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Why Azula's Name In Avatar: The Last Airbender Means More Than You Think

There's a lot to appreciate in "Avatar: The Last Airbender," hence why it's still discussed all these years after its 2008 series finale. Not only is it a fascinating tale about friendship, self-improvement, and compassion, but it takes place in a setting where individuals can harness the power of earth, water, fire, and air with ease. Additionally, it's packed with characters that range from as lovable as Appa to as wise as Uncle Iroh (Mako, later Greg Baldwin) that, more often than not, are comprised of multiple layers that make them so interesting to learn about.

Among the more complex "Avatar: The Last Airbender" characters is Princess Azula (Grey DeLisle): the daughter of Fire Lord Ozai (Mark Hamill) and sister of poor choice-maker Prince Zuko (Dante Basco). Coming from a childhood spent perfecting her every move, word, decision, and more to appease her unrelenting father, Azula hides her fear and insecurity under a ruthless, determined shell. She professes to desire absolute power and proves she's willing to go to extreme lengths to achieve it — even utilizing her lifetime of firebending experience to achieve her goals.

Much like her personality, there's a lot more to Azula's name than meets the eye. Here's the significance behind it.

Azula's name represents multiple aspects of her character

When Azula was born in 85 AG (after the Air Nomad genocide), her parents, then-Prince Ozai and Princess Ursa (Jen Cohn), didn't just pick her a random name. Rather, they chose something that honors her lineage, specifically on her father's side of the family. Her grandfather and Fire Lord at the time went by the name Azulon (Walker Edmiston), which clearly inspires the name Azula. Also, it's worth highlighting that she's capable of bending blue flames and the Spanish and Portuguese term for blue is "azul." Her parents couldn't have known she'd be able to do so as a baby, so we can chalk this up to the work of the writers behind "Avatar: The Last Airbender."

Saddled with the legacy of her family and the Fire Nation at large, as well as her unrivaled levels of power, it should come as no surprise that Azula eventually buckles under such monumental pressure to succeed. She may be an angry, violent person, but she's still a person — one who has the potential to heal herself and unpack all of her emotional baggage. Sadly, Azula never got the chance to do so, but had "The Last Airbender" continued, she could've. According to writer Aaron Ehasz in a 2020 Twitter thread, plans were in place for her Season 4 redemption arc, complete with Zuko becoming her mentor and guiding her down a new, peaceful path. Evidently, this tale never materialized.

From her complicated characterization to a name that touts her unique abilities and family line, Azula will go down as one of the most intriguing yet underdeveloped characters on "Avatar: The Last Airbender."