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'Avatar' Fans Point Something Out About Uncle Iroh That We Hadn't Noticed Before

List RulesVote up your favorite observations about Uncle Iroh!

Everyone's wisdom-giving, tea-loving uncle is a much more complex character than we think. Today we present some of the best observations about Iroh from 'Avatar,' written by many justified fans. Vote on your favorites below!

Most posts have been edited for length and clarity. Click on the credit links for the full post.

  • 9

    Every Single Encounter In 'The Tale Of Iroh' Revolves Around The Theme Of Fatherhood.

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  • 10

    This Fan Theory Suggests Iroh Probably Studied The Direction Of The Celestial Bodies In His Prison Cell, And Learned About The Eclipse From There.

     From Tumblr user princemannikin:

    In 'Sokka’s Master,' Iroh is shown multiple times in his cell with a single window, both during the moonlit night and during the sunny day. The image above has three phases:

    1. Iroh watching the sun come in the window.
    2. Iroh’s eyes open wide in surprise/realization.
    3. Iroh immediately doing sit ups/getting in shape/improving skills that become useful to break out of prison during the eclipse.

    So here’s my theory: Iroh has never heard of the eclipse yet. Azula found out in Ba Sing Se when Katara told her, Sokka and the Gaang know from the library, but no one else in the Fire Nation knows yet. As Iroh journeyed home as a POW, it’s unlikely Azula shared this information with him. So how does he know there will be an eclipse during which he broke out of prison?

    Because he’s been watching the angles of the sun and moon coming in his window and realizes they’re on a collision course. And immediately begins getting jacked. This man studied everything, and astronomy is just the last in a long line of fields he’s mastered.

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  • 11

    Why Iroh And Zuko Address Each Other The Way That They Do

    From Tumblr user elimentals:

    It makes me real emo to think of how Iroh almost always refers to Zuko as 'Prince Zuko,' not out of some false sense of formality or to emotionally distance himself from his nephew, but because Zuko had been defamed and stripped of his entire royal identity. His nephew needed to believe he could re-attain his title, needed to maintain some scrap of hope to keep him going.

    Similarly, it makes me emo to think of how Zuko only ever called Iroh 'Uncle' because Iroh is the only member of his family whom Zuko trusts enough to let his guard down completely. He knows he won’t be punished for being informal or vulnerable around him. He knows that calling him 'uncle' will never be misconstrued as a sign of disrespect. Even at his angriest, Zuko addresses Iroh as 'Uncle.' In the end, his uncle is the only person with whom he feels truly safe.

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  • 12

    Iroh Likely Had A Redemption Arc Of His Own.

    From Tumblr user theblueeyedfirebender:

    Iroh is a guy who was born Crown Prince of the Fire Nation, firstborn son and heir to the throne of his father, Firelord Azulon. His upbringing had to be steeped in pro-war nationalism as he was groomed to be Fire Lord. Prior to the failed siege of Ba Sing Se, Prince Iroh was most likely a wholehearted supporter of the war. During a flashback in 'Zuko Alone,' Ursa reads a letter written by Iroh in which he jests about burning the Earth Kingdom capital to the ground. 

    Only a few short days later, his heir and only child, Lu Ten, is killed in the very siege Iroh commands. Then, Azulon mysteriously dies and names Ozai his successor, effectively robbing Iroh of his birthright. 

    And, to our knowledge, a heartbroken Iroh does nothing to combat this. Why?

    I’m almost certain it is during these dark days in which Iroh’s world perspective shifts dramatically. His life, his future, his priorities are completely rearranged. As he grapples with his own destiny, it’s very possible that he joins the White Lotus during this period, but we’re never really told for sure. 

    In 'The Firebending Masters,' we learn that Iroh earned his nickname the 'Dragon of the West' by supposedly killing the last of the dragons, when in fact he protected them, lying in order to end the Fire Nation tradition of dragon hunting. In secrecy, he became a student of the dragons, learning from the true source of firebending. I believe this occurred sometime between Ozai’s coronation and Zuko’s banishment. So we can gather, by this time, Iroh is not exactly the nationalistic Fire Nation vessel he once was. 

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