Avatar: The Last Airbender
What Happened to Azula After 'Avatar: The Last Airbender' and Zuko's Mother
By: Domonique Cox-Salberg
The Aftermath of Azula’s Agni Kai Defeat
Broken and out of her mind, Zuko sends Azula to an insane asylum for a year, during which her schizophrenic episodes continued about her mother, increasing her insanity. Pondering the past, Azula concluded that her mother had gotten to her friends Ty Lee and Mai, Zuko, and everyone that played a part in her downfall. A year or so later passes, and Zuko visits Azula to find out the truth about what happened to their mother.
So, as asked by Zuko to help find out, both visit Ozai in prison. Heavily guarded and strapped in by the Kyoshi warriors, where one was Ty Lee, Azula becomes violent and begins shouting, “Tell me how she got to you and Mai! How’d she make you lose your fear of me?!” referencing her schizophrenic thoughts of her mother. A line that also reiterates their complicated relationship and the only upset in her perfect life, as Azula believed her mother loved Zuko more. She often criticized Azula for her disrespectful behavior and cruel comments giving Azula the impression Ursa viewed her as a monster. These feelings manifested into deep resentment once Ursa disappeared. But come the sequel comic story The Search, and Azula’s suppressed hurt feelings have now surfaced.
Moreover, while still at the prison, eventually Azula uses the opportunity to escape instead of helping Zuko. Where it turns out she uses the knowledge of Zuko’s quest as her leverage to go to Ozai’s secret chambers and reads Ursa’s old letters. Burning them after, she assures Zuko she is his only real chance at finding the truth, and for a time, Azula unites with Team Avatar. However, Zuko does not know hallucinations of Ursa are still haunting Azula.
Believing her mother is the reason for all her problems and betrayals, Azula plans to kill Ursa if they are to locate her. Much later and successfully, the team discovers that Ursa has asked the Mother of Faces, Koh’s mother, to change her face to begin a new life. Now named Noriko, she remarried and had a daughter. This revelation causes Azula to spiral into a fury and confront her mother face-to-face. Accusing her of replacing Azula with a new daughter, she attempts to kill Ursa.
Trying to understand this girl that says she left her in her past life, Urla apologizes for not loving Azula enough if she is her mother. Azula is struck with tears and becomes distracted enough for Zuko to intervene. Azula points out while fighting that he could have killed her long ago, where Zuko responds by saying no matter how complicated their relationship gets, she will always be his sister. His words cause Azula to stop and run away, despite Zuko insisting he can help her.
Smoke and Shadow
Leading a group of firebenders she freed and later befriended from the mental institution, Azula reappears in the Smoke and Shadow comic. More mentally stable than before, Azula plans to test and mold Zuko’s Fire Lord position and abilities. She remembers that Mai’s father was loyal to Ozai and wanted to dethrone Zuko. Therefore, this prompts her to manipulate him into doing her bidding and turning public opinion against Zuko. All of this is an attempt not to bring back Ozai, but to challenge Zuko in secret since she believes it will help him gain the confidence to be the best leader. For Azula finally embraced her destiny as his shadowy advisor and accepted Zuko as the true Fire Lord.