Why Avatar’s firebender Zuko couldn’t control lightning

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Throwing lightning bolts turned out to be one of the most powerful firebending options in Avatar, but Zuko was never able to do so.

Avatar: The Last Airbender merged his characterization with action to a wonderful degree, which meant that many characters’ unique abilities and skills were tied to their personalities. At a pivotal moment, Zuko seeks to learn lightningbending but proves incapable, offering insight into the mechanics of how the lightningbending ability works. Even after this point, Zuko never demonstrates his ability to throw lightning bolts. What stopped Zuko from bending lightning?

The last air Master first alluded to the firebenders’ ability to manipulate lightning in “The Storm”, when Iroh redirected a lightning bolt that nearly destroyed Zuko’s ship. In Season 2, with the introduction of Zuko’s sister, Azula, it became clear that lightning was a precious and rare ability whereby a firebender unleashed their energy in deadly lightning. Iroh also demonstrated this power, and during his journey with Zuko – while both were on the Fire Nation Lamb – attempted to teach his nephew how to do it.


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He failed miserably. Whenever Zuko attempted to subdue lightning, all he produced was an explosion that knocked him back into the ground. Iroh explained that Zuko would never be able to master the skill as long as he struggled with his own inner conflict, which manifested in several ways as he progressed. Avatar. Instead, Zuko learned to redirect lightning using the technique specially devised by Iroh. He observed waterbending and used careful control of the chi pathways that sent electricity into one arm, through the intestines rather than the heart, and through the other arm. Zuko put this skill to good use against both his father and Azula, ultimately showing even greater mastery over the comics that continue after the series.

Yet at no point did Zuko ever demonstrate the ability to produce lightning himself – even long after the inner conflict was resolved which Iroh identified as the reason he couldn’t bow down. It strikes some Avatar fans also curious, as they would assume that Zuko’s impending talents allow him to harness the ability that so many other Benders prove to be capable of. Azula is even able to redirect the lightning itself into Smoke & Shadow, so what does Zuko’s sociopathic younger sister have that he doesn’t?

The truth is that, as resolute as Zuko’s conflict may be during The last air Master, it never disappears completely. He is defined by his struggles and conflicts, and it is indeed this process that makes his arcs of redemption one of the best in modern television. Even after his first attempts at bending Lightning, Zuko’s inner conflict affected his abilities in various ways. Towards the end of book two, they made him so physically ill that he could barely move, and after joining the Gaang in book three, he had to go on a journey to rediscover a whole new emotional source for his mastery. fire. Good or bad, Zuko is too finicky to master the art of cool precision.

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Azula, on the other hand, has little trouble controlling her emotions. Even at her most manic in the finale, she proves capable of throwing lightning bolts. It is a testament to the masterful ability to separate one’s mind and body, even in the midst of a psychotic break. Both Azula and Zuko are amazing characters towards them, but when analyzing and comparing them, it’s important to treat them on their own merits rather than reducing their abilities to a contest of divorced figure of a personality.

As Zuko himself says, “I always had to fight and fight, and that made me strong. It made me who I am.” Learning one of the most powerful abilities in firebending just isn’t good for the character, and that’s why Avatar fans may never see the branded Fire Lord launch his own lightning bolts.

KEEP READING: Avatar: The Last Airbender: Was Katara A Princess?

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