Am I the only one who wonders how Azula had turned from this empowering, confident young woman into a horrendous, monstrous girl? It’s just a question that has been running through my mind ever since I finished A:TLA, as well as the comic books, and I decided to come to a final conclusion about the situation.
If you’ve read the comic books, you’d know the cause of this transformation, at least partially. Basically, Azula had thought that Ursa had given the Gaang a set of instructions to follow in order to tear Azula apart, and she broke down. So, when Zuko decided that the only way to crack at Ozai would be through Azula. In exchange for that action, Zuko would have to allow Azula to follow the Gaang in their search for Ursa. Azula had thought that Ursa pictured her as a monster, and disliked her in an extreme manner.
Although, the rest of the cause is a bit unclear. Honestly, if you dig deep enough through the plot, there are many reasons for Azula’s mental breakdown, which is most likely long-term.
In ‘The Boiling Rock, Part 2,’ Mai & Ty Lee betray Azula. This leads me to conclude that Azula had thought that she was immensely feared, but proving that she was not as frightening as she thought, she began to crack at the thought. It’s sort of like picturing someone you really aren’t, and once you find out you are not the person you thought you were, you begin tearing yourself down piece by piece and starting from scratch. In this case, Azula took this a different way and decided to create a new reputation, an even more feared reputation than her previous one. Obviously, this backfired and Azula had become horrific, as if she was a successful lab experiment at first, but turned into failed lab experiment.
Not forgetting to mention when Azula had been given the title of ‘Fire Lord.’ Azula abused her new power, firing every single person who disobeyed her in the slightest & most unusual, mainly for unimportant things. This went on until one day, she had no more workers and had to fend for herself, meaning that she wouldn’t live much like royalty, but as a ‘normal’ person, even if titled ‘Fire Lord Azula.’
On the day of Azula’s official coronation, it had become clear that Zuko had turned against Azula, but it proved necessary in order to attain world peace, for the time being. This is because Zuko had challenged Azula to an agni kai, simply a fight, except you must use firebending while doing so. Although, Zuko only takes the first half of the fight. Zuko had been trying to defend Katara by redirecting Azula’s lightning, but he collapsed onto the floor. Katara had to swoop in for the rescue. Azula had no choice but to accept defeat, but Azula had been so used to being the victor of every single fight she participated in, so this loss must have damaged her somewhat, along with all of her failed plans.
After some time, I believe Azula had been jailed, mainly because Zuko had become the new fire lord of the peaceful fire nation and that he didn’t want Azula nor Ozai to disturb the peace that had been longed for over 100 years. Time in jail must have been aggravating, especially for someone who had been pampered properly, treated with extreme respect, and had been royalty for all of her life. It would be such a drastic change, and Azula just didn’t want to accept the fact that her life would be spent in jail, at least a few years.
This is all I came up with, and I must say, it is much longer than I thought it would be. But, the comparison of Princess Azula & Prisoner Azula is just breathtaking, and I had to comment on it or come to a conclusion at some time. Overall, I loved the character development of Azula, it was extremely intriguing to watch her transform in what seemed like days.
~ The Legend of the Last Airbender ~