The Dragon of the West: The Tale of Iroh

The tale of beloved uncle of Fire Lord Zuko, Iroh, the Dragon of the West.

Avatar the Last Airbender has had many fans since the show first aired on TV back in 20blalba. Although it seems like a children's cartoon at the beginning, anime fans soon realize that the show offers much more than an average ''child's cartoon''. There are thousands of reasons to like the Avatar series, but what strikes the most is the character development that carefully took place throughout the show. Nearly every character, even the ones that have the lowest screen time, has evolved and changed as the story of our favorite Airbender continues. Although it's not shown because of the timeline where the story begins, the fan favorite ''Uncle'' Iroh's character development is much deeper than any character in the show. The tale of Iroh has dark patches that one cannot fathom.

The Crown Prince of the Fire Nation

Iroh is the firstborn son of Fire Lord Azulon, which makes him the heir to the Fire Nation's throne. Before the goofy uncle figure for Prince Zuko, Iroh was a fully committed prince that led the Fire Nation armies into the battle against the Earth Kingdom. Known as a fire-bending prodigy, Iroh fiercely fought for his country. The breaking point for General Iroh's tale was the infamous siege of Ba Sing Se. In his youth, Iroh was disturbed by the vision that he will capture the capital of the Earth Kingdom, Ba Sing Se. The siege lasted 600 days as the Fira Nation armies reach the inner city walls, an accomplishment that had never been equaled before. Hence, before breaching the inner city walls, Lu Ten, son of Iroh, has been fall in battle. The death of his only son destroyed Iroh, as he leaves the siege and was marked as a failure that dishonored his nation. Shortly after the siege was abandoned, Fire Lord Azulon passed away and leaves his throne to his younger son Ozai instead of Iroh. Suddenly, the mighty general and the crown prince of the Fire Nation has lost his son, his father, his throne, and his reputation.

The Dragon of the West

As a man who lost everything dear to him, Iroh left his birthplace for spiritual enlightenment. During his travels, he comes across the ancient build of the fire benders, the Sun Warriors. The cult can be traced back to the original fire benders. Iroh met with the original fire-benders, which are the two actual dragons Ran and Shao, proving his worth to them and learning the origins of fire bending that does not need the recourse of hatred or anger, from the original masters. Hence, dragon hunting for glory is a seasoned tradition in the Fire Nation. Therefore Iroh lied about killing the last living dragon, to protect the masters and the Sun Warriors from any harm, and also earned the title '' The Dragon of the West''. Further in his travels, Iroh also had a chance to observe and study other bending forms. As a result, by observing the water benders, Iroh created a way to redirect lighting. Bending lighting is a unique form of fire-bending that can only be performed by a master fire bender, which proved Iroh's worth as a fire bender. The former crown prince of the Fire Nation returned to his homeland after years as a changed man. Still respected in the military for his achievements and fame throughout the world, Iroh continues to serve his nation, only this time, trying to atone for the sins of his family by showing the way of peace to his nephew, the new crown prince of the Fire Nation, Zuko.