Avatar: The Last Airbender had an amazing cast of characters, showing off some brilliant storytelling along the way. There’s no character arc more conflicted than Zuko’s. Fans loved him or hated him, all while watching him struggle to find his path in life.
There’s a lot to know about Zuko, partially because of all of his appearances (he appeared in both Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra as well as most of the comics), but also because there always seemed to be so much going on in the background.Here are ten facts about Zuko that you may just have missed or never heard about, to begin with.
10 He Associated With Criminals
The first fact on our list is one that’s hidden in plain sight; the show's creators were clearly counting on the kids in the audience to not think things through all of the way. Back when Zuko was still hunting for the Avatar, he was willing to work with some extremely unscrupulous people, from pirates, to thieves, and even murderers and assassins.
Okay, we all knew about the assassin bit, that was fairly obvious. However, the pirates Zuko worked with—the ones that Aang and Katara stole from—later were willing to hunt and kill Zuko, a fact that was fairly quickly glossed over. It leaves fans wondering who else Zuko had dealt with, during his time on the road.
9 He Plays An Instrument
You might recall one of the many running jokes of the series revolved around Aang and his inability to play a certain instrument. Or any instrument, really. We’re talking about the tsungi horn. It’s not an instrument we’re familiar with, but it’s apparently common enough to warrant some teasing towards the leading role.
What is interesting about all of this is that, apparently, Zuko himself knows how to play the tsungi horn. Given his proper upbringing (proper, but not safe) it makes complete sense that Zuko would have been forced to learn an instrument. But we also don’t blame him for not sharing this information too freely.
8 Youngest Fire Lord
It’s so easy to forget the ages of the main set of characters within Avatar: The Last Airbender, but Zuko was actually only sixteen by the time the series concluded. It's hard to believe, given all that he’s gone through. Zuko’s young age in the series means that when he took the title of Fire Lord, he was officially the youngest one ever to take the throne. For Fire Lords, that is. He’s only the second youngest ruler in all of the Avatar series—so far.
7 Great-Grandson of An Avatar
Another fact that may have gotten glossed over is that Zuko is actually related to an Avatar. During one of the flashback episodes of the series "The Avatar and the Fire Lord," it was revealed that Zuko’s great-grandfather, Fire Lord Sozin, had at one point been friends with the Avatar of the time, Roku.
The bigger revelation, to some of us, comes from Iroh himself. You see, Zuko’s great-grandfather is Sozin, of course, but that’s on his father’s side. On his mother’s side? His great-grandfather is Avatar Roku.
6 Needing Advice
Being that Zuko was the youngest Fire Lord to sit on the throne, it’s not surprising that he felt compelled to seek out advice now and again. The real surprise is who Zuko (occasionally) went to for advice. Obviously, Zuko did rely quite a lot on his Uncle and his friends. But once or twice Zuko even took the time to go visit his father in prison and get his advice on the matter. Okay, he tried to get advice—that doesn’t automatically mean he succeeded.
5 Zuko’s Secret Half-Sister
If you haven’t read the Avatar comics, you should probably check them out sometime. There’s a major plot arc in which Zuko finally tracks down his mother. Only to find out that his mother had a new family. Not that we blame his mother at all for having a happy life for herself; Zuko certainly never faulted her for it.
It turns out that his mother, Ursa, had been in love before she was married to Ozai. And, once she left the castle, she went right back to her love. Together they made a new life and even had a little girl, Kiyi. Zuko’s immediate acceptance of Kiyi is endearing to no end, and it's something that many of his fans needed to see.
4 His Mother Killed the Previous Fire Lord
While we’re on the subject of Ursa, did you know the real reason why she was forced to leave the Fire Kingdom? It turns out that she had a lot more say in it than we originally realized, and she did it all for the love of her family.
When she heard through Azula that Fire Lord Azulon was considering killing Zuko to punish Ozai, she immediately approached Ozai for the truth. She then, without much hesitation, offered to kill Fire Lord Azulon to ensure their son’s safety and Ozai’s rise to power. Ozai agreed, but on the condition that once she was done, Ursa left and never came back.
3 Parental Confusion
The story between Ozai and Ursa had been clouded in mystery for so long that, when Zuko stumbled upon some misleading evidence, it put his entire status as Fire Lord into question. And, surprisingly, Zuko found himself relieved by the concept. Back when Ursa was first married, she suspected that there was a spy working for her new husband. So she sent a letter claiming that Zuko was actually the son of her former lover. When Ozai confronted her about it, she had all the proof she needed.
However, when Zuko later came upon the letter, he naturally assumed that his mother was telling the truth. He understood later when she explained the story to him, but we can’t help but feel like he might have been a little disappointed to hear that Ozai truly was his father.
2 A Request
Zuko had to grow up under the shadow of his father and later live with the destruction left in the man’s wake, so it’s no surprise that Zuko was more than a little bit terrified that he’d turn into his father someday. After all, he watched Azula do exactly that.
Because of his fears, Zuko asked Aang to make a promise to him: he asked Aang to kill him should he ever feel like he was becoming too much like Ozai. While Aang did reluctantly make the promise, it’s not one he ever had to fulfill, thankfully.
1 Infant Zuko Nearly Met A Very Different Ending
When Zuko was a little baby, he originally didn’t show any inclination towards bending. Now, it’s probably not uncommon for a baby to have some delay here, but this is Ozai we’re talking about. If his son didn’t appear to be immediately perfect, he was bound to have a fit. And so, Ozai sincerely wanted to throw Zuko over the castle walls. He might have been relieved, later, that his wife stopped him from doing so. But that likely only changed when Zuko began to fire bend, and we know that the feeling didn’t last.