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

May 4, 2021 6.3k votes 738 voters 31.7k views16 items

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.

  • 1

    It's Crucial To Know That Iroh Abandons His Entire Life In The Fire Nation Just To Teach Zuko What His True Destiny Was.

     From Tumblr user ajkal2:

    Do y’all ever think about Uncle Iroh going with Zuko when he was banished? 

    Iroh is a powerful figure: the Dragon of the West, a war hero, a member of the royal family. He must’ve had a lot of influence in the Fire Nation and a lot of friends with high statuses.

    Then the Fire Lord, his own brother, scars a child for speaking out in a private council. And Iroh can do nothing to stop it. Even with all his power, the only thing he can do is look away.

    When Zuko is banished, Iroh finally abandons his friends, allies and work to stand with this child. He can step in and show kindness. He can teach this angry, broken child that hate isn't right. 

    And that public act of dissent against the word of the Fire Lord, from his own flesh and blood, wouldn't have gone unnoticed. 

    Uncle Iroh man. What a dude.

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    Interesting Iroh observation?
  • 2

    A Brilliant Moment Of Poignant Characterization

    From Tumblr user betwixtyiff:

    This is such a subtle bit of brilliant characterization that says so much about these three and their relationships in less than 30 seconds:

    • Azula’s eager willingness to shrug off her Uncle’s long and storied experience as a general.
    • Then there’s Iroh, smugly knowing that the Dai Li and Azula are about to come face to face with nothing they had ever seen before.
    • Then there's Zuko, who had a close relationship with his Uncle ever since he was a small boy, who most likely listened to his Uncle’s stories of travels and war, even when Azula shrugged him off and went to bed. He was always up for one more story, which is how he KNEW Iroh’s fire-breathing skill was coming. The realization was enough to put a big fat smirk on his face and duck behind his uncle’s back, while Iroh let lose an inferno after a slow, slow, sip of jasmine tea.
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    Interesting Iroh observation?
  • 3

    Real Question: Who Already Knew This? Because...This Was Really Sad To Learn For The First Time.

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    Interesting Iroh observation?
  • 4

    Iroh's Comic Relief Was A Way For Him To Stall Zuko's Plan Of Capturing The Avatar. The Reason Why Was Because Iroh Didn't Want Zuko To Rely On His Father For Validation. 

     From Tumblr user buckysbears:

    While Zuko finding one single person who hasn't existed in 100 years (and then actually doing it) is a funny concept, can we just talk about how heartbreaking it must be for Iroh? 

    When Ozai tells Zuko to go find the Avatar, Iroh knows it's a near-impossible task. Zuko's a kid who's plugging his ears and saying, 'I can do it! I can do it and then Dad will love me again!' But Iroh knows the only reason this specific task was assigned is because Ozai doesn’t want him back. Ozai only gave Zuko a little hope that he can come back because, you know, he’s an abusive ****. And Iroh can see his cruel intentions.

    I’m just thinking of the pai sho tile and how silly it seemed at the time that it was just in his sleeve. 'Silly old man! So forgetful.'

    No, no. It wasn't at all.

    Because every moment Iroh stalled, every moment he mucked up the plan, every moment he just generally wasn’t helpful, that was another moment where he could still have a chance where he might get through to Zuko. He could have a chance to delay what was suddenly now a very real possibility: that Zuko would actually come back, expecting to be loved, when winning Ozai’s love was more unrealistic than finding someone who’d been dead for 100 years.

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    Interesting Iroh observation?