with Azula, Ty Lee actually generally takes the intuitive in her fight scenes and hardly depends on Azula’s direction.
Ty Lee is an enormously competent, capable, intelligent, and intuitive person with an enormous ability(although often not a desire) to influence the world, and not enough fanfic writers recognize that aspect of her.  
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zuko-always-lies · 5 days ago
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Ty Lee is an enormously competent, capable, intelligent, and intuitive person with an enormous ability(although often not a desire) to influence the world, and not enough fanfic writers recognize that aspect of her.  
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zuko-always-lies · 5 days ago
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When Mai and Ty Lee state their deepest traumas in “The Beach,” an episode where they are clearly not afraid to tell off Azula, Azula isn’t a part of these traumas at all, other than being someone who(like Zuko or each other) is being too dismissive of these traumas in the present. 
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zuko-always-lies · 5 days ago
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Mai:
a) Voluntarily joined Azula’s mission because she thought it would be fun and enjoyable.
b) From her behavior in “The Drill” apparently expected when she signed on that going on a mission with Azula would involve being completely treated as an equal with a minimum of hierarchy and would not involve being ordered around, and was resentful that Azula, in fact, ordered her around in combat situations.
This speaks volumes to how much Azula treated Mai as an equal when they were younger.
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zuko-always-lies · 5 days ago
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That’s interesting(and not necessarily that uncommon of a take on the Azula-Lu Ten relationship). What I would add is that, for story telling purposes, you could shove Mai and Ty Lee into that same gap as well,* as people who showed Azula love and affection in a way no one else did and (completely unintentionally) in doing so helped Azula avoid becoming the worst version of herself. But as she grew older(and particularly after her friends moved away), Azula became more and more afraid that her friends only liked her because she was princess...
*And that seems to be to a large degree what happens in your “The Dragon of the West” AU.
The biggest difference that Lu Ten made in his cousin's life
Was showing Azula that there was a way to love and to be loved, and to understand that she could do both.....which had its downside in that she tried so hard in an ultimate exercise in futility to get this from her father. That particular dream began to die when he punished her for bringing her brother home and it fully died in the events of Sozin's Comet. Also in that she thought her love for Zuko in this universe was reciprocal.....which it only became after he thought she was dead.
And of course showing her that she never had it from Ursa at all, which fueled her self-loathing to a point that Ursa-as-hallucination was a part of her temporary psychotic stress breakdown. Love can cut both ways. Azula *knew* what she could have had and what she did have until Ba Sing Se (as a kid sees it) took that love from her.
It wasn't some spectacular thing, it wasn't something he was ever really old enough to understand. It was that he gave an unloved kid love, the ability to understand it and what it was and how it worked, and taught her that she could be and was worthy of it.
It's after her relationship with Hoelun starts that Azula realizes that she was looking for it in the wrong places and is fully able to let go of the bad memories and futile wishes of her childhood. And it's one of the biggest misunderstandings that Zuko and Ursa have that what she gave up can be restored at all, due to looking for it in the wrong places, at the wrong times.
Lu Ten really *wasn't* anything special where his cousin is concerned in a normal family. In the context of his family, and of its dynamics? Showing her what love was ultimately was her way out and why she was so insistent on STAYING out.
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zuko-always-lies · 5 days ago
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Fanon Mai and Ty Lee: “Evil and cruel Azula tormented us since she was five, deeply traumatizing and abusing us every moment of existence and ruining our perfect lives. All our personality traits and decisions are trauma responses to her abuse.”
Canon Mai and Ty Lee: “Our parents and families treated us very poorly and deeply traumatized us, and a lot of our personalities and desires are a reaction to that. Also, Azula can be a real asshole sometimes, but she often treats us surprisingly well and we actually like her.”
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zuko-always-lies · 5 days ago
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I mean, Ty Lee responding well to someone showing her positive attention and noticing her is very much not a surprise.
I think zuko and tylee as a couple would have been better than mai and zuko. The gifts that zuko gave mai are things that tylee likes.xD
Yes, everything Zuko bought Mai made Ty Lee happy. There's also this small scene here.
The Beach:
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Zuko: Are you cold? [Mai slaps his hand when he tries to place it on her shoulder.]
Ty Lee: I'm freezing.
Zuko: [Side-view; smiling.] I'll make a fire.
Ty Lee was smiling, I felt like she wanted Zuko's attention because she thinks he's cute despite he's Mai's boyfriend lol
But I stop tracks knowing the little care Zuko gives about Ty Lee 😔
The Boiling Rock Part 1:
Sokka: I think your uncle would be proud of you. Leaving your home to come help us? That's hard.
Zuko: It wasn't that hard.
Sokka: Really? You didn't leave behind anyone you cared about?
Zuko: Well, I did have a girlfriend. Mai.
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zuko-always-lies · 5 days ago
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Important: Azula actually tried to live up to BOTH of Ursa and Ozai's wishes, NOT only Ozai's
First off, I talked about this before but in separated posts so I decided to make a masterpost of sorts.
Into the topic: we know the show rarely focus on Azula and especially Ursa as characters, but thankfully ATLA lore still offers information about them as characters.
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This is consistent with show!Ursa's demeanor and emphasises on manners. (no, not morals. I don't expect the woman who laughed at the idea of a city being burnt by a general in the war's frontlines to be a very good moral role model.)
Ursa's goal is raising her children to be "good Fire Nation citizens" and the "ideal royal family". Interestingly that from both of her children, it looks like it has been Azula to live up to that role more than Zuko, which is not a surprise considering it was Azula whom Ursa especially targeted with that kind of parenting. "Azula excels at her royal role; she's extremely generous, smooth and put-together -- an ideal princess," so Azula can be qualified as "good Fire Nation citizen" and "ideal royal family".
This is not out of character to Azula considering upon meeting Ty Lee in the circus again, Azula revealed something about her inner beliefs:
"[Glances around] Tell me, what is the daughter of a nobleman doing here? [Looks back at Ty Lee] Certainly our parents didn't send us to the Royal Fire Academy for Girls to end up in ... [Looks to her side] places like this." -Azula, Return to Omashu
Azula did not take the commanding attitude "I didn't expect this from you" she said that Ty Lee's own parents didn't expect this from her, which indirectly point at that Azula herself is someone to honor her own parents' wishes. (I believe this is partly explains why she hurts by Ursa's rejection so much, if Ursa doesn't approve of her as a person, then Azula would try to do better through her actions.)
Now move on to Ozai's side of the story: "[Azula's] cold, calculated and precise. She's also a deadly firebender." These are the qualities Ozai cultivated and trained Azula into, so she eventually would use under his service.
This girl knows well how to act as "Princess, Azula". The princess Ursa wanted, and the heir/warrior Ozai wanted; the achievement child.
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zuko-always-lies · 5 days ago
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I think zuko and tylee as a couple would have been better than mai and zuko. The gifts that zuko gave mai are things that tylee likes.xD
Yes, everything Zuko bought Mai made Ty Lee happy. There's also this small scene here.
The Beach:
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Zuko: Are you cold? [Mai slaps his hand when he tries to place it on her shoulder.]
Ty Lee: I'm freezing.
Zuko: [Side-view; smiling.] I'll make a fire.
Ty Lee was smiling, I felt like she wanted Zuko's attention because she thinks he's cute despite he's Mai's boyfriend lol
But I stop tracks knowing the little care Zuko gives about Ty Lee 😔
The Boiling Rock Part 1:
Sokka: I think your uncle would be proud of you. Leaving your home to come help us? That's hard.
Zuko: It wasn't that hard.
Sokka: Really? You didn't leave behind anyone you cared about?
Zuko: Well, I did have a girlfriend. Mai.
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zuko-always-lies · 5 days ago
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In the fanbase and narrative, Zuko and Iroh are never held accountable for their canon on screen actions.
Meanwhile, Azula is held accountable not only for the bad things she did, but also for things she never did, and even for things someone far worse than her (i.e. Ozai) did.
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